High Stakes MTT Strategy

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High Stakes MTT Strategy:

The difference between NL50 and NL200 cash games is palpable.  So it should be of no surprise that the quality and difficulty of high stakes MTTs is very different to low stakes tournaments.   In MTT poker strategy there are a number of things you should realise before playing higher stakes poker tournaments ($200 buy-in and above).   The education of players is much higher, which means many basic principles of abc tournament strategy won’t be effective.  The following article will cover some of these.

Differences Between High Stakes & Low Stakes Tournamants

Blind Stealing is More Common.  Blind stealing happens a lot more in earlier levels of high stakes MTTs.  Usually players consider blind stealing at early stages of MTTs pointless  because  the blinds are too small to provide value at this level:  represent about 1-3% of your total chipstack.  In high stakes tournaments however, more players will raise in middle and early position and bluff more pots.  If you belong to an active tournament forum you’ll no doubt have heard sayings such as “the re-steal is the new steal” and “the 4bet is the new 3bet”.   This is an example of high stakes tournament strategy and the greater experience of players.  Many times you’re going to have to be more agressive to bluffs against opponents with less fold equity.

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Slow Playing.  Slow playing and waiting for aggressive players to bluff in MTTs is way more profitable at higher levels ($50+).  Extracting value from premium hands is much more important.  You’ll commonly find in low stakes tournaments players with nothing tend to check the hand.  In MTTs with a buyin of $50 and over however your MTT strategy should include slow playing and setting traps when you hit a monster on the flop.  Slowplaying monster hands can be ill-advised in tournaments with bad players because you’re value shoves and over-raises will still get called by bad players. In high stakes this won’t happen: but players will often jam their chips in after your check if they sense any weakness.

Blind Steals Rebuffed.  blind stealing is harder at higher levels.  More players will push back at you, and you’ll find more of your bluffs caught  or tested out.  Some advice is to keep notes on players early, and also study opponents on your table with MTT tracking software.  The information you obtain from these programs will greatly improve your blind stealing decisions and positional play, and you can bet your opponents will be doing the same for you.

Less Loose Calls.  Players make better optimal calls, so don’t expect someone to call the river with a flushdraw for bad pot odds.  The inclusion of pot odds and value at high stakes MTT strategy level is more obvious. 

Hand Reading.  Hand reading occurs more often at this level.  Tournaments are renowned for bluffing, so it’s quite common to see 3betting or even 4betting happening with poor hands if both player read the other as weak.  Good MTT players will also remember you more, and will probably have MTT tools such as tournament shark running in the background to analyse your skill and ability. 

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