The poker industry Poker

Winners are grinners

Written by Ben Blaschke

There is no more exhilarating feeling than approaching the bubble of a poker tournament with chips in hand and dreams of a hefty pay day, but this is also the point where so many players get it wrong.

For the poker novice, it is all too easy tighten up as the money bubble approaches. Given that most tournaments pay roughly the top 10 percent of players, just finishing in the money is an achievement when you are first dipping your toes in the poker tournament waters.

But here’s the thing – even the best tournament players will only make the money in about 10 to 15 percent of the tournaments they play. With the minimum cash usually around double the buy-in or less, even a 15 percent success rate is a losing proposition. Not convinced? Let’s look at the maths.

Imagine you sit down over the course of a week and play exactly 100 tournaments with a buy-in of $100 each. If the min-cash (ie. the amount you win if you make the money but bust straight away afterwards) is $200 and you cash in 15 percent of tournaments, this means you are outlaying $10,000 but winning back just $3,000 – a loss of $7,000!

Which brings us to the moral of the story – when playing in any poker tournament you should be playing to WIN! Tournaments are always structured “top heavy” with the top three places earning a far greater percentage of the prize pool than those below. In fact, the winner can generally expect to take somewhere between 25 to 30 percent of the total prize pool so if those 100 tournaments each had 100 players, you would need to win just once to equal the amount you would win by making the money 15 times!

So next time you are approaching the bubble, don’t go into your shell. Take your opportunities. And don’t be scared to bust. It won’t always work out the way you want, but when it does it will be well worth the effort.