Big MTTs (Multi Table Tournaments) are popular across all of the online poker rooms. Players are attracted to the huge prize pools that build up from the vast number of buy-ins that is accumulated from all of the entrants. These tournaments are especially popular at the lower buy-ins of $5 and $10 where hopefuls with small bankrolls are looking for their opportunity to strike it lucky and walk away with a hefty first prize. These tournaments are always popular in themselves, but there is also a variation where there is a ‘rebuy’ period which does a good job in attracting players that like to gamble.
During the ‘rebuy’ period, players who have been knocked out have the opportunity to buy into the tournament once again for another chance to win. The player does not receive any extra chips; they simply receive the set number of chips that they started with like everyone else. This means that for every player that rebuys into the tournament, the total prize pool increases by one more buy-in. The rebuy period varies from tournament to tournament, but it rarely lasts past the early to mid stages of a tournament. The presence of a rebuy period will have a significant impact on the strategy that you employ during a MTT.
At the start of the tournament, the strategy that you use is dependant on whether or not you have a big enough bankroll to buy in to the tournament again if you have been knocked out. The rebuy period is usually pretty crazy, with players being knocked out and doubling up all around you. So the main aim at this point is for to find you a nice spot to double up in with the smallest of risks of being knocked out. The last thing you want is to leave the rebuy period with a tiny stack in relation to the average chip stack around you, as you will be leaving yourself as an easy target to get knocked out.
If you do have numerous buy-ins that you are happy to spend in this single tournament, then it is not too bad of an idea to take a few coin flips to try and double up, but always try and have the upper hand each time by being the one to go all-in instead of the one calling (this increases fold equity). But remember to not buy back in if most the other players in the tournament have bigger stacks than they started with, because you will be setting yourself at a big disadvantage by buying in with a smaller stack. Just wait for another tournament. However, if you only have the one buy-in to play with, you should be a little more cautious and only get your chips in when you feel that you are at least a 75% favourite. It is not essential that you double up during this period, but it should be at the forefront of your mind. It is not going to be much use grinding out a few extra chips here and there whilst every other player is doubling up at another player’s expense.
After the rebuy period we are usually entering the mid stages of the tournament. You will notice a very rapid decline in the number of loose and wild plays, because players will now be realising that any bad calls or bets could mean the end of their tournament life. At this point we can start to play our normal poker game because our opponents will now have the fear of being permanently knocked out, which was not present in the early stages. The chip stacks are usually still quite generous in relation to the blinds, so we will have a decent amount of room to make plays. Try to take advantage of the fact that some players will be overly afraid of being knocked out, by stealing their blinds and bluffing at the occasional pot, whilst still exercising some caution at the same time.
At the later stages of the tournament the blinds become very big in relation to the size of the stacks. This makes it very difficult to make any plays on our opponents, and any actions that we make are reduced to all-in or fold situations. Always remember that your opponents are just as afraid as you of being knocked out of the tournament from making a bad call, so don’t be afraid to push all in if you have a decent hand. Try to be a little constructive and steal blinds if necessary, but this can only be effective if your all-in or raise is large enough to force your opponent to fold a weak/mediocre hand. If the blinds are 500/1000 and you make an all-in push from the button with 1200, there is little to no chance that the player will button will fold, because he is being given odds to call the extra 200 even if he has a terrible hand. So be aware of your stack size and the stack sizes around you when deciding whether or not to make a bluff or steal the blinds.
There are many points to consider whilst playing in a big MMT, as the dynamics are constantly changing as players are being knocked out and as the blinds increase. Many players participate in these tournaments for fun, but it is perfectly possible to be able to make a decent amount of money if you play them with a good strategy in mind. The tips above give a rough guideline to the aspects you should consider when taking part in an MTT, so bear them in mind next time you play and use the information to your advantage. However, nothing beats trial and error, so get out there and practice!