Regular players and hobbyists might be keen to dismiss the prospect of a humble multi-table tournament. Favoured events, perhaps, might be the featured tournaments, in which thousands might enter – with thousands more up for grabs. While MTTs are something of a bore for the majority, many hardcore poker players are looking to MTTs to bolster their bankrolls and, with fresh bankroll strategies proving more and more popular, it’s easy to see how wannabe pros are turning to the smaller stage.
MTTs are as regular as clockwork on the bigger websites. Many of the entrants might be like you, a shark looking for fish, but the majority will be short-changed and even shorter-experienced players hoping to hit the final table. There are many tight strategies recommended for these tourneys due to the fairly deep starting stacks. In the majority of cases, between 100 and 200 big blinds is expected when you sit at the table, so you don’t need to work to stay in the game for a period.
You should never be stealing blinds in these early stages – they’re essentially worthless to you at this point. Your typical drawing hands, however, could be worth calls and especially if you have position. Play your smallball poker, keep your output low and your chances of hitting high – suited connectors are perfect here, but your high aces will undoubtedly be more valuable later on.
Fortunately, due to the deepstack nature of the majority of these tournaments, you can sit back and wait for your premium hand. Count your stack in terms of big blinds and keep an eye on the number of entrants remaining. MTTs will 180 players on PokerStars ensure the top 27 are paid on normal speed tournaments, so if you’re on the bubble, tighten up and make the money.
Typically, playing four to five of these tournaments at a time should see at least one hit the money for average to solid players at low stakes. For bankrolls of around $40, a solid strategy for MTT players is to play 180-player $1 tournaments, which have a top prize of around $19. While this is not a particularly fast way to make money, it is a way of understanding the game and its boundaries and building your comparatively large bankroll. Using just 2.5% of that bankroll on each tournament allows for variance to rear its ugly head and for you to learn from any mistakes that you might make along the way.
The later stages of these tournaments make for a fun climax. While the blinds are piddly to begin with, the later become difficult to deal with and a, eventually debilitating, ante is added. As a poker player, we can look at this two ways: either the blinds are out to get us or they are just sifting out the straddlers for us. The latter is, of course, a more solid mindset to go into with for anything.
Shoving your raggy aces might not, now, seem like such a bad idea. But the idea is to get in the money and freeroll from there, so fold, fold, fold, fold until the 28th person has gone. By this point, you’re freerolling and need to be trying to squeeze any value out of your remaining stack. By this point, it is no small stack to have 30 big blinds, so anyone with 10 or less should be shoving with almost any picture cards or ace.
Playing it safe, studying the game and learning when to be loose and when to be aggressive are the most key points of learning to play a solid MTT. While they’re certainly nowhere near as as glamorous as the expensive featured tournaments, they may teach you a thing or two about the game.