Prize Pools in a Multi-table Tournament
Before looking at strategies to use while playing multi-table tournaments, let’s look at the prize pool structure – this should be the influencing force on your multi-table play since you would be looking to maximize your earnings as time goes by. Players who reach the final table will share half of the prize money among themselves.
At the final table, the players in the top few places will receive a much larger payout compared to the others. So, if you want to make the most of your multi-table tournaments, be sure to aim for these top positions and devise your game strategy accordingly.
Beginning Strategy of the Multi-table Tournament
Early in the tournament, the game will be in many ways similar to a ring game. Stack sizes will be large and the blinds will be relatively low. It is possible to bet aggressively for many hands, but your goal must be to play conservatively and take less risks as time goes on. Play only the best hands and avoid going all-in unless you have the nuts.
In the initial stages of the tournament, you’ll come across all kinds of players – reckless, fish as well as sharks. The idea at this stage is to gather as many chips as you can by preying on the weaker opponents. Deeper in the game, it will be much more difficult to take away chips from a stronger players. It’s best to avoid gambling away your chips, since you have a lot to lose in the initial stages of the tournament. The flop of course is an early table alternate strategy – raise pre-flop to instill the thought of a good hand in weaker player’s heads, then bet the flop looking for a fold and rake in their chips.
Mid-Stage Tournament Strategy
A large chunk of the playing field is gone by the time the tournament reaches the middle stages of play. The situation has now changed up a bit and you need to adjust your play. The blinds and the antes are increasingly higher compared to the average stack size. You might have to invest a larger portion of your chips to call a raise during this stage, so here you should be the one making the bets and raises, not the calls.
There comes a time when just a few players would need eliminating so as to reach the money-paying spots known as the bubble. Playing on the bubble requires close monitoring of the stack sizes, both yours as well as those of your opponents. If you have a big stack, you are less likely to be contested so it’s easier to pick up a number of small pots. Other players with smaller stack sizes would not like to risk busting out with the money so close at hand. Once the bubble bursts, all players will try to stack as many chips as possible in order to make it to the final table.
The Final Table
At the final table, although the stack sizes are important, you must be focused on the opponents’ style of play. Play more aggressive poker at the final stage, aiming at the top-most positions which will get you the largest share of the prize pool. Contest with those opponents who seem most likely to reach the money payout positions at the table.
Put the pressure on your opponents with your raises, provided you have a good hand. A face card is worth a raise and an Ace, King or a pair may be considered as an all-in hand. If you do have such a hand, go all-in. You have much to gain – possibly a chance to steal a few blinds, a large sum at this late stage of the tournament, or even sweep a couple of pots.
In the End…
Multi-table tournament strategy entails adjusting to the various levels of play that come up during the game. Your whole approach should be geared to reaching the final table. Each player will have his or her own way of achieving this goal of reaching the final table with some variation to the above mentioned tactics. Although this is a proven strategy, poker players need to read the situation and act accordingly. It isn’t a nice feeling to bust out during the later stages of play, but you are sure to make long term profits if you reach the final stages of the tournament more often.
This article gives only a basic idea how to deal with multi-table tournament play and tips to last longer at the tables. Occasionally you might want to take some risks, but follow the general strategy to avoid blowing out your stack of chips at the beginning itself. The best online poker for free in the US for multi-table tournaments is FreePoker.net.