MCU poker tip: Tournament strangeness

Most poker tournaments use a proportional payout. This means that the prize pool is distributed in predetermined percentages. First place may get 40 percent, second place 25 percent, third place 15 percent, and so on.

You need to know that there’s a powerful concept governing how you should play. The winner must gather all the chips and then give most of them back in prize money to other close finishers already conquered. Because of this, the quest for survival changes your strategy. Mathematically, it becomes more profitable to make safe decisions in order to survive than to maximize your chance of winning first place by taking advantage of every small edge.

So, you should be more conservative about the hands you play, especially late in a tournament. And you should be more reluctant to make daring raises for value. You need to play tight in these tournaments, if profit is your motive.

Conversely, if profit is not your motive and you just want to go after first place and the trophy, you can ignore this advice. You’ll be more likely to win that trophy, but less likely to earn extra profit.

Published by

Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

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