Multi Table Poker Tournaments

Multi-Table Poker Tournaments
By Hank Cashman of

What is a multi-table tournament? It could be best described as a tournament involving numerous poker players broken down into tables of nine or ten with the amount of tables shrinking as players become eliminated. The last ten players make the “final table” and vie for the top prize.

Multi-table tournaments are fun to play and if done right can be very profitable. You can usually win 10-20 times your investment. Most of these pay out to 9-10 percent of the players. So if you can be in the last 9% you will profit. Now how do you get there?

The big tournaments change as you go. So you have to change also. In the beginning (what a great first line) you have to remember your first objective, survival. This is a great time for you to be very, very tight and aggressive, emphasis on tight.

In these large tournaments you will first notice that players are dropping like flies. The very aggressive players are playing too loose and are being put out so fast. This does build big chip stacks for the players that are left. But, if they continue to play the same way they will eventually give their chips to you.

At this early stage of the game the blinds are low and most pots are small. Take this time to learn your opponents and get a read of the table. When you have a hand go for it but here you should be folding 75% of the time. When you have a big hand make the other guy pay for it but play premium hands.

As the blinds go up and the number of players goes down the pots get bigger and your play needs to adjust accordingly. At this point I still advocate tight aggressive play. You can loosen up some but you are still playing full tables and now you are playing better players. Most of the nuts have already busted and on the rail. Now your goals start to change from survival to prosper. Now is the time that you can really grow your chip stack.

In most of these tournaments they pay out to 9% of the entries. So in a 1,000 player tournament, you will at least get double your buy-in if you go out in 90th place. Your next goal is to get in the money. Here blinds are worth buying and stealing. If the other players are all limping in or checking, get some extra chips by being the first bet. It will usually pay off and build your chip stack.

Once you have made it to the money go for your next goal, get to the final table. Here is when a lot of the players loosen up and get more aggressive. Part of it is that they have reached their goal of cashing. Part of it is them trying to build big chip stacks for the final table. You need to tighten up and keep your head about you.

Now you can start picking out targets. When you are in position, feed on the weak. Find the stacks smaller than yours and push them. They want to get to the next level so they will fold to too much pressure. Keep the pressure on them.

Hopefully you make it to the final table. Now you are in the big money and every place is worth getting. Each payout is about 50% higher than the last. The blinds are huge and the chip lead can change every hand. Be ready to jump on any opportunity to put someone out or bully the rocks. You have played with some of these players along your way to this table. Get a read of the table and adjust your game for each player. Now is the time for you to play your best and be in control of the game.

As players drop off, become more aggressive. You want to move up every step of the prize money. Keep in mind that as the numbers of players fall, the better your hands are. If other players get into a battle, unless you have a good hand, let them fight it out. It doesn’t matter who puts who out. It only matters that someone else leaves the table. You win every time someone else leaves.

When you get down to three players, don’t try for second. Go for first place. The difference in prize money between second and third isn’t much. But, the prize money for first is worth fighting for. Who ever is in contention with you for second place, push him and take his chips until he is gone.

Now heads up is the best poker there is. Cards are irrelevant at this stage of the game. Bet, raise and control the table. You will do best here with a more aggressive style of play.

Keep the cards and chips flying.