How to Prepare For Your First Poker Tournament

How to Prepare For Your First Poker Tournament

Taking the plunge into poker tournaments can feel like a big step, but if you’ve been playing online or with friends for a while then it’s just natural progression. If you’re a little worried about how to prepare ahead of time and what to do on the big day then you don’t need to be. This guide will help you through every step of the process to make sure that you’re feeling cool, calm, and collected when you sit down at that table.

Find The Right Tournament

The first step in this journey is finding the right tournament for you. Looking through the calendar of online poker tournaments can feel a little daunting, but it is surprisingly simple to narrow down your options. Looking for tournaments with a low buy-in can help you to feel more relaxed, knowing that there’s very little money at stake, or if you’d prefer, you could narrow things down by looking for tournaments with fewer players, to help weed out some of the competition.

If you’re dead set on entering a live, in-person tournament and think that you can handle the extra pressure then there’s a calendar of in-person events too. These events are less frequent and tend to have higher buy-ins, but can be a great way to meet other players, watch the professionals up close and practice your bluffing skills.

Make a Practice Calendar

Caption: Work backward from the tournament date when creating your practice calendar

With your tournament chosen and booked in, it’s time to quit your other gaming hobbies and get to work making a practice calendar. Your tournament is going to be the finish line of this calendar, so work backward from there. Try to fit in as much practice time as possible, with small regular sessions being the preference over long sessions initially. As you get closer to the date, try to slot in a couple of long sessions to try and emulate the concentration that you’ll need to be able to keep over the course of a tournament.

Every time you make it to the end of a week’s practice, treat yourself to something small to keep your morale up. It could be a night at the movies, or a meal at your favorite restaurant. Not only should you treat yourself, but you should also be tracking your progress weekly, making notes of times your play let you down and times that you played really well.

On The Day

By the time you get to the big day, if you’ve been following your practice calendar then you should be feeling pretty confident. In order to make sure that things run smoothly though, there are a couple of extra tips that you should follow. If you’re going to an in-person tournament then wear layers. The venue where your game is being held could be too hot or too cold and there’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable when you’re trying to concentrate.

The final tip is to set yourself a tangible and realistic goal. You might say to yourself that you want to make it to the first or second break, instead of setting out to win the whole tournament. If you make it to your goal then you can adjust the goal posts a little for the next part of the tournament and if you don’t, then you’ve got that same goal to strive towards at the next one.



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