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Speed Limit Texas Holdem Tournaments

2nd August, 2006
I recently made the mistake of entering an online tournament just before the end of registration without paying attention to the structure. When I play tournaments, I play no limit Texas holdem with normal blind structures or Omaha high low pot limit. Needless to say, I was quite surprised when the cards started flying on the first hand and I saw that it was a limit tournament. This feeling of unhappiness was only made worse when I saw how fast the blinds were going up. I learned a few valuable lessons, which I would like to share.

The most important lesson is to not be in a hurry when entering a tournament online. If you miss this one, another will be starting in minutes. I got myself into a situation that I wasn't prepared for and it ended up costing me money.

I do not like speed tournaments where the blinds escalate at a fast pace. This structure requires you to take a lot of chances from the beginning in order to keep ahead of the blinds. It leaves very little room for error or bad luck. It also makes it more difficult for the better players to survive.

Even though the structure and limit was not one I am used to playing, I played the same game as I usually try to, which is very tight early in the tournament. I did get lucky twice, winning hands that I was not favored to win before the flop, and was able to squeak by the blinds a few times before finally being eliminated. The important thing to point out though, is that I was favored on the hand I finished on, and if I had won it I would have been one of the top three chip stacks and probably easily into the money. The mistake I made was not adjusting my play to slightly looser and more aggressive earlier in the tournament.

As for the outcome of the tournament, there were 60 entrants with the top six finishing in the money. I was able to finish eighth, which I was pretty happy with, even if the experience did cost me $30. Oh well, hopefully you can learn from a few of my mistakes. Until next week, pay attention before joining a game and best of luck at the tables.

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