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Learn How to Win More Zynga Poker Tournaments
Tournaments are an interesting way to play poker. The cards and hands may be the same, but the game feels completely different.
Unlike cash games, this game feels more survival-like. How long can you hang on and get ahead?
I am going to share my poker tournament strategy while playing Zynga Poker.
What Are the Tournaments Offered in Zynga Poker?
There are two types of poker tournaments you can play in Zynga Poker.
- Sit and Go games
- Spin and Win games
In the past, Zynga Poker had bigger multi-table tournaments. But they removed them, and they never added them again. I wonder why?
Spin and Win games are faster versions of Sit and Go games that have three players. Only the person who wins the game gets a payout.
The payouts are randomized. You either get the normal double entry fee payout or something larger.
In Sit and Go tournaments, there are five players, and first and second place get paid.
Both versions of tournaments in Zynga Poker are very fast, and I would describe both games as turbo tournaments. Normal sit and goes tend to be slower-paced, but not in Zynga Poker.
In both games, the blinds go up every so often until there is one person left.
In Sit and Go games, most people measure their stack size with the big blinds. Divide your current stack by the big blind to get an idea of your stack size.
Most of the tournaments in the game are Spin and Win.
The last time I checked, only one location offers a Sit and Go tournament, which is London.
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About the Poker Locations
Zynga Poker used to be much more plain with its tournament structure. You used to pick your buy-in, and off you go!
But now things are quite different.
Tournaments are now locations in the world. At each location, you can earn rings after enough rings.
Here are the current locations and their costs.
- San Jose 5M and 20M Spin and Win game
- Las Vegas 100M and 500M Spin and Win game
- London 1B and 2B Sit and Go game
- Macao 20B and 50B Sit and Go game
What Are the Rings in the Game?
You have to earn enough points from winning tournaments. That is all there is to it! Win enough times and you get your digital ring.
The number of points required is higher for more expensive tournaments. But you have to win about five times to get most rings.
After winning the first ring, you can keep on winning them for extra chips.
But there is no leaderboard to see who wins the most rings.
General Zynga Poker Tournament Advice
Here is some advice on how to be successful in tournaments.
Play Much Less Hands
The first lesson you need to know about poker tournaments is that they are survival games.
People play these games like normal table games. Don’t do that! You will run out of chips and get booted fast.
You need to play hands to win. But you want to be calculated at what hands to play. You adjust the hands you play as the game progresses.
Try to play more hands on the button and try to stick to playing the stronger poker hands overall.
There are plenty of poker hand charts online.
Keep Track of the Blinds
The blinds in Zynga Poker Tournaments change fast!
I often see players react to this as if they didn’t see it coming. These players make last-second decisions because the blinds are high.
But the blinds shouldn't be a surprise. The game shows you what the current blinds are, what the next blinds will be, and even when they will change.
If you have a plan for the entire tournament, you will be able to adapt to blind and game changes much better and faster than most Zynga Poker players.
How to Play the Early Game
Here are strategies you should use in the early game.
How Most Hands Are Played in the Early Game
At the start of the game, the blinds are low.
Unless somebody raises or does something dramatic like goes all-in, you often will see the whole poker table in hands.
Most hands will end in people checking down to the river with some weak bets made along the way.
Eventually, somebody will get a strong hand and end up all by the river. But there are times at a very passive table where almost nothing happens the entire early game.
How I Play the Early Game
My objective in the early game is to watch and see how players play and wait for amazing hands to make a move.
The average player is going to try to play every hand no matter what their cards are. Because of this, I don’t like making raises in the early game.
Not raising goes against the more traditional “real” money sit and go strategy. But I have found such tactics matter little to the players of Zynga Poker.
So keeping that in mind, I often rather see a flop and then outfit my opponents by playing a better preflop game.
I will try to avoid going all-in preflop. I know I can play a better postflop game than many Zynga players.
But if I have AK, or QQ, or something better, I will often still go all-in. As I know long term, I will often be stronger.
