Multi-table tournaments online are some of the best options for the serious card player. Not only do they require keen hand analysis and player evaluation, but they offer invaluable practice in chip management, fold equity, and resisting the urge to go on tilt.
There’s also a tremendous amount of luck involved, and even legends like Daniel Negreanu and Chris Moneymaker have to weather bad beats, all-ins, and other obstacles that can easily derail a promising run. Then again, that’s part of the charm of the event. Anyone who enters has a theoretical shot at finishing in the money, which explains why fish, sharks, and whales all gravitate to these events.
In the following text, we’ll take a look at how multi-table tournaments work and how they differ from ring games. To help get you started, here’s our list of internet’s best poker sites for tournaments, after which we’ll also provide some basic tips that should serve you well all the way to the final table
How Does a Multi-Table Tournament Work?
A certain number of players sign up to enter the event, and this can range from a fixed amount to an unlimited number. After the entry fee has been taken care of, all players receive the same amount of chips. Once the participants are set, players are assigned randomly to a starting table.
Gameplay commences, with players abiding by the rules of a specific poker game (usually Omaha or Texas Hold’em). As the field of players is whittled down, remaining participants are relocated to new tables. Play continues, with the total number of tables diminishing over time.
A player is eliminated when their chip stack is reduced to zero. The only exception is during a re-buy tournament, when players eliminated in the early stages have the option of buying their way back in. This elimination rule is different from cash games, where players are allowed to buy back into the action as long as they can afford it.
Another distinction between multi-table tournaments and ring games is the blind structure. In almost all cash games, the blinds remain at a consistent level throughout. In multi-tables, however, the blinds increase over the course of the game. This makes a major difference, as multi-table players can’t afford to sit around forever and wait for an optimal hand. They’ll eventually begin to feel the pinch of the blinds, forcing them to become more aggressive or risk being sent home earlier than they’d prefer.
This process continues until a single table remains, which is known as the final table. The remaining players compete until only one participant is left. In some live tournaments, it’s not unusual to see the final few players agree to a split instead of playing the event to its ultimate conclusion. Online events, however, often require the players to continue until the bitter end.
In larger events, those who finish in the top 10% usually receive some manner of payout. The top three players are awarded the lion’s share of the prize, with the winner of an online tournament at some of the best MTT poker sites often walking away with hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For an example of a payout structure, let’s look at how Party Poker handles their multi-table payoffs. In a game with 10 to 30 players, payouts are distributed as follows: 50% (first), 30% (second), and 20% (third). In a game with 131 to 200 players, the top 20 finish in the money (with first place getting 27.50%). For massive events with over 7,000 participants, the top 1,100 receive a payout. While the first place prize of 14.60% might sound low, keep in mind that a huge number of people contributed to the prize pool.
In multi-table online tournaments, prize money is traditionally handled in one of two ways. The first is a prize pool made up of player entry fees (minus a fee for the house). The second is a guaranteed payout, which ensures those who finish in the money of winning a certain amount (regardless of the number of original participants).
Endurance is also a major factor in online multi-table tournaments. While a sit & go contest may be over in 20 minutes, a multi-table event can last in excess of four hours.
Winning Tips for Multi-Table Internet Tournaments
If you’re serious about finishing in the money at a multi-table event, I suggest you read as much as you can on the subject. This is, of course, assuming that your poker game is already solid, which should always be your top priority.
To help get you started, here are 10 tips about multi-table online tournaments to keep in mind:
- Before you enter a tournament, make sure the rewards justify the time and effort spent. You may want to skip an event if it requires you to play for hours without fair compensation. To find tournaments in which you have optimal chances of winning a lot of money, sign-up at our recommended sites (at the top the page) – they’re the best tournament poker websites in the world.
- Your objective should be to win, not just finish in the money. While this is a tall order, a tournament victory can fund thousands of future entries or allow you to step back from gambling and take a long-deserved vacation.
- Before you head into a tournament, develop a strategy and stick to it throughout the event. No matter what it is, don’t get rattled and adjust it on the fly.
- Avoid aggression for aggression’s sake. If you’re going to come over the top, make sure your behavior is justified. The keywords here are “controlled aggression.” Think of it like a boxer who throws well-timed power punches versus someone who swings wildly and frequently misses their mark.
- Stack management is one of the most important factors in the latter stages of a tournament.
- Be cautious about an hour into the tournament. That’s around the time that a number of players get desperate and reckless, so adopt a more conservative strategy until these individuals have increased their stacks or burned themselves out.
- Tournaments require a greater commitment of time, especially if you have some success. Always assume that you’ll advance deep into the event, and make certain that you have enough time to spare.
- During the early rounds, it’s best to only play premium hands. Fold everything else and wait for the fish to get gobbled up.
- When you move to a new table, try to size up your competition as soon as possible. Pay close attention to the size of the chip stacks, especially in relation to your own. Also keep an eye on the chip leader, mainly to determine if he’s good or just lucky.
- If you find yourself short-stacked in the later stages of the game, you can’t be picky about what hands you play. At some point, you may just have to go all-in and cross your fingers.