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Profiting from Multi-table Tournaments

For the casual player, Texas hold 'em is synonymous with big tournaments. Most players are introduced to the game either through television or home games. In both cases, the game played is almost always a tournament format.

Tournaments offer excellent value for the casual player in that they are very cheap to enter compared to the amount of entertainment returned. A $10 entry fee with often give you hours of exciting play. Of course what is value to a casual player might be a waste of time to a professional. That is not to say you can't make money on tournament - you certainly can - just that it is not the easiest way to go about making a living. If you want to make money on multi-table tournaments (MTTs) the first thing you should understand is that profitable play rarely resembles what you see on TV. On TV, they edit out most of the "boring" hands and instead only show you most interesting hands. On TV, pros bluff a lot, but in reality they fold pre-flop more often than not and only rarely bluff.

From a strategy point of view, a MTT can be divided into three parts. In the first part of the game, blinds are quite small compared to stack sizes. In the early rounds, it is wise to play a semi-tight aggressive style. You should take some chances seeing cheap flops with things like 10 9s and should play your good hands aggressively. Target a weak player or two and try to double up through them. The idea is to build a modest stack without too much risk.

The second part of the game is all about survival. As the blinds start to increase relative to stack sizes, you want to tighten up. Play only your best hands and try to limit your risk as much as possible. Players will start to drop out rapidly and as they do you want to position yourself to make the money. Remember that doubling up at this point will only nominally increase your chances of winning, but losing half your stack will severely hurt your chances of making the money.

In the third part of the game, you will want to loosen up a bit and start making some moves. Once you reach the money, the equity offered by folding will drop dramatically. Payout levels typically increase fairly slowly until to final 20-30 players, so busting out is no longer a big deal. Instead of worrying about a couple extra bucks, you want to maximize your chance of making the final table.

By the time you reach the money, most of the remaining players will be fairy tight and vulnerable to steals. Raise some marginal hands to steal the blinds and look for opportunities to double up. Don't be afraid to take a chance all-in when the time is right.

If you follow this advice, you will have a good chance of making money on MTTs over the long run. However, you need to keep in mind that even the best players will have long droughts between big wins, so making money is more about patience than anything else.

JackRag


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