With 13 outright live tournament victories since April 2010 Team partypoker pro Marvin Rettenmaier knows a thing or two about winning a poker tournament. Just in time for our legendary Pokerfest Poker Series starting March 2nd he’s here to give you his top tips for each stage of a tournament no matter whether you’re playing live or online poker. Let’s start from the beginning.

1# Don’t Lose It

Although they say “you can’t win a tournament on Day 1 only lose it”, I personally only partly agree with that statement. It is important to pick up chips early and don’t make any common mistakes especially online in order to protect yourself from bad beats and coolers which can happen even if you are the best player in the world. Remember, as long as you have more chips than everybody else you can’t bust!

2# Work Out Your Table

It doesn’t matter if I’m playing live or online my playing style in the early stages always depends on the table. If it’s a soft table I will play more than half of my hands and try to make big hands since I know I’ll have a very good chance of winning a big pot if I do, plus I will find decent bluff spots. If it’s a tough table I will play tighter. That doesn’t have too much to do with it being pre-antes but because you are usually still very deep stacked during the pre-ante levels.

3# Luck Of The Draw?

The table draws are a big factor in determining ones chances of going deep or winning a tournament. There are definitely situations when I will play very passively for some levels if I have a tough table in a soft tournament, this is just as true online. This is because I know the average table draw will give me a way better chance to accumulate chips and I don’t have to risk my chips in marginal situations.

4# Pay Close Attention

Even in the early stages of a tournament you have to pay attention to the other players.  There is so much information to gain in every interaction or hand somebody plays. Regarding physical tells there is what we call the baseline, which is the regular behavior somebody has at the table. If somebody is overly talkative even when he plays a hand and then just stops talking after looking at his hand alarm bells should start ringing. The same can be said online of course.

5# Play The Game

There have been times when I made marginal calls in the beginning of a tournament both live and online just to see somebody’s hand in order to figure out their tendencies early on so I have more information for bigger pots that might develop later on in the tournament.

6# No Distractions

There’s been a lot of discussion in poker recently about young players in hoodies and headphones not interacting with their table. I think they’re making a mistake as talking to your opponents really only has advantages. You can find out if their bluffing or more! If you find out that he is a local and qualified through a satellite, he will probably tighten up a lot on the bubble and you can abuse that. If you find out that he usually plays cash and you can figure that he is probably not as experienced with a short stack and you can put that into your calculations.

There is another point to be made that it’s always good to be the nice guy at the table since people will be less likely to mess with you – that is obviously not the main reason why I’m being friendly at the table but it’s just something that comes along with it. Now when it come’s to online play the clear lesson here is minimize your distractions and focus on your  game at hand! Good Luck!

Take These Learnings For Pokerfest!

Now take all of above and go crush it at Pokerfest! Yes that’s right it’s back, bigger and better than ever before!  Running from the 2nd-16th March, 2014 Pokerfest is a 15-day online poker series packed with 67 events!  And with more than $1 million in guaranteed prize pools this could be your one time!

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