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5 Cash-Game Moves That Can Lead to Ruin in Poker Tournaments

31 May 2016, By: compncards
Tournament poker players employ a different skill set than those playing cash games.
kevin macphee 1
kevin macphee 1

That's one reason that the top cash-game players aren't necessarily strong tournament players.

For those of you transitioning from cash games to tournaments, you will find that certain standard cash-game moves don't work well in tournaments.

Here are a few of them.

1. Blinding Off

This is perhaps one of the worst things you can do in a tournament.

In a cash game, you can sit back and wait for an extended period of time because the blinds don't change and in many games, there are zero antes.

That's not the case in tournament poker. In tournament poker, the blinds and antes are always moving up and just sitting back waiting for solid hands is a guaranteed way to be a short stack once the money bubble hits.

2. Chasing Draws

While chasing draws isn't exactly a smart play in cash games, you can always reload if your chasing results in a major loss of chips.

In tournaments you will find that chasing draws can be fatal if you do not have the right odds.

Chips have a lot more value in a tournament than in cash games and once you're out of chips, you cannot reload.

3. Playing Too Many Small Pairs

It is often correct to try and set mine with most small pairs in a cash game unless the action is insane pre-flop. However, this can lead to ruin in tournaments.

Again, you have to consider the value of your chips when making this move. Also, keep in mind that you will only hit a set about 12% of the time.

That's why you should only risk around 10% of your stack when set mining and it is recommended that you don't try to chase a set every time you get dealt a small pair.

4. Limping Late in Tournaments

There are various schools of thought on limping in cash games but most everyone agrees that it is not wise to open-limp late in a poker tournament.

As we continue to stress, chips have more value later in an event and when you open limp you give lesser hands a chance to get into the pot and catch lucky.

This can be disastrous and could lead to your elimination.

5. Raising Too Large

Depending on your cash game, you will find some players that raise as much as 10x the big blind and still get plenty of action from weak players.

When you raise too large in a tournament you're often only going to get called by better hands or by expert players that believe they can outplay you after the flop.

Also, what happens if you raise 10x pre-flop and someone three-bets? Do you have a hand that's strong enough to call a three-bet or to shove?

Raising too large pre-flop in tournaments can lead to tricky situations and should often be avoided.

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