Joined: Nov '12
Age: 57 (F)
Multi Table Tournament First Stage
In this stage the blinds are low, most players in the tournament are weak, and everyone is itching to play and double up. (Future) Experts like us have two options: Loose play: As the blinds are low and the fish still have chips, you will want to be passive pre-flop and call with lots of hands (all pairs, suited connectors, Ax flush cards, high cards etc.). This way you hope to catch a monster and outplay the fish who is, at this moment, still alive. Your goal is to get as many chips as possible, so you’re well prepared for the coming stages: with a big chip stack you are then able to bully people, steal blinds, put short stacks all-in and protect yourself against/handle bad beats. The advantages of this strategy are that you will probably generate more chips, which means the risk of you going out in the next stages decreases. Also, you take advantage of the weakness of the fish still alive. The disadvantage is that you risk your stack and your chance of dying in this early phase is larger. Tight play: People who play extremely tight only play the Big hands in this early phase of the tournament. If they catch a hand, most likely they double up. However, chances are they don’t increase their stack. They will survive 9 out of 10 times though. The advantage of this strategy is that you will almost always enter the second phase. You play pretty risk-free poker and in fact remaining alive is the ultimate goal in tournament poker. However, the disadvantages are that you don’t always double up which means that the need for a hand increases in the second stage as the blinds grow higher. Also, you cannot eat much of the chips of the fish, you are not in the position to bully people as you don’t have the stack for it, and any pot you are in will almost always result in an all-in from your point of view.
Multi Table Tournament Middle Stage In this stage there is only 1 legitimate strategy. The general best online poker strategy – tight/aggressiveness – should also be applied here. Play big pairs and big cards, but fold suited connectors and only raise with lower pairs and higher suited connector cards in extremely good position. The blinds are now getting higher and it is not correct anymore to limp in with small pocket pairs or whatever. When you play, you play aggressive. Make sure that you put people all-in and not the other way around. Also make sure you play a rational stack game: only play against bigger stacks with premium hands, be more loose in your hand selection against the smaller stacks. Against these guys you should steal blinds when you have the chance. Rather go all than betting half your stack and then getting re-raised. I would recommend you to have at least an average hand like 10-J to steal blinds (going all-in). I never recommend people to steal blinds/be aggressive with trash hands like 10-7. If you haven’t doubled up before, it is recommend you try to do so in the beginnings of the middle stage as the blinds can no longer be paid towards the end of this stage. We realize that this is much more complicated when you are not getting a decent hand and it is harder anyway as the biggest fishes have probably left the tournament (apart from the lucky ones). Anyhow, this stage is determining the rest of the tournament. If you come out short stacked there is almost a 0% chance you’ll get to the final table. Being aggressive is thus very important. If you are short stacked and you are not getting any decent hand than go all in (when having position) with a lesser hand rather than blinding to death.
Multi Table Tournament End Stage and Final Table Just before the bubble arrives (meaning the period just before the last guy has been knocked out of the tournament without taking home any prize money) you must open up your hand selection and be ultra aggressive towards short stacks. Most of the short stacks will transfer their game from normal to ultra-tight. If you managed to end in the prize money that’s great. Be sure to change gears again: now that people are ‘in the money’, they will play extremely loose poker again. They enjoy everything so much now that they are gambling, and every place higher is just an extra festival. This is, however, not our play. We sit tight and play logical. It is important to pick your spots very carefully now, but again, when you play, play with devotion and determination, being aggressive and watchful. Hopefully you’ve reached the last 20. This is called the second bubble, people have almost reached the final table and are now becoming more tight, apart from the chip leader(s). That’s a reason for you to loosen up again and become ultra aggressive against shorter stacks than yourself. Keep avoiding the big stacks unless you have a premium, possible nut hand. Another reason to be more loose is that you need to have a decent stack if you are to get a seat at the final table. I mean, the difference between place 20 and place 6-10 is very small. The difference between place 20 and place 1/2 is big. This is why, when you’ve hopefully reached final table, you should keep aggressive and slightly loose at the final table. This is not true for the first few rounds in the final table. I recommend you to sit tight than, just watch the players, watch how the table evolves: are your poker opponents going crazy? Then keep playing tight. Is everyone playing tight? Then loosen up. Whatever you do, keep playing a positional game and keep playing the short stack. I must repeat that you should play for place 1 and 2, the difference between place 1 and 2 and place 3-10 in terms of prize money is ridiculously large. EV+ thus asks you to go for the top. Out of the 10 times you are sitting at a final table it is better to end 6-10 eight out of 10 times and 1/2 two out of ten times than ending 3/4 5 out of 10 times and 5/6 out of ten times. Multi Table Tournaments are exciting to play. It’s an honour to sweep away a whole field and to earn the big money and respect from all the players you dominated.