Aiming to min cash in MTTs is costing you money
If you're playing MTTs in hopes of just min cashing, then that is a huge leak in your game and your bankroll.
Before I continue, I was like some of you when it comes to MTTs and I was always content with min cashing; just hoping to squeeze by the bubble. I was happy to make a little bit of money after playing for hours. Who would want to play in a game for 4+ hours and not have anything to show for it, right? Well, I had nothing to show for it in my years of playing on PS and FTP (before the shutdown). I had over 2K MTTs played on each site, ITM ~10%, 1 win, and $0 in profits. And I'm sure thats where some of you are or where you're heading if you continue on this "my goal is to min cash" thinking.
I started playing online again in early October 2014 and since then I've played about 302 MTTs, ITM ~20%, 24 FTs, 4 wins, and ~$356 in profits from a $20 deposit. The sample size is much smaller, but it's a huge turnaround from my previous years playing because I stopped trying to just min cash.
When you play an MTT, the goal should be to survive and finish at the top above everyone else. Whenever you watch an MTT on TV, like the WSOP
, they don't say something like: "Welcome to the 2014 WSOP where over 6K players have paid a buy-in of $10, 000 in hopes of just min cashing!" because that's just stupid. The reason your goal is to finish as high as possible is because thats where the profits come in.
2 key things you need to know about MTT pay-out structure are they usually pay the top 10% and it's always going to be top heavy. We also need to look at finishing ITM in terms of buy-ins and not as cash value.
So, lets say you're a player whos goal is to just min cash in an MTT. You play 1000 MTTs with 1000 players in it, so the top 100 are making the money. We'll say you're on par with the payouts and you finish ITM in 10% of the games played. The min pay out structure is so:
100th-80th = 3 BI
79th-60th = 6 BI
You usually finish around here for an average of 4.5 BIs per cash.
So, your end results are as such:
100 ITM @ average of 4.5 BIs per cash = 450 BIs
450 BIs - 100 BI = 350 BI earned in total.
1000 MTT Buy-ins - 350 BI earned = -650 Buy-Ins
So, you're actually down 650 buy-ins. Even if you were to cash 20% of the time, you'd still be down 200 buy-ins.
Of course, this is an extreme example, but if you're just trying to sneak into pass bubble and into the money and not setting yourself up to finish as high as you possibly can, then you're going to lose money in long run.
So, what is the solution? Most likely you need to work on your mid-late stage game (somewhere I still need to improve). This stage is crucial for building up stacks through stealing and re-stealing because blinds are so high. If you're a player who shows up at this stage with an average stack and think you can just play tight, you wont survive long.
Another thing you need to do to take smaller edges during these stages. This means taking conflips or 60-40s for stacks. It also means you'll cash less frequently because you'll willing to bust out the MTT but you're also setting yourself up to finish much deeper in the MTT when you make a large stack. And you're not just doing this once, you're doing it multiple times throughout the late stages until you have a top 3 stack. There is a lot risks playing for stacks, but also a much greater reward. Remember, payouts are top heavy and will more than make up for giving up frequent min cashes. I've gone on runs where I bust out of 25 $1 MTTs in a row, then I run super deep and make a profit that surpasses what I would've made just min-cashing.
These 2 solutions are easier said than done and it took me a while to get used to it...hell, I still am. I'm sure you've all been there where you're short stacked near the bubble and you're thinking "just 1 more player and I make the money!" but you've given up so many opportunities to finish much higher. It's also much harder when you're on the low end of variance (a big thing in MTTs) and you're down swinging. A min-cash might help feel at ease after downswing, but does it really make anything better? If you're down 20 BIs what does a 3 BI min-cash do for you? Once you start applying these, however, you'll finish much better than before.
Key things to remember:
-Improve your mid-late stage game in MTTs; read up on it, watch strategy guides, and put it to use on the tables.
-Take more coinflips, 60-40s for stages in mid stages.
-Variance sucks, but as long as you're getting your money in good, it'll balance out.
-Be willing to give up freqeuent min cashes for less frequent deeper runs for more profit.