Grinderschool Free Poker Strategy Articles
A Tournament Player's Guide to Success
Why Play MTTs
1.) There are a couple of reasons to be an MTT grinder. The first is obviously the same reason many play poker at all: to make money! There is a tremendous edge a good MTT player can have by learning some fairly basic concepts. Factors like playing different stack sizes well, ramping up aggression at the right times, and getting precise reads on your table can all make you more profitable at MTTs than most of your opponents. If you take all of the edges you can get at MTTs and spread them out over thousands of tournaments you are bound to show great profits and make tons of money!
2.) FTW -- For the win! You always play an MTT for the win, and there is no feeling like taking one down. For the next hour after you have won an MTT you are still excited. In fact, that feeling doesn't really wear off for days. Once you win your first MTT, you may find yourself to be a lifelong tourney player! Typically if you play large field tournaments wins are few and far between, so the times you actually do win are incredibly rewarding.
Which MTTs To Play
1.) This is totally dependent on your bankroll. In general, you should have 100 buyins for the level that you are playing. If you have a bankroll of $200, play the $2 - 180 mans on Full Tilt. If you have a $400 bankroll play the $4 180 mans on Poker Stars. The low stakes MTTs are great because they are very soft but they also give you a chance to refine your game without risking much money. Some of these ideas you master at $2 MTTs will be the same as at a $1k online MTT or the WPT $10k event.
I will outline a list of tourneys you should play depending on your bankroll:
$100 -- $1 MTTs on Poker Stars - mixed in with sngs to grind up a bankroll!
$200 -- $2 180's on Full tilt, until you have $400.
$400 -- $4 180's on Poker Stars.
$500 -- $5 FO on Poker Stars and Full Tilt mixed in with $1 rebuys on tilt
$1k -- $10 freeze outs on Poker Stars and Full Tilt - extremely high variance be prepared to move down. Throw in $12 180 man turbos on stars to reduce some variance here.
$1.5k -- $3 rebuy on Poker Stars.
$2k -- Add in $20 180-man SNG's.
$2.5k -- add $24 freeze outs on Full Tilt and the $27.50 on Poker Stars nightly.
At this point you are well on your way to being quite successful at MTT poker. Remember, if you encounter a downswing, throw your ego out the window and move down to the previous level.
How To Improve At MTTs
1.) Play -- The only way to get better, is to go through the process. Play, learn and improve. Think about your decisions before you make them! Late in a tournament take your hand off the mouse, and think about your decisions on every street. I've been told, on pokerstars if you are playing a tourney, let your name blink on the screen 3 times before you make any decision deep in a tourney. Know why you want to do something before you do it, it will really help your game.
2.) Watch videos -- Watching other people in similar situations is very helpful especially for MTT play, where the same situations come up over and over again. It also helps to watch players who have been through the lower limits and successfully beat them, so you can integrate their knowledge into your play. Take the time to incorporate what you learn into the videos into your play, it will only help you improve.
3.) Use the forums -- This is also an essential part of player development. Post hands you have questions about in the forums; we will get back to you. Late in MTTs, a lot of decisions are just push vs. fold, so it is critical to be able to identify the aspects which determine the decision. Using the forums is a great way to plug your leaks and improve your profits. We hope to hear back from you guys, and good luck at the tables!