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The three essays in this section are of less relevant for your poker game, but additional reading of these essays would be an interesting one. With the gaining popularity of tournaments, more number of poker player now prefer and specialize in these games rather than in live games. Players like to argue the advantages of one versus the other.

I have something to share with the readers on the above thoughts. If you are a dedicated tournament player then do not take this piece of comment as a personal offend. I respect the skill of the advanced tournament player and I'm not criticizing the tournament in and of them but I have some little concerns regarding this.

The other two essays are presented on risk-reward ratios outside the poker and the effects of poker text and articles on the games. Though some would dispute that the former deals with the more significant topic, I'm confident that latter will draw the more rebellious response. I will keep aside the other two topics; for as you will see that it is a discussion on risk and reward poker written in a different way from many intellectual players.

Why I Don't Play Tournaments

Nowadays, about poker tournaments have gained lot of popularity in this field. Entries in big tournaments are running successfully into the hundreds. There are players who specialize in and make their living by playing in these tournaments (though less than it would seem). You can win tens and rarely hundreds of thousands of dollars if you win a tournament event. But whenever I played poker I've barely ever played in them, wishing instead to stick to live games. The following is the reason:

Punching the Time Clock

It is fairly the same reason that I prefer to devote most of the time to poker rather than to a traditional job. When I started taking interest in poker, I was liberal to set my own hours, to come and go as I wished. With poker, I have a sense of freedom, a skill to create my own standard of living, which I think is not easy to achieve in any other kind of fields.

Many things would be taken away if I were to focus seriously on tournaments. To play a tournament you have to be in a casino or a card games room at a certain time. You have to stay until you lose or win the pot. If you are serious about it you will have to go the larger tournaments. These things are not at all impressive to someone who, when he first saw the John Fox's book, Play Poker, Quit Work, and Sleep Till Noon, said, "Is it for me!"

To be away from the constraints of work structures yet to feel the enjoyment of work performed expertly these are the things preferred by many serious poker players.

To play the tournament event is to take one step back toward the structured, planned ways of the working world.

Are Tournaments Poker?

There are major differences between tournament and live game play. While it is just an overstatement to say that tournaments are not poker, I do see the point made by those who support that view. Tournaments are of great significance on a small set of skills which have little to do with success in live games. For example, they increase the level of aggression which would further take it to disaster in live games. In tournaments such play takes advantage of rivals who are playing very tightly at the wrong situations.

They also require adjustments of strategy as a function of stack size, the stage of the tournament and the number of players remaining. Proficiency in these areas is evidently so essential in tournaments that at times it appears to almost surpass knowledge of the game itself. I think this, along with the greater short term luck factor of tournament helps explain the not so rare occurrence of the experienced tournament player who, has hardly if ever played a certain form of play poker, entering and winning the poker tournament in that game.

In my opinion, the skill of basic strategy on one's own stack size in connection to that of others, while somewhat interesting, is a diversion from more interesting aspects of poker. However, the importance based on the aggressive play, avoiding conflicts, and other distinct tournament strategies looks like a strange occurrence in which I have little interest. My concern lies in routine poker well played, not in the exploitation of these strange little tournament specific factors.

The difference in skills needed for tournaments and live games also serves one reason why few top tournament players are referred to be excellent players in live games. (One more reason is only the better hourly rate available in higher limit live games.) Majority of the most tournament champions are in fact, well known as "lives ones" in ring games. They try to do in the live games what succeeds for them in tournaments, only to have it go wrong on them in live play.

There are of course some selected players who do well in both tournaments and live games. This is because they have made the effort to develop the skills each requires. They are not good at one just because they are good at the other. That said, I would mention that it should be easier for a good live game player to become a good tournament player than the other way around. I think a tournament player, whose poker skills are fair enough, but whose understanding and abilities in specific tournament events is excellent, can do fairly well in tournaments. Precisely though, such a player would strive in live games. Success in live games requires the full development of a broad collection of poker skills. These can be quite hard to master. However, the skills features to tournaments are not so complex and difficult to acquire. Hence, it should be easier for a skilled live game player to become expert in the limited set of additional skills required for tournament play, than for a tournament specialist to gain knowledge in the large set of skills required for success in live games.

Tournaments are different from the live games also in their short term chance element. It is obvious to say that there is usually a lot of luck is involved in winning a given tournament. Sometimes a player has a fortunate streak of tournaments and wins several in a short period of time. As the same time, even an exceptionally good tournament player can play a great many situations without ever placing in the money. (For more discussion refer to the essay, "Is Your Wallet Fat Enough for Tournaments?" in Skylansky's Poker, Gaming & Life.) Playing the "circuit" as a expert tournament player, going for months at a time with no income, perhaps looking for backers, living in hotels, hoping for that next high score to tide me over is, to me, rarely an appealing notion. In live game play something similar to steady income is likely for a very good and bad poker player. Nothing of the kind can be had on the tournament event, even for the very best players.

Continue Here: Are they Bad For Poker?