Identify the weak players when you sit down
An important part of tournament poker that most will not look at is when you first sit down at a table to study every player.
If you can look at every player and categorize them into strong or weak players you will have success in determining hand ranges and overall reads on players down the road.
Defining weak players
What you should look for when looking for a weak player is someone who appears distraught or has possibly been down on their luck.
If you find a player like this it will only be a matter of time before they get their chips in the middle and gamble.
These players will tend to talk about how bad they are running or how much money they lost gambling. The players who tend to look this way and act this way will almost always bust out of a tournament right away, mainly because they lack the mental stability to grind a long tournament.
If you find someone like this, to exploit them, you can continue to pick spots where it looks like the board is wet or you could have made your hand. A board that is flushing or straightening is ideal. Most of the time the distraught player will think you have the monster hand, and will throw their hand in the muck with disgust.
A great deal of the time the tilted players mind will not be thinking as it should be and easy decisions become very difficult, and very difficult decisions turn into massive blunders.
One main reason to identify the weaker players is to give you a better chance to progress through a tournament.
Isolate weak players
If you can play pots with players that you feel you are better than, the whole tournament will be easier. You will accumulate chips faster and put yourself in a better spot to make a deep run in the tournament.
If you pick on these players more and more often they will make more and more mistakes. This is exactly what you want. If you are consistently putting weaker opponents to make decisions for all their chips instead of them doing it to you, you are in great shape in tournament poker.
Another thing to keep in mind when identifying weak players is to play against them in position.
If you can play pots in position against weaker and easier to read players you will almost never be surprised or put to a big decision unexpectedly. Even if you are playing pots in position against players who have the same skill set as you, you are at the advantage.
Position is a huge part of tournament poker and if you pick on weak players eventually they will get tired of it.
Once the weak player gets tired of you picking on their blinds over and over, they will be more prone to overplay hands, try and make big moves or basically turn their hand face up playing a pot.
You can run the weak player over most of the time and then eventually get all of the chips in front of them into your stack.
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