Multi Table Tournament Strategy

Multi Table Tournaments have gained massive popularity during the past couple of years following the World Series of Poker success on ESPN, the Travel Channel's World Poker Tour, and the Million Dollar Cruise. They represent a quick route to major money, where one win can net hundreds of thousands of dollars. So what is the best strategy to follow when participating in a Multi Table Tournament online? While there is no magic strategy that will insure money finishes every time, there are a few solid strategies out there that can vastly improve your chances. The strategy outlined below is one that has shown proven results. Several players have went from non-cashing players to their first ever multi table tournament win after one attempt, while many have tried it with little success. Again, there is no guarantee, but a good plan is better than no plan at all.

Early Stages of the Tournament

Your play should be characterized as very very tight. Some authors suggest only playing three hands, AA, KK and QQ, and to push all in with them immediately as opposed to slow playing and trapping. The reason for the tight play is to avoid busting out to one of the many loose "dead money" players who are playing practically any two cards. Do not waste chips on draw type hands or even low pairs, and do not attempt to steal blinds as they are too low to be worth stealing. Play premium cards only and play them aggressively. I am not saying you should limit yourself to only 3 hands, but your play should definitely be tight enough that someone would think you were in perpetual "early position" where almost every hand is folded. You can't win the tournament in the first hour, but you can surely lose it!

Middle Stages

The middle stages, after a good 25% of the field is gone is where we begin to loosen up. We are looking to build our chip stack during this stage. Hopefully the cards will cooperate of course, but the blinds are now worth the occasional bluff attempt, and you have built up a "rock" image for yourself which gives an even better chance for your bluffs to work. If at any point you should be willing to gamble, this is the stage. We do not want to pray that we blind our way into the short money, we want to be a force at the final table, and the only way to get there is to win chips now! Play solid poker, bluff more than you normally would in a ring game, and pressure those short stacks. As the field narrows and other players can smell the money, they will often lock up, playing weak tight and folding to any aggression. Use this to your advantage. One note of caution: tend to avoid confrontations with big stacks, unless you have a good hand. They have the chips to call you down and probably will during these stages.

Final Table

With good play and a little luck, we have made it to the final table with at least an average amount of chips. At this point chip strength is much more important than card strength. Follow the same strategy of pressuring smaller stacks while avoiding confrontations with large stacks. Every player knocked out is more money in your pocket. The blinds force us into a raise or fold strategy here with big cards and pairs. It is too expensive to limp with speculative hands unless we have a huge chip stack. If you are a short stack at this point, you have two options. Either play meekly and hope for a huge premium pair to double up with and other small stacks to bust out or play for a win and shove your chips in aggressively with the first pair or big card hand that comes your way. For one, the opponents may fold winning you the blinds and a free trip around the table, or you may double up and actually have a shot. Other small stacks are almost sure to fold because they are hoping desparately that a large stack will call and put you out, increasing their finish position by one. For this reason, you can feel more comfortable going all in if most of the big stacks have folded and only small and average stacks are left to act.

If you make it to a heads up situation, you must stay aggressive. If you call, check and fold your opponent needs only to put slight pressure on you and he is almost assured a win. Put the pressure on him, with your own raises. Any face card is generally worth a raise, and any Ace, King or pair can be considered an all in hand. Most hands are won preflop and will be won by the aggressor. Be that aggressor! The only time you should look to limp is with a premium pair with the intention to trap. In this case you should give the other player a chance to bluff at the pot and then nail him for a good portion of his chips.

In conclusion, this strategy is a proven strategy, having won players alot of money. Again, it is not the only winning strategy employed. One perfect setting to try this strategy or your own variation is in freerolls. If you have a successful multi-table strategy or come across one, we would love to include it in our Multi-Table Strategy section, so feel free to submit it!

Like playing tournaments? Be sure to also check out our Single Table Tournament Strategy and Freeroll Tournament Strategy articles!