MTT advice



I've been playing poker on and off for a few years but i've recently been playing it a lot more seriously. I do well in cash games and i'll finish in the money in SNG's more often than not but i've yet to crack MTT's. My play is good enough to stay in longer than the numpties but i just can't seem to take the next step and challenge for the money places.

I usually start well and build up a stack of around 4/5 times the starting chips, my problem seems to be my inability to build on my early success. This means by the time we get close to the money finishes my once decent stack is now a short stack and the blinds are crippling. I'm quite a tight player but when i get hand i play it aggresively, one thing i have noticed is that i get much tighter as the tournament goes on, often folding hands i might have played earlier. Should I mix it up more in the later stages and try and see more flops?

Also, can you give me some advice on how to prepare for tournaments? I usually read over the No-Limit section in Doyle Brunsons Super System but i find there is too much info to take in.

I'd appreciate any advice you can give.




In MTTs, the general theory is that you should play super tight up until the break, then progressively loosen up.
I play the top 10 hands up til the break, but will sometimes fold AQ and AJ type hands in early position, or when faced with a strong raise in front of me.
The key is (and seems to be your biggest flaw) that you have to loosen up in the middle and late stages of a tourney and start stealing the blinds with medium aces and KJ type hands. When the blinds get to 100/200 or 200/400, people really start tightening up and wait for the AA or KK to try and double up with.
I haven't been able to find the balls to loosen up at that point up until recently - i was in a $5 rebuy, and after the break had an average stack. I decided i'll try something different and really loosen up (but still play smart) and start stealing the blinds. I would make big reraises with AT or even A8/A9 type hands to shut people out of pots (only when i would sense weakness) and it worked! I didn't realize how much people tighten up and get scared of all ins at this point. I went from average stack to 1st in chips because of this way of playing.
Hope this helps

as for preparing, there are plenty of threads about MTT strategy on this site, just search them. The general theory is to play real tight at the beginning and loosen your starting hand requirements after the break and as the tournament progresses.


oh yeah and its a completely different game if you're talking about rebuys.
in rebuys, they're basically the same after the add-on break, but before, its a jungle out there.
Some say to play real tight and wait for the top 5 hands before playing a pot, and others like the megalomaniac theory of playing every pot, but i think it's just a matter of personal preference when it comes to rebuys.


Thanks for the advice ChuckTs. Since i made that 1st post i played in a MTT and i found myself really tightening up, becoming one of those players who gets scared of all in raises. I tried to change my approach by loosening up and for a while i did manage to pick up a few pots, even when one of my 'steals' was called i flopped a K high flush, which doubled me up. I soon fell back into that 'hold on' mentality and was soon short stacked and running out of time.

The next MTT i play in i'm going to make an effort to play loose but smart and also just relax a bit more.

I don't use re-buys or add-ons myself, if i start thinking that i can buy back in if i lose all my chips my game will go right out the window. The MTT i played in today was a re-buy tourney, this one guy at my table must have bought back in around 8/9 times at $3 a pop. This tourney had 60 paid places and he'd have to finish in the top 25/30 just to make his money back. Surely playing in a higher stakes SnG would be more worthwhile.

Thanks again for the advice.


Through my stint of MTT's Ive learned that you should stay tight through the first 4-5 levels, only playing the premium hands and being aggressive. Even if you win just the blinds thats more chips you have cause MTT's are all about survival and the chips are your survival tools. after the first 5 levels you loosen up to hands like AQ and high suited connectors and all pocket pairs. pocket sixes to deuces in the early levels are pretty dangerous to call the raises that are made in the first 4 levels. I try to limp with these pairs and hope for a set if not I fold.


Nice thread, Millarski

It seems from your original post that you have the basics of MTT play right and you just need to make a slight change in the way you change gears and play a slightly different game as the tournament moves forward. A mistake a lot of players make is trying to play the same way throughout the entire MTT, waiting for the big hands to hit you and playing them aggresively. Now, this isnt necessarily a bad strategy. Playing those strong hands aggressively is a very good trate in MTT play and will more often than not take you to the later stages of tournaments, unless you run into a bad beat or you simply run into a better hand

If you are able to build up 4/5 your starting stack within the first couple of hours, then I suggest you continue with your current strategy, as having a stack this size should give you the ability to see some more flops and bully the table you are at

Having a nice stack can also, at times, be a downfall, as you feel you can sit and wait for those big AA's and KK's to take players out, but in reality you are only gonna hit one of these once every 240 hands, so you gonna be paying plenty of blinds!

My advice would be to use your position wisely, and if you feel you have the best hand, however marginal it may be, get your chips in

My top 5 tips for any MTT player looking to improve (they have certainly helped my games)

1. Be aggressive with your strong hands
2. Dont call bets out of position/dont be afraid to call bets with position
3. Remember, if you ate gonna be calling bets in the Small blind for pots odds, you will be the 1st to act after the flop
4. Only make plays in early position when you have a strong hand, if not fold

I know nearly all of us know these simple rules but I always remind myself of them as they can seriously move your game up 1 or 2 levels if you stick to them

Oh, and welcome to the forum, Millarski and good luck