How to Make Deep Runs in MTTs More Often

run deep in mtts

3 minutes

Posted by: Ivan


If you are new to multi-table poker tournaments or you have been playing them for a while but you rarely make deep runs, you may want to read this article.

In the text below, we break down the top adjustments you need to make to your poker tournament strategy to make more deep runs and increase your ROI.

Adjusting Your Play Based on the Stage of the Tournament

While one strategy might work for a whole session of cash games, in tournaments, you need to learn to recognize which stage of play you are in and adjust accordingly.

In most cases, you can determine the stage of the tournament by the average stack size. Early stages are around 50+ BB, middle stages 30 to 50 BB, and late stages are usually under 30 BB.

Based on the stage of the tournament, the first thing that you want to do is increase the level of aggression.

For example, according to some research by UFA, you can play more passively in early stages without hurting your results. As you move to later stages, you can ramp up the aggression.

This is because the later the tournament goes, the lower the stack sizes. This means you will have to play a tighter range of hands but play them aggressively and try to win as many pots as possible without getting to the showdown.

Try To Get Involved in Hands Against Recreational Players

running deep in tournaments

Getting involved in hands with recreational players is a good rule of thumb no matter which poker format you are playing.

In tournaments, this is done the easiest in the early stages for a couple of reasons:

  1. This is the stage of the tournaments with the biggest number of recreational players
  2. This is the stage of the tournament where you will have the biggest number of BBs and even if you lose a pot or two, it probably won’t cost you your tournament life

With this said, you should not try to isolate recreational players by any means as this might lead you to play leveling wars with the regs. Concentrate on calling rather than 3-betting and rely on your post-flop skills to make a difference.

But also be prepared to play a lot of multi-way pots as this is the stage of the tournament in which everyone wants to see the flop.

Don’t Punt Your Stack Away Just Because You Lost a Big Pot

One of the biggest mistakes that poker players new to tournaments make is punting their stack after they lose a big pot.

For example, they have a 100 BB stack, they lose 80 BB in one hand, and then they proceed to go all in with a marginal holding in the next hand thinking that the tournament is over for them anyway.

If you are doing the same, you are making one of the biggest mistakes that you can make when playing this format of poker. Fortunately, this is one of the mistakes that is also the easiest to fix.

With this said, when you do go down to 20 BB, the adjustment that you should make is to play starting hands that can make strong top pairs and avoid playing too many hands which you will have to fold on the flop.

Defend More in The Big Blind

how to run deep in mtts

Another mistake that even more experienced tournament players make is that they don’t defend their big blind nearly as often as they should.

Depending on the structure and the stage of the tournament, in some cases, you will only need around 20% equity to make a good call in the BB. In other words, you should defend your big blind very often.

For example, against opens from late positions, you should be defending (calling + 3-betting) around 40% of your hands.

If you are not sure what your defending frequency is from the big bling, you should either review your hand history or, if you don’t have an access to one, check your starting hand charts.

Make sure that you are defending enough in the BB, especially when it comes to opens from late positions.

Avoid Late Registration

Deeper stacks go in favor of players that have an edge over their opponents because they reduce the impact of luck. So if you think that you have an edge over the field you should avoid late registration.

If you don’t think that you have an edge over the field, you should not be playing in the tournament in the first place, as this will result in a negative ROI. Instead, you should go down in stakes and work on your game.

Registering from the start of the tournament is optimal, but that does not mean that you can’t register late if you think that you have enough of an edge to make it worthwhile.

Ivan Potocki

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