Am I playing MTTs the wrong way?
I've recently started to play more MTTs, I used to play SNGs or cash games more often. I've had a few big cashes ($2000+ ), but lately I just can't seem to cash and I hate the feeling of getting knocked out and winning nothing after I've put in a lot of time and effort. Here's my basic MTT strategy.
In the early stages, the first hour and a half about, I play extremely conservative. I just try to keep from losing any chips and preserve my stack. I'll make big laydowns if I think there's a decent chance I'm beat and if someone puts me all in preflop I'll only call with AA KK or maybe QQ. I try not to take much risks, but I will play the small pairs or suited connectors if I feel I have huge implied odds
, but sometimes I feel I shouldn't even be speculating. Sometimes it will work out, I'll hit a set and double up early, which is very nice, but lately I've been speculating with those types of hands but just losing chips early on. I'll start with 2000 chips and by the first hour I'm at 1400 or 1500, and IMO that is a disaster. Why? Because if I were to double up right after the first hour against a stack that has me covered, I would be at 4000 if I didn't do any speculating. If I double up at 1500 I'm only at 3000 and it's like 1000 chips vanished. If I lose half my stack in the first hour and double up in the 2nd hour, I'm at 2000, but had I preserved my stack I would be at twice that, 4000.
In the middle stage when my M is between 10 and 20, I'll still play conservative, is this the wrong idea? Usually at this stage, probably 60% of the field is eliminated. My plan is to play similar to the early stages and just get closer to the bubble.
In the late stages of course I play aggressive, I'll start making moves and attacking the smaller stacks. I'll take many many risks and I'll put all my chips in for a coinflip if I can. I'll also start making loose calls if someone puts me all in (unless it's obvious the raiser is strong, like if he opened from UTG).
Anyway that's my basic game plan, but what has always been happening lately is I get to the bubble as one of the shorter stacks. Like in a 900 person tournament I'll be ranked 190 out of 210 remaining players (about 150 get paid). And lately I've almost ALWAYS got knocked out right on the bubble or right before the bubble.
The times that I have made final tables in MTTs I've always somehow managed to be 1st-9th in chips by the time it got to the bubble. I can never make a final table in a MTT using the strategy I described above, the times I went really deep I always somehow had a massive chip stack by the middle stages, but doing that means taking risks and going against the game plan I described.
So am I playing MTTs the right way or the wrong way? Should I be taking more risks in the early to middle stages?