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Dan O’Brien’s Top Five Turbo Tournament Tips

Dan O'Brien

The blinds are increasingly rapidly. The average stack size is diminishing at an alarming rate. Everybody seems to want to get it in right now.

Don’t panic — you’re just in a turbo tournament, and five-time World Series of Poker final table participant Dan O’Brien says relax, because even if the structure is faster, turbo tournaments aren’t that much different than your average multi-table tournament, anyway.

Due to his plethora of experience playing turbos both online and live, PokerNews went to O’Brien seeking his top five tips for playing these sped-up versions of the game, and he gave us the following:

Tip #1: “Brush up on your short-stack game”

O’Brien says turbo players need to realize that stacks are going to shallow out fairly quickly as the blinds go up, so they should focus on improving their short-stack games in order to be prepared for the inevitable.

Tip #2: “Only widen your range as much as your stack dictates you should”

“Some people think ‘Oh, it’s a turbo, I better start playing fast, the blinds are going to go up soon,’ but that doesn’t really matter,” O’Brien said.

“It shouldn’t impact your decision-making. Basically you should play each hand as it is without really worrying about the blinds going up.”

Tip #3: “The more things change the more they stay the same”

O’Brien says turbo tournaments are not really not that much different, everything just moves along a little faster than in regular multi-table tournaments. As a result, making major changes to your strategy is not required. In other words, just play your game.

Tip #4: “Be cognizant of other people who are trying to play a little too fast”

Adjusting your game to combat the play of the people at your table is the best way to handle just about any poker tournament. According to O’Brien, in turbo events it’s especially important to identify players who are making the mistake of ramping up the aggression too much in the face of escalating blinds and try to take advantage of them.

Tip #5: “Be aware of other short stack sizes late, not just your own”

“At the very end, everyone is going to be really short,” O’Brien said. “What you might normally move all in with having 10 big blinds, you might want to fold because there are four- or five-BB stacks around the table.”

“In the very late stages, being aware of other stacks and not just your own is very important. You might want to play a little more conservatively waiting for them to bust out first.”

* * * * *

Much thanks to Dan O’Brien for sharing these turbo tournament tips. Speaking of turbos, last night Kevin MacPhee earned his first career WSOP bracelet by taking down Event #56: $5,000 Turbo No-Limit Hold’em. Click here to read how MacPhee topped a field of 454 in just two days to earn the bracelet and $490,800 first prize.

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