Multi Table Tournament analysis

This article was posted on November 30, 2007

Multi table tournaments are some of the most popular online poker game formats out there. Some of these MTTs are massive, with thousands of players signing up to them (such is the case of network-wide freerolls) others are limited by the capabilities of the software to a few hundred participants, still others only feature 3-4 tables, being more of 'multiple STTs' (just made that term up) rather than MTTs in the true sense of the word.

MTT strategy is a lot like the one applicable for STTs, only it's a tad more complex. The most basic and lucrative approach to these games has been developed by Dan Harrington, who established a connection between the total sum of the Big Blind and the Small blind, and the player's stack, through a set of rules.

Depending on how many BB+SBs you have in your stack, you should adopt a different attitude to the game. Given the fact that this ratio will be continuously changing, partly as a result of the blinds getting bigger and bigger, and partly because of the stack variation you'll experience, you'll have to be able to constantly assess the situation correctly and to handle it the right way.

Let's see about the recommended strategy you should adopt in each of the situations defined by Harrington: You have more than 20 BB+SBs in your stack. That means you can lay back, enjoy the game, and in the same time play your best. You won't be forced into risky moves by anything, you serenity intact you should focus on making the most of your good hands and toss everything else to the garbage.

Your main objective should be the protection of your stack, but don't shy away from occasional forays beyond enemy lines, especially on solid hands.
When the number of BB+SBs falls under 20 but remains above 10, you reach a critical phase. The dilemma that you're facing is the following: you still have a large-enough stack worthy of protection, yet you're slowly beginning to feel the pressure mounting, and that forces you to act. This is where discipline becomes an asset you won't be able to survive without. Most rookies will bleed their stack to non-existence during this stage.

When the Big Blind plus Small Blind ratio falls under 6, the pressure starts to get to you. It's do or die time, but you're already in a much better position to 'die' rather than to 'do'. The larger stacks around the table slowly assert their dominance, and in addition to the increasing impact of the blinds, you'll find yourself bullied around quite a bit too. In a word, the odds are beginning to stack up against you. You can no longer afford to see too many flops either. You need to pick a good starting hand and ride it like there's no tomorrow, straight to showdown no matter what it costs.

When the blinds that you can afford to pay are fewer than 1, you need a way out, or you'll be ejected from the game soon. Again, waiting for a reasonable starting hand and going all-in on it is pretty much all you can do. Make sure however, that you're not going for 'full value', that is, pick a hand when only a few people (preferable only one) remains in the hand, thus increasing your odds.
Unfortunately, at this stage a lucky break alone can no longer save you. Even if you manage to double up, you won't be out of the woods just yet, but you'll certainly broaden the list of options available a bit.

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