Stud: More on tournaments

stud-thumbnail-v1.jpgby Adam "STUDstood" Roberts

I hope all of you had an enjoyable SCOOP tournament, and congratulations to those of you who made a profit in the events.

With the recent advent of so many tournament events both live and online, it seems that every day or week there is a different casino in another city and country (in the live scenario) where you can find major tournament events to buy into, or try and win your way into via satellites. There are players who "chase" these events, with hope of turning enough of a profit every year to earn a living.

Most of these events are Hold'em, especially No Limit. But, as we discussed in a previous blog, there still are events offered in other types of games, at many different buy-ins.
To play so many different tournaments throughout the year, especially in live casinos, it would be very hard to have any type of conventional job as your main income source. This is because you would have to travel constantly.

However playing in online tournaments, regardless where you live, gives you more of an opportunity to work a regular job and play poker tournaments or cash games) as an additional income source. This is one of the reasons the "Weekend Majors", PokerStars' $215 weekend tournaments in various games, are so popular.

If you do want to play in only a select few live casino tournaments throughout the year, as well as keeping your regular job near where you live, you should plan ahead as best as possible for these trips. Schedules are posted online and are advertised well in advance in poker magazines. You can plan your vacations accordingly, and you can plan for the necessary costs that you will incur, which are not only for tournament buy-ins and satellites. You will have to book airfare, hotel rooms, rental cars, etc. It may cost you more to eat out while travelling than it does to eat at home. These items should be figured into your tournament bankroll.

One of the more difficult aspects of travelling for tournaments is that many of the basic expenses you face are twice as big as for someone who stays home. For example, you are not only paying rent or a mortgage for your home, you are also paying for hotels at the same time. For those of you looking to play poker for a living, you may want to consider not having a regular residence or owning a car (both which would save you money), since you will have the opportunity to travel consistently throughout the year, staying in hotels and renting cars if necessary.

Again, not only will you have to have a sufficient bankroll to make the appropriate buy-ins for actual events and corresponding satellites (if you choose to go that route), but you will also need to figure what the other costs will be. I've mentioned a few of those potential additional expenses, but you will have to keep track of what other expenses you will have.

As tournaments around the world (both live and online) have gotten more popular, we see poker players who are now trying to be strictly tournament pros, and virtually never play in cash games.

They prefer to use their poker abilities solely to compete in the tournament events which have the most value for them, i.e., using buy-in, amount of entrants, and game type (and possibly other factors) to enable them to decide which ones to play.

If you are going to attempt to "follow the tournament trail", I would strongly recommend deciding not only which events throughout the year you are going to compete in, but to also decide whether or not you are going to also play in cash games at these locations. This may or may not be feasible, because, as we have already discussed, tournament play is very grueling, and you really have to be prepared for it mentally, physically, emotionally and financially.

If you are playing in a lot of tournaments, it may be too much for you to also compete in cash games, even if playing in those cash games will not occur on the same days as the tournament you want to play in. This should be a personal decision that's made with care, remembering you will have to take your bankroll into consideration, as well as your rest and recuperation time needed between events that you will be playing.

Online, your approach may be a bit different, since you have the option to concurrently play in both cash games and tournaments, if you feel comfortable enough.

People have asked me if it is possible to make a living playing in tournaments year after year. I cannot definitively answer that question. My personal preference is to grind out a yearly income in cash games and hope to get lucky enough to turn an additional profit in the tournament events I play live and online.

I am only competing in Stud, Stud Hi/Lo, Razz and HORSE events. Those games are not offered as often in tournaments as Hold'em is, nor do they usually have as much prize money. So, unless you are playing in enough Hold'em (specifically No Limit ) events with enough prize money, it may be hard for you to make enough money in all the other games combined to make a living solely playing tournaments, especially once you figure in the other costs involved.

One nice thing about playing online (at least at PokerStars) is that it may also allow you to accumulate enough FPPs to enter various tournaments throughout the year. This may even be looked at as a "freeroll" to these events, since you are not going "out of pocket" to enter them using your already earned FPPs.

Managing your bankroll is critical to poker success, but managing your other associated expenses is very important too.

In the next few weeks, I will continue covering various tournament issues, among them, getting staked or sponsored, tax liability, and when and how to make deals at the final table.

In the meantime, you can find me in the $10/$20 and $30/$60 limit games in our Stud section, as well as in our weekend $215 buy-in tournaments for Stud games. Please check the starting times of each of those events under Tourney > Special in the PokerStars lobby.

Feel free to contact me with any questions, suggestions or thoughts at

See you at the tables!

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in Strategy