If I ever do get a very strong hand like two pair or trips, I am almost always all-in by the river. Even if I have some doubts if I will win.
I rather risk a huge win than worry too much about being overly cautious early game. If I think I am strong in a poker hand, I am more likely to escalate by raising or going all-in. I do this more in sit and go games again because of the blind structure.
Unless I have a strong pair on the flop, I am going to check-fold most hands to any resistance.
I won't make weaker calls unless I think someone is bluffing often. Or I think a player is making bets on every flop.
It is important to pay attention to poker hands even if you are not in them. You may notice information you can use.
I love to see a bad player win a hand with terrible odds. If a player makes a big mistake and wins, they often will try something similar again. I will be more aggressive and likely to call big bets from this player.
I Almost Never Bluff in Poker Tournaments
I rarely will try a bluff in a sit and go.
There is only one exception. If I notice at a table that everybody is frequently checking down hands very fast, I might throw out some semi-bluffs,
A semi-bluff is when you bet with a hand that might become a stronger hand. Weak pairs, flush draws, and straight draws are hands I semi-bluff with.
But people need to look weak first. It is hard to describe what this looks like. But I can tell from playing poker for years.
Often people with weak hands check back fast. These players want to end the hand soon. Some people make tiny odd one blind bets while weak as well.
But be careful!
Some players check fast with strong hands! As if they can’t wait to pass the controls to you. Also, some players bet small with the strongest poker hands possible.
Remember Every Poker Tournament Is Different
As with anything in poker, the best answer on what to is it depends on the current players.
There have been some games so weak I went all-in on the flop with a pair of aces. While in other tournaments, I have folded trips to an all-in bet.
You will need to keep track of the game that is played in sit and go tournaments. Even if the other players don’t care or don’t notice, things are changing every time the blinds go up or when a player is knocked out.
How to Play the Mid-Game
Often, in a spin and win game, it will be heads-up during the mid-game. That is play between two players. But sometimes, everybody makes it to the mid-game.
People seem to be tighter while playing standard sit and goes.
You are in the mid-game when everybody is starting to have low stacks. Lower stacks put pressure on players to act or do something.
But most of the time players don’t change how they play in the mid-game. It is so weird. It is as if they don’t know they are in a sit and go.
My goal mid-game is to try to double up my stack. I will consider going all-in with any good pair or hand preflop. I will be more willing to go all-in on the flop with strong hands.
If it is heads-up, I won’t try to end the game fast. Unless I think that will work because the other player is not trying.
I will make bets and plays and observe what the other person is doing. I want to know as much about them as I can before the end game.
If I am playing a standard sit and go, things are a bit different. I will adjust my play depending on the number of players left.
If there are only three players left, I will be more cautious. A second-place finish is better than losing.
If I have a decent chip stack, I will avoid playing most hands and wait and see what happens. But if my chip stack is low, I will try to double up as soon as possible.
It is better to go out trying to win than to do nothing at all. Remember you can only win as many chips as your current stack.
How to Play the Late-Game
Most games end after the mid-game and in the end game. Often by now, there should be only two players.
But since this is Zynga Poker, it is not impossible for a late-game to still have all three players.
My only goal is to knock the other player out as soon as possible. The longer the game goes on, the sooner you will have to go all-in.
Now I might still play some preflop game if the other person is being timid. I often will go all-in on with a pair or better. I might even go all-in with a good straight or flush draw as well.
As the blinds get higher, I will start to go all-in preflop with weaker hands.
Always go all-in before going lower than two to three blinds. It is better to take a chance with any two cards with low blinds than to wait until you have nothing left at all. Remember, the other person will fold sometimes. You will win the blinds sometimes.
Late-game you don’t have much room to be strategic. It often becomes a game of just going all-in and hoping you win.
I often work hard trying to double up during the mid-game. The late game is my least favorite part of a sit and go.
If you are ahead and the other person is being very timid, then raise most hands preflop. Sure they will call with better or raise you with better. But for the most part, people give up hands.
If the other player has less than five blinds, consider going all-in with any two cards. You are not risking much here.