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Tips for Success in Turbo Poker Tournaments

October 28, 2019
by Dave Roemer

In this poker strategy article we share with you some top tips for playing in turbo tournaments on PokerStars.

Turbo tournaments offer a fast and fun version of their slower paced regular tournament cousins that can be quite profitable, and in a fraction of the time it takes to win a tournament played at normal speeds. But how should one adjust to the faster paced structure? In this article I’m going to provide you with some tips for just that.

Patience has its limits.

There is some merit to a patient approach in tournaments, which leads players to sometimes passing on closer situations to wait for the proverbial “better spot”. This approach is very reasonable in slow, deeper stack structures where those better spots have time to manifest. In turbos, the blinds and antes escalate much quicker and the stacks get shallow much sooner, watering down the value and potency of this approach.

Don’t be afraid to gamble early.

An extension of the above, this doesn’t mean to make wild, bad plays and pray, but rather to not shy away from well calculated risks and push small edges simply because you’re deeper stacked in the early stages. As discussed, those early stages pass much more quickly in turbo tournaments, and the blinds will quickly escalate relative to the stacks. Taking additional risk to stay ahead of that curve and grow your stack is essential.

Look for good resteal spots.

We all know that in order to win tournaments, you have to find opportunities to accumulate chips without strong hands. In a fast structure event, the rapidly rising blinds will force players into short stacked all in situations significantly faster than “real hands” come around. This means it’s more important than ever to find and leverage good resteal situations. Facing an open raise that we suspect may be lighter than normal, 3-bet shoving over the top when we hold 8-20bb’s is a very viable play that, when successful, nets you not only the blinds and antes, but the open raise as well. When you’ve open raised yourself and an aggressive opponent has 3-bet you, a 4-bet bluff shove of up to 35 big blinds can be a very viable play that shows massive strength and nets you a nice return and chip up when your light 3-betting opponent folds.

Aggression rules the day.

Because winning chips without a fight is so critical to building stacks in tournaments, and that necessity is more pronounced the faster the tournament structure is, the players who take aggressive postures in pots will have a natural edge built into their strategy. They have two ways to win chips, by players folding and yielding the pot, or by making the best hand when contested. Make this edge work for you. When deciding to contest a pot, always consider the merits of raising instead of calling. When the betting relative to the remaining stacks indicates an all in situation approaches, it’s often beneficial to be the last one taking an aggressive action (betting or raising all in) to leverage fold equity and perhaps win some nice pots without a fight or risk of being busted.

Turbo tournaments can be a lot of fun, and quite profitable for the savvy player. Some players fancy a slower structure, referring to turbos as “bingo” or “gambling” due to the short stacked/all in nature that accompanies this structure in the middle and late stages. While the fast pace does increase the variance of an individual event, forcing players all in more frequently with marginal hands as they get short, make no mistake about it: The skillful and knowledgeable players will have a distinct edge by a better understanding of push/fold ranges and utilizing aggression to their advantage. Make sure you are putting these edges to work for you!


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