Online Poker Strategy

by Mario Alfonsi  |  Published on May 23, 2017  |  Updated on May 23, 2017

Once you’ve decided to take your poker game to the next level, it’s time to start developing your own online poker strategy. That strategy will depend largely on what type of online poker you’re playing.

Online Poker Multi-Table Tournament Strategy

Tournament Strategy for the Early Stages of the Online Poker Tournament

During the first part of a multi-table tournament, tight is right as they say. The main reason for this rule of thumb is that online poker tournaments can be crazy in the first few minutes. The pots are small here, and winning them usually involves a lot more risk than return.

Dependant on the level of play at your table, you may even be folding things like AA preflop here. It sounds crazy right? AA preflop, fold? We’re serious. If you find yourself with AA preflop in a freeroll or low money buyin tournament during the first few hands, when there are still 4/5 people all in each hand, the odds that your AA will survive a 5 way all in are pretty slim.

If you’re playing a more serious game such as the $250 buy in PokerStars million event that happens every Sunday, or even your average $10 no rebuy event, then you’re still going to play tight, a tight aggressive game with an easy fold demeanor. What that means is, you’re going to fold most of your hands. You’re going to play the monsters, AA, KK, QQ, and AK suited, and, that’s about it, unless you’re in position and the price is right.

When you do have one of these hands, you play very aggressively, unless you get the feeling you’re beat, and there’s a player in the hand that suddenly seems to believe the pot is his, then, you drop it like it’s hot. Any chips burned up in a hand like this where control was taken by the evil virtual dealer can be recovered so long as we preserve the chips we have and continue to make good choices.

Tournament Strategy for the Middle Stages of an Online Poker Tournament

During the middle portion of the tournament, you can loosen up a little bit, if it seems that you’ll need to have chips to make your way to the final portion of the event. At PokerStars, playing a 180 man Sit n Go tournament (which is a multi-table tournament that happens whenever the table is full) there’s really no reason to loosen up, as long as you play 4-5 hands successfully in that event, you can take it down.

Final Stage Online Poker Tournament Strategy

During the final stages of the tournament there are a few ways to play, you can always always always wait out any chaos and let other players take each other out. However, if everyone else is tightening up especially as the money bubble gets closer, then you want to take advantage of this time and steal some pots, try some raising, and some reraising. Just remember, don’t shove unless you have the nuts.

Poker Strategy for Online Cash Game Players

Some say that cash games are where the money moves. That’s because you can win or lose hundreds, thousands, or for some hundreds of thousands, in single hands of poker. Fortunes can be made and lost in a single evening at a cash poker game. That’s some reason to bring your A-game, and develop a solid cash poker game strategy.

For starters, get into the habit of buying in at max or playing on the shortstack. Whichever you feel more comfortable with. What makes the difference? If you’re a solid player, that waits for a hand, or an opportunity and has the ability to grind out a few hundred bucks at a $1/$3 N.L. table every night, then you’re going to want to sit down with the maximum amount of cash allowed by the poker table.

Shortstacking Poker Strategy

If you’re more of an agro player, that plays strong hands, hard, then short-stacking might be your thing. Shortstacking means you buy in near the minimum amount, and then the first time you get a decent hand, you shove your stack in, preferably reraising someone that just raised and was called by 3/4 people. The hope here is that they’ll all fold, if not, then hopefully your hand holds up to the one that calls.

Poker Strategy for Sit n Go Tournament Players

Poker strategy in a sit and go tournament is very similar to that in tournament poker, with tight play early on, and loosening up later on, the thing is though, there are 10 people at the table to start in most cases, and 3 of those people get paid, the key to being a successful sit and go player is to always be one of those cashing players. In some formats, like turbo tournaments, the blinds will eat you up if you’re not working hard to improve your stack, so you’ve got to be more aggressive. In other formats, a strong tight aggressive strategy works out just fine.