As I am writing this today, I have failed to place in the last 16 MTT’s I have played. Not 1 dollar, nothing, natta, zippo. Not a very good feeling. I did get and 2 and a 6th on Sunday that paid quite nicely, but those emotions do not hold out for 4 days and 16 tourneys later.

If you specialize in MTT’s, there will very good times and some losing spells. How do you know the good times are better than the bad times? You need to keep records and look at the big picture.

So here is some of my stats over the last 629 tourneys. There are an average of 491 players. My average place is 175. On average I pay 99 dollars an entry fee. In those tourneys, I have placed in the money 115 times. I have made the final table 46 times. I have 5 firsts, 4 seconds, and 12 third places.

Now I feel better, because I know my game is more than the last 4 days. I have the records and money to prove it. So tonight I can once again sit down and play with the confidence I have an edge over the field.

Beyond this point, we will need to get into specific situational poker which will be tedious work. If you follow the first six you should be a winner in MTT’s over time, say 3 months combined. There are numerous playing styles that will win if applied correctly, so how to deal with certain poker situations is largely opinion anyway. I look forward to some lively discussion.


When you are fortunate enough to have the nuts, have the courage to put a lot of chips in the pot. Sounds simple enough but how many times have you seen someone with the nuts check the flop, turn and then make a small bet on the river, which of course you or someone else paid off.

When you have the nuts, you need to at least try to double through someone, not just be content to pick up a few chips. Lets examine an example, you are heads up on the river with the nut straight, you can bet 100 chips and you make get called say 8 out 10 times or you can bet all in 1000 chips and get called say just 2 out of 10 times. In the course of 10 hands you would expect 800 chips from strategy 1 and 2000 chips from strategy 2. Strategy will yield 2.5 times more chips in the long run. True you don’t get the satisfaction of showing the nuts that often, but isn’t it a lot better to have more chips?

Also with the nuts, try to extend the betting and give people a chance to hang themselves. I like to bet the minimum on the flop if I have flopped the nut flush or something. You wont be chasing anyone out who would have called your all in river bet ( there is no such thing as bluff call, you have to have a little something.) By extending the betting rounds you increase peoples emotional and chip commitment to the pot. After all poker is game of egomaniacs, and many a person will let his ego affect his calling or raising decisions.

Now the turn you can set the trap, if you got called on the flop, check. Hopefully someone bets for you but if not that’s okay. If someone is over committed to the pot based on their chip position, I would of course go ahead and put them in.

The river of course is bet all in. This pattern I like to use ( but not always) stinks to high heaven. Small bet, check, All-in looks like a steal and players who don’t know your style will be more apt to call your all in bet.

You may not like this strategy. Post your own, I’d like to hear it. The basic point remains get your chips in action when you have the nuts.


I have noticed there are 2 places in the course of any online tourney it pays to to tighten up, because you will make a quite a bit more money. They are right after the field is in the money and right when you bust down to the final table.

For example, in a 500 person tourney where 50 are paid. Going from 60 to 50 players may take a while. Most of the field is watching the board to see how many are left and you are hand for hand which can really slow down the pace. Nobody wants to leave now after 3 hours of play or so. The desire to get paid at least a little something is tremendous. So most will tighten their play considerably, especially the short stacks who can afford to go 1 or 2 more rounds.

Now you hit the magic number 50, everyone is typing in congrats on making the money and so. There is this tremendous emotional release and people start hitting the raise and call buttons with abandon as compared to before. You can just hear the chorus of “were in the money.” They reason I feel it is appropriate to tighten up is that you can often move up 20 places without doing anything during this period. I am not saying don’t play good hands or take chips when they are offered, just resist the emotional trap and refuse to join in.

The same thing happens when the final table is seated. It usually takes quite a bit of time to bust out number 11 and 12. A lot more hand for hand. A lot more stress as you may have been playing 5 to 7 handed for a while. And remember, most people are exhausted by this point. Even here on the west coast it may be 1 or 2 in the AM in some tourneys, much later than most US and Canadian players go to bed

So you get to 10 players and there is this round of congrats and so on. Usually, 3 people or so will bust out within a round or two often times over playing marginal hands. To me, this often represents the same emotional release of finally making it. If at all possible you need to move up at the final table, it is imperative to long term success. The moneys all at the top.

As I said in posts past, everything beyond point 6 was going to largely opinion based on personal observation. Please feel free to post your own observations.


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
Point 6 Be a Big Picture Person.
Point 7: Have Some Guts With the Nuts.
Point 8: Two Special Situations to Tighten Up.

Next chapter:

Find all the chapters by soupie here.


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Win MTT Poker 02 - Be a Big Picture Person
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