Profit From Turbo Poker Tournaments Today,
With The Ultimate Guide And Strategy Primer For Fans Of Turbo Poker Tournaments Online!
Turbo Poker Tournaments have been around for several years. However a few years ago they have started to gain a much bigger following – in fact Pokerstars have recently announced a bunch more guaranteed events to fill demand in the form of their 'Hot Turbos'. This page is your complete guide to Turbo Poker Tournaments – from the smallest buy-ins to the biggest.
First up a definition of the Turbo Poker tournaments… since different sites call them different names. The key distinction is between 'normal' turbos, with 5 to 10 minute blind levels and 'hyper' or 'super' turbos which often have short-stacks and 2 to 5 minute blinds. The type of turbo we are covering here starts with 1500 to 3000 chips and has a little scope for play before the increases in blinds put pressure on the players – hyper turbos are covered elsewhere here at SNG Planet.
This article starts with the pros and cons, comparing turbo poker tournaments with standard ones. Next we look at the key places to play these games, I'll highlight my top 3 sites – covering both US and worldwide players. Next up a strategy overview. This assumes a basic knowledge of tournament strategy (if you are brand new to tournaments you can find this here and looks at the adjustments required to win a turbo event. I finish up this guide with a suggestion of how you can get experience in turbo tournaments fast – and grow your bankroll at the same time!
Turbo Poker Tournaments – Why Play Them? Pros And Cons
Online poker tournaments can take a long time, especially those scheduled in the evenings at the lower levels. Some of the guaranteed prize pool events at the lower buy-ins can attract 1000's of players – this can easily be a 6 hour+ time commitment, and often even longer.
With Turbo tournaments you cut down the time spent playing considerably. Depending on the size of the field and speed of the blind increases the games can be over in anything from 2 hours and up. Even games with 4 figure fields (1000+) will end in 5 hours or so. This appeals to many recreational players who have other commitments such as work or college. Turbo tournaments are fun, they attract people who want to make money at poker at the same time as treating it as a form of entertainment!
Because of this recreational player bias the fields in Turbo speed tournaments are often softer than you would find in the equivalent regular speed games.
On the 'cons' side, the big point is that we have less opportunity to make any skill advantage over opponents show. Since the 'deep stacked' portion of the game is over so fast then post-flop skills are less important in turbo games. Of course, if you are the kind of player who enjoys poker for fun rather than taking the strategy concepts too seriously, this can be thought of as an advantage. If experienced players have less time to take advantage of your lack of experience, you have a better chance of making the money!
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US Players should head to the biggest network still welcoming them – Americas Cardroom on the Winning Network – which has now reached the size where the tournament schedule is looking very good. While the focus is on the lower buy-ins, there is a good selection of Turbo tournaments in the evenings. With so few US 'pro grinders' in action the fields are recreational and so easy to beat too. SNG Planet readers can claim a super-sized 100% to $1000 bonus. Simply register via this link!
Turbo Poker Tournaments – Strategy Adjustments Overview
While the fundamentals of 'good poker strategy' (position, aggression and situational awareness) remain the same, you'll need to get moving with your chip accumulation in turbo games… Waiting for hands is dangerous – you will simply not get enough of them to stay ahead of the blinds. Winning Turbo tournaments is all about taking advantage of the adjustments your opponents are making to the fast structure.
The early stages are most similar to standard speed tournaments, here you have a few levels to isolate the fish, play speculative hands (like suited connectors and small pairs) and to value bet your opponents on 3 streets when you do hit a hand. The key difference is that this part of the game is much shorter.
Once the blinds start to increase to 150 or 200 chips everyone will begin to feel the potential for pressure that the fast pace ensures. Here your ability to call bets diminishes rapidly. Being first in to the pot (preferably from later position) is key. Many of your opponents will know that they have to raise 'lighter' than normal to keep ahead of the blinds. Since they will often be raising with hands which are not too strong, you can adjust by re-raising (all-in if necessary) with a wider range yourself. When they fold you win a bigger pot than simply stealing the blinds, if you get called then hopefully you chose a hand with some showdown value.
Shorter stacked play means you will need a good grasp of all-in play for the mid and later stages. This should involve estimating the ranges of hands opponents will call you with, and being able to spot those situations where the actual strength of your hand is of secondary importance. For example, if you are short stacked and the blinds large, and you estimate your opponent is only calling with 15% of hands blind vs blind – you should often be shoving all-in with any-2 cards. Many of your opponents will be shoving light, especially later in the game. While you can call light in some spots, remember that it is always better to be the aggressor in these situations. You prefer to win without a showdown where possible!
It only takes an orbit or two of the blinds for a healthy stack to start looking decidedly average in turbo tournaments. Making sure that you use a big stack as a weapon to steal more pots and keeping your 'foot on the gas' though the whole game are essential. Once you reach the bubble (and final table bubble) you will find many players avoiding confrontations, so make sure you take full advantage at these points especially.
Finally, at the final table with short stacks your all-in or fold game is very important. The prize pool distribution (usually heavily weighted to the top 3) makes a big difference to how you shove all-in and (even more importantly) what hands you can call with. An understanding of the Independent Chip Model is important here – this shows you how chips chance value depending on how the payouts are organized and will give you a significant profitable edge.
Turbo Poker Tournaments – Summary And Next Steps
With more and more players attracted to the turbo games, those who take the time to understand the strategy adjustments required will find themselves in a great position to take advantage. Of course, playing well is only half of the battle with poker. Smart players take the time to seek out the softest (most profitable) games.