I recently found this site and thought I would post a few thoughts. I play on Party, Paradise, and Stars in the largest MTT no limit tourneys available after
6:00 pm PST most nights under this name. I especially like the 8:00 pearl and 6:00 R&A on Paradise, the 7:15 10 R&A on Stars, and the nightly specials on Party for 150 or 200 buy-ins. I also frequently play the 100 buy-ins on Party. Generally, I am playing 2 to 3 tourneys at a time.

That in itself does not mean I know what I am talking about whatsoever. Perhaps I just have a lot of money to burn. I have one poker superstition and that is too not talk about winnings so you will have to decide whether I know what am talking about with an incomplete knowledge of my play (however you can verify my play because I told you exactly where I am at.)

So on to the topic.


Winning a MTT is very simple.

Find a way to survive the first 80-90 percent of people, then hit a good run of cards that hold up. I have told this to people and they think I am an idiot. I suspect many of you will too, which is just fine because 90 percent of poker players lose and I have yet to ever see a devout loser turn into a winner, so essentially I write this in vain. However, I see this site has many neophytes who might actually listen so I write on.

In the first hour of any MTT (excluding rebuy/addons) you will lose approximately half the field. That half obviously has no chance of winning. More interesting, in most tourneys if you post and fold that first hour, you will still have about 2/3 to half your chips, and have already beaten half the field by NOT DOING ANYTHING. Note: I am not saying this a recommended strategy. It is however better to be there with a short stack then not at all.

In that first hour you will generally find people risking 150 chips to take 25 chips in blinds for example. What lunacy. Calling those same bets with J-9. Hello? Every poker hand has to be evaluated with an estimation of risk and reward along with consideration of the ultimate goal. You cannot win a MTT in the first hour. It simply cannot be done. Even if you could bust every person on the table you still would not have near enough chips to be competitive at the final table.

So thought number one is tight is right in the first hour of a MTT.

I am out of time for tonight. Playing the 6 o’clocks on Party and Paradise. If people are interested I will continue to post…


I firmly believe u are better off not gambling until you absolutely have to, ie your stack is less than about 3X the big blind, little blind, and antes combined.

However, I of course will play legitimate hands in the early rounds. For example, I love to see small pairs or suited connectors for the minimum bet in the early rounds, usually from late position. Those same loose players will double you up if you flop big, and it is wise to risk 1% of your chips if you have the possibility of doubling up.

At times, I will also well overbet a big hand, ie aces in the early round. Blinds are 5 and 10 and I will open with 200. It is amazing how many times you will get multiple calls.

As an aside, if you hear someone complaining about aces, you know they don’t understand the game. At any point in the tourney, with aces, my goal is always get as many preflop chips in the pot as possible and let the cards fall where they may.

So, to expand my first point: Tight is right in the first hour, but that doesn’t mean you don’t use your head and look for legitimate situations to take chips.

I make it through the first hour about 90% of the MTTs I play.

Point number 2: Shut your pie hole unless you are eating pie.

If someone beats your hand with a draw out or pure junk, a proper response is nh or just nothing.

Think about it. Bad players play bad cards and that is what makes poker profitable. You want them playing bad cards. Bad cards will win at times, that is the breaks.

You have to protect your head space and that means exercising self control at all times. If you cannot control what you type into the chat box, you are losing poker player as you will not be able to control what hands you play as well.

The only person dumber than the action of losing players is the person who tries to chase them away with insults.

Until next time.

Just Getting Started…

Point 1: Tight is right in the first hour of a MTT.

Point 2: Shut your pie hole unless you are eating pie.

Point 3: Play where you belong.

Point 4: Stop telling bad beat stories.

It is imperative for good play that you be risking enough money for it to be meaningful to you and not risking so much you are endangering your financial or emotional health.

This level of play is unique to each individual. I personally risk about 500 a night and sleep like a baby win or lose. If you can’t sleep when you lose, you are playing beyond your financial or emotional means.

