Last week PokerStars School got you prepared to play in a live tournament with tips on satellite strategy and advice from Team Pros Chris Moneymaker and Fatima Moreira de Melo. This week they hand the reins to Maria Konnikova, who went from knowing next to nothing about poker to winning live tournaments in less than a year. If you’re even considering making the jump from online play to live tournaments, you’ll want to read on for some excellent advice to make your own transition a smooth one.

This week:

• Live tourney tips from Maria Konnikova
• Learning when to trust your instincts


Maria Konnikova’s Live Tournament Tips

Major live poker tournaments are endurance contests as much as they are tests of poker skill. All of the things you normally have to worry about in an online poker tournament are present along in with a host of other factors, not the least of which is the fact that to have a chance at winning requires handling everything better than hundreds of opponents for days on end.

Maria Konnikova plays in the 2019 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event.

There’s a lot to keep track of, and nobody knows that better than Maria Konnikova.

The author and journalist says she was “incredibly nervous” the first time she played live, but less than three years down the line she’s a successful poker pro with Team PokerStars. So how did she get there? Mostly diligent study and practice, but taking good advice from the best minds in poker and applying it rigorously at the tables has also been a big part of her success.

If you’re looking to take the step into playing major live events, Konnikova’s advice is a gold mine. Unsurprisingly, it’s thorough and detailed — she covers a wide range of topics from preparing your body for long tournament days and monitoring your emotional state to taking effective notes, playing against pros, and looking for tells while you keep tabs on your perceived table image. But perhaps most importantly, it comes from someone who was in your shoes just a short time ago and knows exactly how and why she has been successful.

Read Maria Konnikova’s tips for playing live poker tournaments and you’ll be ready for a deep run in your next live event.


Trusting your instincts

When you’re looking relatively new to something and soaking up advice from people more experienced than yourself, it’s not uncommon for people to say that you should “trust your instincts.”

Learning when to trust your instincts – and when to ignore them – can make all the difference at the poker table.

This can be helpful advice in the right situations, since the subconscious mind is great at solving simple or familiar problems. But blindly following such a tip can you astray in poker, where, as Pete Clarke writes, “there is much more statistical information to compute [and] instincts can be wildly off.”

The trick is in figuring out how to harness your instinct to help you the most at the table. Understanding the different kinds of instinctive reactions that people have can help you tell the difference between a spot where your emotions are driving your reactions and one where you don’t have to consider your options that carefully because you’ve studied this situation repeatedly. And knowing those kinds of differences can be the determining factor between a win and a loss.

Let Clarke help you learn when to trust your instincts in poker and you’ll leave unhelpful emotional reactions behind in no time.


Other PokerStars School content you might enjoy

• Promotion: Path to the Sunday Million
• Question of the Week: What would be your Sunday Million strategy advice?
• Video: Check-raising as a semi-bluff
• Twitch: ZOOM Cash Games with Pete Clarke


Open a PokerStars account today and start learning from PokerStars School. Click here to get started, and then click here to register for PokerStars School.

Jason has covered poker since 2005. He lives in Washington state with his wife and two dogs.

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