Friday, April 28, 2006

How to Dodge the Low Level MTT Donkeys

I'm not really much of a Multi-Table Tournament player. I'm too tight, afraid to bluff into the nuts, always coming from a small stack. My cash cow is ring games, but I have had some moderate success at low level SNGs. "Low Level" being the key, I just let the morons take each other out and then shift gears to hopefully take advantage of a tight table image. If I can tight my way into the money or heads up, I like my chances no matter what the chip stacks are.

I have had some limited success in MTTs, in fact I have profited overall from them. But I feel like I have to get lucky to get to the final table. At least one major suckout is required, or you have to win WAY above 50% of your coin tosses, which is essentially the same as a suckout.

So when I play MTTs I limit myself to the $10, $20 and $26 tournaments, mostly on or Full Tilt Poker. Party has tons of tournaments at that level, but you have to commit to 4 or 5 hours of poker if you make the final table, and you'll need to beat over a thousand players to get there. At Full Tilt Poker you will only face a couple of hundred, and at you will see even less. I just don't see investing a lot of time and bankroll into a chance to get lucky. It's too much like playing the lottery. Why do that when the cash games are a sure thing?

Because they're fun, that's why. The prospect of a big score is fantasy inducing, but at the $10 level against 200 or so opponents, even a "big score" isn't very thrilling. Final table will usually get you around $100, and winning can only net you $1000. Not that a grand is something to sneeze at, but if you're going to invest so much time and effort and play enough to increase your chances to "get lucky," you'd like a big score to be a BIG SCORE.

One answer is satellites. A low buy in of $5-$10 can usually get you an entry into something humongous, like a WSOP main event seat or a $200,000 guarantee tournament. But I am not a big fan of satellites where the payout structure is so top heavy. You can't plod along with a small chip stack, hoping to double up occasionally to hang on compared to the average chip amount. You have to be out there slinging chips, taking big risks and hopefully building a stack that will propel you into one of the top two or three spots. And that just isn't my style.

Yoyo seems to have come up with the perfect compromise for me. The Teir one and Tier two token SNGs on Full Tilt Poker. For a $4+.40, $6+.60 or $8+.80 tournament you can win a $26 token fairly easily. In the 18 player matches they pay out 4 or 5 tokens, with a decent save for fifth and sixth place. And getting into the top 4 or 5 is genuinely EASY. Getting to the final table is a simple matter of letting the morons beat on each other till they are all gone, then it's a STT where 6 out of 9 make money.

I played at $8+.80 Turbo 18-player and I won a $26 token by playing only ONE HAND TO SHOWDOWN. My AK vs J2 I had covered, he called all in pre-flop. Flop was A22, but I rivered a K high flush. Best hand found a way to win. From there I let the donkeys panic because of the turbo blinds and boom, I had my token.

The next level is a $26 18-player Tier two where the top 5 win a $75 token. The play was considerably tighter and much improved over the $8 turbo, but I hit some big hands and took the chip lead. I only made one "mistake" when I played Ace-Ten vs Jack-Queen with a medium stack. I thought I could push him off of it because he limped fromthe small blind, but he called all-in pre-flop. He rivered the straight and I was in a small amount of trouble, but I doubled through a few hands later and cruised into the top 5, securing the $75 token.

So now I can play in a slightly larger buy-in tournament, hopefully mitigating the donkey play a little bit. And I am basically only risking the $8+.80 that I bought into the Tier one with.

I have to admit I was completely wrong and Yoyo was completely right on this one. My argument was that instead of playing for tokens you can just pay for cash and buy into the bigger tournaments with the cash, or just keep it. It's more flexible that way, and the money and the fees are all the same anyway. But what I hadn't realized was that the token tournaments are SO EASY to win. The competition is horrendous and the play in the end game is ludicrous. You often see two big stacks battle on the bubble, when neither of them has anything to gain but everything to lose.

Between the two of us we have played around 10 and won tokens in maybe eight of them, usually without much effort. Maybe we have just been getting lukcy, but if you play them smart, I don't think the expected win rate to be much lower than 60-65%. Thanks Yoyo!

(Bonus points to those who get why the picture applies.)


Nick Christy said...

Going to have to try them out. One thing you should look into is NoblePokers MTT. You can usually get into a $50, $10k guaranteed MTT. In those you will battle out with about 150 people and first place is usually a decent payout. In fact, they have a lot of guaranteed tournaments, most of them are rebuys and it makes it a bit more tricky. If you are willing to push early with decent hands you can usually fold into the money in those though. Most people push with almost any hand just because it is a rebuy tourny.

Garthmeister J. said...

Dude... it's token!

DuggleBogey said...

Duggle don't do rebuys. They require a level of looseness that I'm just not comfortable with.

dlk9s said...

Hi Token!

Bloody P said...

"I just let the morons take each other out and then shift gears to hopefully take advantage of a tight table image."

Ding Ding Ding Ding!!!!

We have a winner!!!

People in low level SnGs are terrible. I usually spend the first 20 minutes-30 minutes folding, waiting for a monster and letting the really bad players knock each other out.

THEN it's time to play real poker. A tight table image and halfway decent cards will go a long way.

Nice post, yo.

Isn't that the token black kid on South Park?

Veneno said...

Now you just need to score in the MTT. Good luck!!!