The League is where you can test your poker skills against players from around the world for free. Not only that, but there are over $35,000 in prizes up for grabs each and every month too! If you want to be successful you need to adjust your strategy compared with the way you might play normal multi-table tournaments. This is because the points awarded in The League are distributed very differently from the way prize-money is allocated in most tournaments.
SCORING POINTS IN THE LEAGUE
In order to do well in The League , you will need to know how the points are distributed.
In every tournament in The League the top 15% of the field only will accumulate points. So let's say there are 1000 players then only the top 150 finishers will score points. If you don't make it that far then you won't score anything – come back and try again next time!
Once you've cracked the top 15%, the higher you finish in any tournament the more points you will score to add to your overall tally for The League.
STRATEGY TIPS TO SHOOT UP THE LEAGUE
KEEP IT TIGHT IN THE EARLY LEVELS
Tournaments in The League play very similarly to any large-field tournament you would play on PokerStars. The top 15% of the field win points in The League, which is close to where you will have to finish to make the cash in most tournaments.
In the early stages it's generally better to adopt a tight-aggressive strategy. The blinds are still very small and it's not worth trying to steal them. You should still play your big hands aggressively and enter pots with hands that have huge potential – such as suited connectors and small pocket pairs – but there's no need to get carried away either. If you hit a big flop then you should go ahead and try to gain as many chips as possible, but if it's a marginal situation it can often be better to take a cautious approach. After all, nobody wins a poker tournament in the first level…
In these tournaments with huge fields you will often see players gambling heavily from the start, some even just open-shoving all-in for their entire stack! When you have a strong hand, such as A-Q, A-K or even a pair such as 9-9, it can be very tempting to call. However, even with this strong range of hands you will rarely be a big favourite, and should consider folding. The risk of busting early on is greater than the reward for getting an early double-up.
A more sensible strategy is to grind it out slowly, get into the points positions and then take gambles from that point onwards if they come up.
SURVIVING THE BUBBLE!
If you manage to avoid busting out early, and maybe even accumulate some chips, the bubble is the next milestone.
In a normal tournament play around the bubble can often change drastically. Many players are scared of missing out on cash – especially after playing for a long time to get to this stage – and may adjust to playing too tight. It can really pay off if you are able to identify these players and exploit their mistakes. You can do this by stealing their blinds or 3-betting them regularly to put them into difficult spots. More often than not, you will find they don't play back at you unless they have an absolute monster.
In The League you should definitely bear this in mind but always remember just how important it is to get into that top 15% of players so that you gain points too. If you don't have a big stack on the bubble it may be worth making some pretty big folds that you wouldn't otherwise consider making. Here is an example to illustrate the idea:
Getting into the points is your first priority in The League – once you've done that you can crack on and try to make a deep run!
GO FOR THE WIN!
Congratulations, you survived the bubble. You should now aim for the top three spots as that is where the majority of points can be earned. Normal poker tournament strategy will work just fine – be aggressive, pick the right spots and hope that your hand holds up!
RECAP: KEYS TO SUCCESS IN THE LEAGUE
In the early game it is important to avoid risks. Don't get your chips in if you aren't sure that your hand is best.
It is OK to get the money in with monster hands like Aces or Kings pre-flop, or a monster hand on the flop – you can't play too tight!
Surviving the bubble is the top priority as this means that you will score points. Don't do anything that endangers that goal. Even seemingly strong hands like A-T are an easy fold if a big stack raises in front of you.
Play after the bubble is not too important until you reach the final table. Just play normal tournament poker strategy and aim for the top three spots where the big points are.