Multi Table Tournaments
Knowing a bit of online poker Multi Table Tournament strategy can be extremely important, in light of the fact that - according to pros - tournaments are where the money is at and not ring games. A tight ring game at an online poker room will have you grinding for hours on end, yielding only a small profit-margin, while tournaments can provide a lot of bang for your buck, in a relatively short amount of time.
Ring games will have you pushing small edges, considering rake, calculating rakeback and so on. Tournaments are home-run games. You're no longer out there to put the same tiny edge to work time and again, but rather to make a kill in one nicely executed and coordinated poker-effort.
The first thing you should know about tournament strategy is, that it's completely different from what you may have become accustomed to at the ring-tables.
I've read somewhere that a ring game is a short and intense sprint, while a tournament is a marathon - and to this very day I think this is one of the best descriptions anybody's ever made about the contrast between ring games and tournaments.
Good ring game players often find themselves surprised at how fast they are depleted in an MTT and how - seemingly weaker players - manage to knock them out. The fact that you are a good ring player doesn't mean that you'll fare well in a MTT too.
Nowadays, every poker room out there offers a host of freerolls and other promotions involving MTTs. Most of the real buyin MTTs attract huge crowds of players, and this makes winning one of these tournaments pretty difficult. There are three stages to a MTT: the beginning, the middle stages and the ITM stage ( ITM = In The Money). Each and every one of these stages requires a different approach in terms of strategy.
In the beginning you want to keep a low profile and play things extra tight, for a couple of reasons. First you need to get rid of the maniacs: bad players ( or good players acting weird) who can easily have you eliminated if you get drawn into the game they want you to play.
There are two kinds of maniacs: the first one is the clueless type. These guys can't play and all they want to do is ruin the tournament for some unfortunate victim. They repeatedly go all in preflop and sooner or later they burry themselves. All you need to do is wait it out.
Belonging to the second class of maniacs are the good poker players who decide to act aggressive in the opening stages of a tournament in the hopes of getting lucky and building up a sizeable bankroll. These guys will later settle down, and start showing their usual play. They are the more dangerous of the two.
What can you do to counteract these maniacs? Play extra tight, but do act on really solid starting hands. Maniacs have a tendency to beat themselves and there's nothing wrong in lending them a little hand at it.
The middle stages of the tourney will have you faced with one of the best-known poker dilemmas: the big bankroll will swallow the smaller one. Assuming that you've already accumulated a formidable stack just by helping maniacs out of the game, all you need to do is play it steady. You need to become looser though. In case you failed to stack up on the maniacs, this is the time to do something about it, or you may not be around long enough to see any of the third stage...
If you do reach the ITM stage, you really need to turn things on. Acting aggressively and bullying the opponents around is the answer here. The going won't get any tougher than it is in the thirds stage so you' better bring it and bring it good. If you ever doubted that money went where the bigger stack was, playing in the final stages of the tournament will definitely shed some much needed light on the matter for you.
The conclusion is, that you can be a successful MTT player by losing 75% of the time. Successful ring players cannot swallow this, and most of the time that's what explains why they're often lousy tournament players.