A recurring theme of several posts is something like ” I am a great player until about 3/4 of the way through then I never seem to make the money” or “I just cant get to the final table.” Below is posted a blind structure I lifted from Paradise to illustrate a common MTT. Both Party and Stars are similar I don’t know about other sites.

Level Blind – Ante

1 10/20 –

2 15/30 –

3 25/50 –

4 50/100 –

5 75/150 –

6 100/200 –

7 100/200 25

8 200/400 25

9 300/600 50

10 400/800 50

11 600/1200 75

12 1000/2000 100

13 1500/3000 150

14 2000/4000 200

15 3000/6000 300

16 4000/8000 400

17 6000/12000 600

18 10000/20000 1000

19 15000/30000 1500

20 20000/40000 2000

For purpose of discussion, let’s assume the following, there are 1000 players, blinds go up every 15 minutes, you start with 1000 chips, you see 60 hands an hour, and lets also assume that half the field busts out every hour which I have noticed to be fairly accurate.

So here you are, you have made it to the second break, you have the the average stack of 4000 chips, and there are 250 players. Up to this point you have seen 120 hands. Blinds are now 300/600 with a 50 ante. It is now costing you 1200 chips per round to stay at your current level. You will be gone in 30 hands if you do nothing, but post and fold. You absolutely must play and you are unlikely to get an ideal situation, not impossible but unlikely.

Next point, you have to add to that stack. By round 12 in just 45 minutes, blinds will be 2000/1000 100 ante. If you manage to stay even for the next 3/4 of an hour, you will be completely destroyed in 10 hands of round 12.

By the end of the 3rd hour, you can assume there will be about 125 players left, average chip stack of 8000 chips. But a closer look, reveals the average stack is pathetic. 3000/1500 blinds and 150 antes. One round will completely destroy the average stack.

Based on these scenarios ( which I feel are fairly accurate) you need to have a fundamental shift in your thinking, somewhere between round 6 and round 10. No longer can you play cards and statistics like a ring game, You are going to have to gamble up, take chances, riptyddy away if I may say. You have to be fearless. Stop worrying about running into aces in the big blind. Forget about all the other times you got screwed. Play like you own the joint and have so much money it just doesn’t matter.


You see, MTT tourneys are not fair. The format will not consistently get the best players to the final table. The blinds rise too rapidly and the rounds are not nearly long enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. Yes the best players will get the money in the long run, because your play does matter, but on any given night the format will not reward the best.

Loose creative play is rewarded in the later rounds for the following reasons: the blinds are large creating a substantially larger reward for capturing them, most loosey goosey players have already busted out in the first hour (has anyone ever seen a player who played every hand win a large tourney? I haven’t), the average player who makes it too round 9 is much better than average ( obviously) and these players tend to play what I would term tight/aggressive, and lastly, in at least in larger buy in tourneys, nobody really want to risk their stack on less than top shelf hands, making steals much easier.

The blinds and blind structure with consideration of you own stack size must dictate your play in later rounds if you expect to be successful in MTT’s.


The all in bet is the great equalizer in no limit poker. It is the power of telling the table, I have aces and if you don’t think so, come beat me. It gives your opponent only one out to beat your hand, a showdown. There are no more fancy moves to be made. No slow playing, no check raising, no under betting or over betting the hand. You have made your final decision, now it is up to them. You are going to see all five cards regardless, period. They can not bluff you out.

When used judiciously, the all in bet gives you addition outs, and that is your opponents fear. What are they afraid of? You may really have aces, they will get a bad beat, they may be afraid their spouse will tell them how stupid they are if they lose a bunch of chips at once, they may be afraid of not making the money or making the top 200, or just about anything.

Here is some specific situations to consider going all in.

1. Ripptyde is sitting 2 to your left and shoving 7-4 down your throat. If the players to your left are consistently stealing your blinds, you may have to just slam right over the top of them. Let’s look at an example, you have blinds of 100/200 and this is 4th time in the last hour the player one to the left of the button has raised 3x the big blind and thats you. With the rising blinds you know you have to put a stop to this, so you go all in for say 2000 chips. There is 900 chips in the pot with his 600 and the 2 blinds of 100/200. Because you have given up the last 3 blinds to him, he is going to have you tagged as a tight, passive player. You were easy money, now you suddenly stand up and say screw you and the horse you rode in on with the all in bet. Unless he happens to have a great hand by accident, you will usually get a fold here from him. Emotionally, you have just whipsawed the aggressor from greed straight to fear. So here are your outs, he can fold and you can take the 900 chips and significantly heightened table image to the next hand or he can call and you can win at showdown, worse case he beats you at showdown, but you were going to blind out anyways without doing something.

2. Consider going all in the later rounds when you have a fairly decent hand and there has been no strength shown. For example, you get AQ on the button, and 3 people call in front of you. The chances you have the best hand here are pretty good. There are 4 and half big blinds in the pot plus antes. Going all in here will net you a nice pot with less risk. Sure you have the risk of getting called and beaten at showdown, but at this stage of the tourney you run the same risk of someone flopping a baby set or 2 pair with a calling party, the AQ only flops a pair about one third of the time anyways why screw around if you can take the pot now?

3. If you have happened to win the last couple pots especially in a showy fashion and then you get aces or kings. All in to win. Always be aware of what your opponents are thinking, if you have taken 2 or 3 pots in a row, they are suspicious. Your chances of getting good action are much better if the little box in the bottom says “soupie wins the pot” 3 times in a row.

I know statistics, pot odds,and implied odds are all important, but what is more important in no limit is your opponents head space. How they play, what they will play in certain situations, what the bets mean. There are certain players you can safely lay down KK against if they re-raise you before the flop. Sometimes, you can use this information to take their chips with the all in “nuclear option” bet. Whether you win or lose is largely determined by how you react to how they play the game.


This seems to happen, quite a bit. Someone raises the pot from position say 3 times the BB, the flop checks to them, and they bet the minimum, one big blind. Now if you are like me, your first reaction is what is that? Second reaction, I need to raise here. Third reaction, is that just someone using my favorite move trying to suck me?

In my opinion, the weak lead means weak more often than not. It is often times 2 big cards that have missed trying to capture the pot with a minimum of risk. It is an ideal check raise situation to capture the pot especially against the players who are classic position players. In other words, if a player has shown the pattern of consistently raising the pot from late position, this is a low risk check raise with any 2, regardless of your cards. Now I wouldn’t always pile all my chips in, but if I need chips, this is one situation to attack.

If the weak lead means weak, why do players do it? Two reasons, sometimes it works. With a 3X BB bet against just the BB call there are 7 and half BB’s in the pot plus antes. If one BB will capture more than 7 times it’s value, it doesn’t have to work that often. Secondly, it is almost reflexive to bet a pot you previously raised, but because the hand sucks, they will just bet a little.

Ripptyde, talks about repping the ace, the weak lead is not how its done. You have to bet about what you raised before the flop to legitimately rep the ace.

If someone you know to be a strong player uses the weak lead on you, ignore this whole point.


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.
Point 9: Thou Shalt Not Steal From the Wounded.
Point 10: Give Yourself 2 Ways to Win Every Hand You Play.
Point 11: Count to 10 Then Begin.
Point 12: Consider the Blinds.
Point 13: Consider the Implications of an All-in Bet.
Point 14: Analysis of the Weak Lead.

Next chapter:


Find all the chapters by soupie here.


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Win MTT Poker 04 - Blinds, Weak Bets
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