Tournament Strategy Aspects

I suppose you all noticed that whenever you're reading the review of an online poker room,
and you get to the section that details traffic, you find that there are many more people playing in tournaments
than at cash tables.

The reasons are multiple: on one hand, tournaments are simply more interesting than cash games,
on the other, they offer a reduced rake (much like a rakeback deal) and they give players better odds.

Why is it so? You pay less rake in tournaments, because you only pay a one-time tournament fee,
which allows you to play as many hands as it takes to win or to drop out of a tourney.
In cash games, the rake is taken on every single hand,
thus tournaments do offer a bigger bang for your buck any day.

Cash games only reward winners. You need to win in order to accumulate money, there's no way out of that.
Tournaments reward several people who manage to finish in the money (ITM).

In cash games, differences are often made on factors that have nothing to do with poker skill.
If a person comes into the game well-bankrolled, he/she will probably dominate the game on account of this fact alone.
In poker tournaments, everyone starts with an equal number of chips.
The fact that by the closing stages, some people clearly dominate others,
only means that they were more skilled and thus rightfully deserve the edge.

In conclusion: Yes indeed, tournaments are certainly where you should play if you're going for value.
They may be a bit of a far cry from a cash-game's instant gratification,
but they definitely protect your real money bankroll more.

If you do decide to get into some bankroll-building via online poker tournaments,
there are a few things you'll have to take into account.
There are two basic types of tourneys, MTTs and STTs also knows as SNGs.

MTT stands for Multi Table Tournament, and that exactly what these tourneys are about:
massive numbers of participants fighting it out over several hours at multiple tables.
STTs are Single Table Tournaments, or Sit'n Go tournaments.
This structure will have you going up against a mere table-full of opponents,
with the number of ITM places depending on the number of participants (2, 6, 10 or more).

MTTs feature several (possibly tens of) ITM places,
but you'll probably need to beat several hundred players to reach one of these positions.
One of the biggest advantages that any kind of tournament offers over cash
games is that you get to impose your strategy over the fish in the long run.
Thus you deprive them of the short term edge they have on you because of the variance.
Well, in MTTs it's all like a little bit too much of the good stuff.
Certainly, you do get to push your edges over several hours of play-time,
but during that time you'll come under constant attack and you'll be faced with several 50-50 situations.
That means, at the end of the day, to win a MTT, you need not only skill but a lot of luck as well.

STTs do give you the possibility to let your strategy sink in too, and they don't have you going up
against a numerically overwhelming foe either.
After all, you only need to best 9 players (in case you're in a 10 handed STT) to win
and only 7 to nearly double up your buy-in.

Heads-up STTs are also a good way to revive a seriously ailing bankroll.
There's good value in tem, because despite their pace, they do not cost you more in rake,
and you only need to beat a single guy to double up.


Flush Fever

Last Updated 16 October 2018
Tournament Strategy