How Not To Evaluate Poker Tournament Results

The fame and prestige from winning a poker tournament can be more satisfying than winning money from cash games. Whether you are in it for the glory or the money, you probably want to know what you can do to maximize your share in the tournament poker pie. For a great game of poker, this poker room has a variety of quick withdrawals.

One of the best ways is to evaluate poker tournament results but this must be done so the right way. Only when you can see which type of plays is advantageous to you, and which are not, then you can increase your chances of winning. However, there are a few errors that both beginners and seasoned players fall trap to when evaluating their results.

Focusing Only on Your Bust-Out Hand

The common misconception is that it is sufficient to just look at what happened before busting out and nothing else. This is not true. It is essential to look at all your hands leading up to your bust-out hand. In doing so, you would then be able to review exactly what you have been doing incorrectly and at which point into the tournament does it usually occur. This allows you to identify leaks in your play that are costly and helps you to take the first step towards making the necessary changes in the next tournament.

In the process of keeping track of your tournament results, notes should be taken down as extensively as possible and note down possible reasons for falling short of your expected outcome. Thus, keeping a record of both your bust-out hand as well as the other information leading up to a bust-out could help you identify leaks and plug them to prevent further losses. Such small patterns can be the most difficult to spot but end up having the greatest impact on the outcome of your next poker tournament. 

Examples of information to take note of are seeing too many flops, aggressive mine setting, or even fighting for too little pots. Such actions only cause you to lose a seemingly insignificant amount of chips but cumulatively might just be what is causing you to lose the game.

Wrong Standards of Measurement

Looking for incorrect metrics is also a very costly mistake. While most players look at the right metrics, they instead chase the wrong standard on these metrics. As a result, wrong amendments are made in the next tournament, causing the player to make even graver mistakes. Take the “in the money” (ITM) percentage for example. Many players put too much emphasis on trying to make money. While this might not be entirely wrong, overemphasis on the ITM percentage should not be what you solely care about. While trying to raise your ITM percentage, you would likely neglect other equally important aspects of the game that might negatively affect your odds of winning.

Another thing to look out for as well is the Return on Investment or the ROI. This is the amount of money you should expect to earn for every dollar invested in a tournament. In addition, you can also look at the frequency of ending up in the top positions in a poker tournament. Ultimately, every decision you make and the game you play should lead you to achieve the goal of attaining the top spots at the very least. This means that one should not be too overly concerned about cashing in and start going after the correct metrics instead.

Limited Sample Size

According to the laws of mathematics, a large enough sample size is needed in order to make significant and meaningful conclusions from any tournament result. Just like losing a couple of tournaments does not mean you are the world’s worst poker player, winning two out of say, five tournaments do not make you a world-class poker player either. In this aspect, the more tournaments you have, the better. The accuracy of your evaluation increases with the number of tournaments you take part in and analyze. A good number to gauge from would be about 40 to over 50 tournaments minimum. 

If you were to be analyzing more minute situations that occur a few times within a single tournament, then it would take you less time to have a big enough sample size. Essentially, you want to avoid blindly jumping to conclusions or forcing trends out of nothing. Incorrect and inaccurate conclusions made can be extremely costly as you could possibly make false corrections that are not necessary.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

The self-fulfilling prophecy refers to when what you believe and expect influences your behavior subconsciously. Thus, you would see things supporting your case when you are looking for something to come true. However, this might be dangerous when you are not analyzing your results truthfully. As a result, you might start seeing trends that are not actually there. You might start finding excuses for your losses such as blaming your luck for that day, or claiming that you were not in your best state of mind, in order to get the results you expect yourself to get.

One way to overcome this is to try looking and analyzing the results from a tournament as an outsider and not treat it like your own. Looking at them objectively instead of trying to force upon what you expect to happen, and treat it as if you are doing the result analysis for a close friend. Be wary of falling prey to this self-fulfilling prophecy and this would help to minimize unnecessary and costly mistakes.


The above list might seem quite commonsensical and a no-brainer. Indeed, result analysis should be something that is easy to understand and straightforward. You should be able to obtain all the necessary information you need to make your next play a better one and elevate your poker playing skills. 

Despite how easy it might seem, many still seem to make the same mistakes over and over again so it is important not to see the tournament as a whole and gather a substantive sample size, use the correct metrics and avoid forcing outcomes that you hope to see.