When players first start competing in online multi table poker tournaments it is normally on one of the major sites, with a low buy-in, a field of thousands competing for a first prize of a couple of hundred dollars and a deep payout structure.
Poker sites like providing these sorts of games, as it encourages the many hundreds of players who get into the prize money to try and try again – or even to enter tournaments with a higher buy-in level and fewer opponents to overcome.
For the social player, spending three or four hours playing poker to make a marginal profit might be acceptable, but if you want to really make money playing in online multi table poker tournaments, you should aim for a finishing position on the final table at worst. When you are up against five thousand or more players with the same intention, these tips will help you reach your goal.
Stay out of the early action – Unless you are holding an absolutely top hand in late position, you should never consider getting involved in the early action. A lot of players believe that it is essential to make a healthy start to a tournament, but while the blinds are not eating away at your stack there is no point in taking risks. Let the maniacs have their way during the first three or four rounds and take only the best opportunities to double up against them. You will soon find that half the field has gone without you being involved in very much action at all.
Study, study, study – With so many players departing from the game early, you may consider that putting a lot of effort into studying your opponents is pointless. However, it is the other players who are biding their time that you need to focus on as they will be the ones you are more likely to meet in the endgame. Even if it doesn´t happen in this multi table poker tournament, your notes may come in useful in future events. So, look out for players who prefer to slow play, defend their blinds or any other action which defines their predictability. It may help you make marginal decisions later in the game.
Don´t obsess about the bubble – The only reason that you need to know when the bubble is approaching is because all players tighten up when a multi table poker tournament reaches this stage. You can use this general constriction to your advantage by attacking the short-stacked players and stealing more blinds. Now is the time to take risks and elevate yourself up the leaderboard – if you get busted out now, you might have lost your stake and a premium of (say) 25% on your buy-in, but is that really what you entered a low level multi table poker tournament to achieve?
Give yourself enough time – This is one of the most important aspects of playing in an online multi table poker tournament. It may take three or four hours to reach the bubble, and then three or four hours more for a game with a field of thousands to reach its conclusion. If you are starting a game at 8.00pm in the evening, you could well be looking at a 3.00am finish before you have achieved your goal. Be prepared for the long haul and focus on the end result you want.
It is not only the freerolls and tournaments with low budget buy-ins that attract large fields of players. The PokerStars weekly $¼ Million guaranteed event has a $10.00 + $1.00 buy-in and regularly attracts fields in excess of twenty thousand players. As it does not start until 8.30pm on a Sunday, you might want to advise your boss that you will be late for work on Monday if you intend playing in this large field!