Tournament poker varies from regular ring games in many ways and there are a lot of adjustments to be made, starting with the most basic concepts. Managing your stack in a poker tournament is much different than doing so in ring games.
First, the effectiveness, or win/lose ratio, of a ring player is being valued on a very long run. Your bankroll and betting patterns should support and reflect a span of more than a 1000 games. On the other hand a tournament is a win-or-go-home situation. A player either wins or loses in the tournament and there is no value to your in-game bankroll unless you finish in the top places.
Second, each of the chips you have in a regular ring game has the same value. Tournament chips are always measured against your current position and the opposing player's stacks. The chips you are receiving when you are buying-in have a lesser value than the chips you accumulate in the next steps. You should play much tighter in early stages of the tournament as you have much more to lose by dropping out of the tournament on an early stage.
In the later stages of the poker tournament you should play much more aggressively. As the blind rise constantly, a tight player is risking being driven out of the game, solely due to blinds posting. The money you hold in later stages represents much more value than in the early stages.
Generally there is very little to be said regarding the big question - "Should I or should I not enter a specific tournament event?" There is no logical or precise way to estimate whether or not you are liable to win or whether or not you can afford yourself to gamble the buy-in fee. This decision is solely on your shoulders and depends only on your estimation of your chances to finish "in the money". If you think you feel comfortable with investing this money for a shot at the prize and you feel confident with your poker skills, then feel free to grab one of our recommanded internet poker tournaments' softwares and enter.
Article submitted by Alex Chamberlain, 12/12/2005