If your play is sloppy and you find yourself bored, you aren’t risking enough. This is not the usual problem, as most people tend to risk too much.

Also, your income or personal financial situation is not completely relevant to the level of tourneys you play. If you can’t sleep after busting out of 5 dollar tourney, you should be playing 1 dollar tourneys. That simple.

Also, (this will strike a nerve) if your spouse is not supportive of your play, you will find it extremely difficult to play winning poker. MTT takes a lot of time and concentration. This will take away from family time. Most spouses become irritated if you have a hobby that costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time. I promise you, however, if you make consistent money they rather enjoy your “hobby.”

So to sum up, play the limits and games that keep you interested and not anxious.

As a note, if I continue this thread, it will probably take 30 or so posts to get to all the topics I would like to. These first three should take a losing player to break even immediately if they have reasonable knowledge of poker. It is helpful if those who are really interested would write a brief note just to let me know I am not wasting my time.

Now I know a substantial portion of this site is dedicated to telling bad beat stories, so I suspect this might get me banned. It however of no value to talk about how your aces got wacked by 46 in the big blind. It brings you down and quite frankly no one wants to hear it. Think about it, the last time you heard a bad beat story where you compassionate and caring, or did you just want them to shut up so you could tell your own bad beat story that was much worse.

Everyone takes bad beats.

It is part of the game. Here’s the second part, you have to drill into your head, everyone gives bad beats. I have not had one final table appearance without getting lucky at some point. You are not going to beat 500 or 1000 players without getting lucky at some point. Remember your luck is their bad beat

So if bad beats are regular part of the game, either accept them or stop playing.

What you think about expands, whether good or bad. If all you talk about is how horrible it is playing poker, how good is your game going to be?

This however is not intended to stifle legitimate discussions of correct play, I think you can tell the difference.

Point 5: Specialize

In my humble opinion, you are far better off in today’s online poker world if you specialize. There is a vast array of games and limits offered. If you only play the same situation over and over, you increase your skill in that game compared to the guy who is bouncing from limit to no limit to omaha, to seven stud, to pot limit high only omaha, etc. Playing the same game regularly will give you an edge.

For example, when you play limit, many more situations pay to draw due to pot odds. So, as I have, you get used to drawing and playing more pots and then play a no limit tourney and your thinking is screwed up. I suddenly want to start calling and calling and calling on hands I have no business calling in no limit, even though they are perfectly legitimate plays in limit.

The difference between live no limit and MTT no limit tourneys is also substantial as the goals are completely different. Live games are to leave with as much money as possible. Each hand has exactly the same goal, minimize risk and maximize rewards. MTTs are completely different, with the progressive blind structure and rewards to only a few at the the top. An AQ on the button means something totally different in round 1 vs. round 9. In MTT, your thinking and playing style must evolve with the situation of the tourney (ie your chips stack, blind levels, where are the big stacks, where are the crying calllers, where are the aggressors etc.).

Now I know someone is just about to fire off a rebuttal about how they are trying to be well rounded and learn the whole game and TJ Cloutier can do it, so why can’t they. Here is what you do to test this. Play 2 rounds at 3 different games that you don’t normally play, then go play your regular game. See if I am right, does it change your game and approach?

This goes back to point 3 as well, play where you belong. If you are trying to maximize your earnings you play the games you have the best edge in, because you know more about that game than the next guy.

There are about 50 more points that soupie discusses. You can find them all below under Related Articles. Each article has 3 points, be sure to read them all to improve your MTT game!

In Summary

Point 1: Tight is right in the first hour of a MTT.
Point 2: Shut your pie hole unless you are eating pie.
Point 3: Play where you belong.
Point 4: Stop telling bad beat stories.
Point 5: Specialize

This MTT series by soupie has 16 Chapters! Read the next few:


Find all the chapters by soupie here.


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