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In Tournaments, if you want to win – play to win, not just make ‘the money’ By Mike Sexton

It is important to realize that the percentage of times a good player ‘makes themoney’ is also determined by how they play. If you are just trying to get ‘into the money’ and not win, it’s much easier to get paid. If you’re playing to come first you have a higher probability of getting knocked out early but you’re going to give yourself a much better chance of winning in the long run.

To win, you can’t be afraid to play pots early in the tournament. You have to accumulate chips so that if you make it to the final table you’re going to get there as one of the chip leaders. Most people have the mindset that they must make it to the money first.

Incidentally I had that mindset too for a lot of years because, when you’re putting up money to play, your first goal is to get that money back and then be on a free roll for the big bucks. That’s the way you think if you’re a player out there surviving on the tournament circuit. You know you’ve got to make it to the money X number of times in a year to survive; otherwise you’re not going to make it. Your bankroll’s not going to hold up.

So it depends what your goal is and what you’re trying to do. Honestly, most players do try to get to the money first and the final table second. Then they think about winning. The top guys like Gus Hanson, Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu are trying to win from the get-go. They’re not worried about getting knocked out and if they get to the final table they’re going to get there with a lot of chips. That gives them a much better shot at winning.  I used to think that the first priority in  tournaments was survival. I no longer believe that to be true if you’re trying to win.

Posted in Dan Harrington 2 months ago at 2:14 am.

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