Winning a large tournament can be quite a high, your bank roll gets a tremendous boost and you feel like the best player in the world. Very likely there are quite a few people who are happy with you, spouses, parents, etc. All of sudden you may have the equivalent of 1 months pay, 3 months pay, maybe even a years pay, all in one fell swoop just from playing poker, what a rush.

Ok, first off, you are not much different than before you won that tourney. You are not suddenly a better player. You don’t smell any better. You don’t have a license to steal, and you are going to wake up one day older in the morning. It’s just money. It doesn’t make you a better person or anything.

So when you win as many, many of you have been doing lately (very impressed with number of FTR wins in big tourneys), the first thing to do is cash out of course. Never leave more than a grand or two on any site. You never know which one will go broke and take all the money. Limit your risk of their bankruptcy. Personal opinion there, but these sites are all over the world and we would have no recourse at all if they simply took our money.

Second, do not immediately start playing bigger (and looser) just because you have this new big fat bankroll. Preferably take some time to reflect and enjoy your win, but if you have to play, play what you always play. Don’t try to climb the ladder 3 rungs at a time. It is very dangerous and you likely will fall and break a leg.

Winning big is just as intoxicating as losing big. It totally screws up your thinking. To win a large mtt, you will have gotten lucky, the coin flips go your way, your big pairs hold up, and you have likely been stealing like a career criminal for at least the last hour of the tourney. Is that the proper mindset to be in when you go out to risk more money? I don’t think so.

One more thing, if you have never actually spent your poker winnings on something, ie you have never made a cashout and actually spent the cash, take 10% of the win and go spend it on something you would have not otherwise been able to have. This simple act will make poker real for you, positively reinforcing good, solid play that gives you money. If you never get to cash out and use the money, what is the point after all?


Tournament players know this feeling. Somewhat like going to sit down and some sneaky little dude pulls the chair out from under you. There was a chair there just a second ago, then nothing, your butts on floor and your tail bone hurts.

In poker it plays out like this you are cruising along with nice little stack, you bet the flop, get one caller, bet the turn and this wacko has the nerve to checkraise you all in. And now you sitting there with top pair and decent kicker, and about one third of your chips in the pot. What in the heck are you going to do?

Ok, before I answer that, I want you to remember back through all the tournaments gone by and tell me how you built those big stacks early in the ones you were lucky enough to build a commanding stack, say in the first hour or so. Thats’ right, you made flushes, straights, full houses, you bet big and what do you know, you punked ’em. You sent them straight to the rail with your big rigs.

Now the tables are turned and you about to have to make that tough call, the one where your gut tells your beat, but you are so tempted, because after all you have a good hand, maybe the best you have had, and the pot is really big. Blah, blah, blah. Early on in the tourney when someone gets really cute (like you do with big hands) really big raises, check, re, or rere, are big hands most of the time. Sure there are a few animals out there capable of this play as a steal, but not many, and even if people are capable of it, most of the time when they do it, it is a big hand anyway.

Now it is very easily to massage your ego and say you have to make the tough calls to win and your decisions are not always right, tell yourself as many fairy tales as you want, the truth is big calls for all your chips when you still have a competitive stack are usually very stupid. And stupid is as stupid does.


Something I have never written about is desire. Why are you playing poker, how is serving you ? What essential purpose is your poker play fulfilling? Entertainment? Excitement? Money? Perhaps, just reinforcing a negative self image?

As I have said before and I will say again, the most fun you will ever have playing poker is cashing out. I dont care how many AA’s you bust with 4-7o. I dont care if you are recognized as great player. I dont care if you can win an argument about the proper +EV of PFR UTG+2 with AQo. None of that will necessarily make you more money.

In order to play your best, the money has to do something for you. Just like any job. How will those 2 BB’s per hour help your life? How will the extra income fulfill a need? If you can’t answer this question quickly and with enthusiasm, you need to find an answer quickly. The only reason to play good poker is money in your pocket.

Playing bad poker is much more fun at times. Just like all adrenaline junkies. It is a whale of a lot of fun to win with crappy cards. To over play hands, bluff with nothing, but does that win money long term? I believe the term for that type of player is F I S H.

So why are fish, fish? What drives and motivates them?

Some play for entertainment. They play well within there entertainment budget and really dont mind losing. The best kind of fish, they know they are loser and dont mind it. They are also very pleasant to play with, just be nice to them, they are happy to donate.

Others play for excitement of the big win, like all gambling, they just know the big win is around the corner, if only they could get that one lucky break. These are the people that belong in gamblers anonymous. Unfortunately, these people who are actively destroying their lives are the biggest driver in the poker economy. Without them, there would be no winning online poker possible.

And lastly, there are those who play poker just to prove how worthless they are. It is just one more thing they suck at and they need to constantly reinforce their negative self image. They bitch about bad beats and how unfair it, secretly celebrating their failures, because life sucks. These poor saps will actually find a way to never win. They win and they will order a round on them just so they can go home down.

If you dont have a firm understanding of why you need to play winning poker and how that will impact your life, I suggest you evaluate why you play right now.


In Summary

Point 1: Tight is right in the first hour of a MTT.
Point 2: Shut your pie hole unless you are eating pie.
Point 3: Play where you belong.
Point 4: Stop telling bad beat stories.
Point 5: Specialize
Point 6 Be a Big Picture Person.
Point 7: Have Some Guts With the Nuts.
Point 8: Two Special Situations to Tighten Up.
Point 9: Thou Shalt Not Steal From the Wounded.
Point 10: Give Yourself 2 Ways to Win Every Hand You Play.
Point 11: Count to 10 Then Begin.
Point 12: Consider the Blinds.
Point 13: Consider the Implications of an All-in Bet.
Point 14: Analysis of the Weak Lead.
Point 15: Thoughts on the Rebuy/Addon Tournaments
Point 16: Analysis of the Strong Lead
Point 17: Let the Biggest Hands Bring Home the Bacon.
Point 18: Ace on the Turn and Chips to Burn.
Point 19: You Got to Know When to Fold ’em.
Point 20 :Use the Chat Box to Your Advantage.
Point 21: Remember to Remember What They Remember.
Point 22: Trip Talk, Trip Talk
Point 23: You’re Not Invincible, Stupid.
Point 24: Celebrate Your Bad Beats
Point 25: Bankroll Management 101
Point 26: Consider Draws Carefully.
Point 27: A Common Mistake – Overbetting a Good Hand
Point 28: Like Offering Candy to a Baby.
Point 29: “In Order to Live, You Must be Willing to Die.” -rilla
Point 30: Artificial Intelligence Can Be Deadly
Point 31: What’s in your toolbox?
Point 32: Busted Flops
Point 33: The Biggest Lie in Poker
Point 34: Bizzaro Poker: Betting into Strength, Checking to Weakness
Point 35: One for the Mathoholics and Rippy
Point 36: A Really Big Secret, ssshhhhhhhhhh
Point 37: The Secret of Macbeth
Point 38: Do You Have Worms?
Point 39: Implied Odds
Point 40: What Do They Have, That You Don’t?
Point 41: How and Why to Bluff and Thoughts on Rippy
Point 42: Heads Up
Point 43: Short Handed Final Table Play
Point 44: How to Properly Go on Tilt?
Point 45: What to do When You Win?
Point 46: The Difference Between a Tough Call and Bad Call
Point 47: Why Are You Playing?

Next chapter:

Find all the chapters by soupie here.


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