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MTT Flop Percentages

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What’s Your MTT Flop Percentage?

The biggest mistake weak players in MTTs make is calling to see the flop too often or not pre-flop raising enough. The question  is what is a good flop percentage in tournaments?  It’s true in cash games you should be averaging to see a  flop percentage of about 30% (percentage of times you call to see the flop for each hand dealt), however tournaments are not cash games.

In tournaments and MTT strategy this figure needs to be much lower.  You should aim for a flop percentage of about 10-15% in the early-mid stages, and 15 – 20% in the middle to late stages.  Calling the flop in tournaments should take into account a few important factors: your position, characteristics of your table, and your hands. 

Position in my opinion is the most important factor.  From late position you’ll often receive better odds for calling the flop because you’ll have the most information on your table at each round.  You should also be blind stealing and limping more from the CO so you’re bound to see more flops.  In Early position and the blinds,  MTT players make the worst decisions and call the flop too often.  To defend your blinds properly, you need to raise or fold an open-raiser from SB and BB.  Flat-calling normally gives you negative EV because you have to act first on all future streets.

If you’ve not started using professonional MTT tools such as tournament indicator then you should do so now.  These tools let you view everyones VPIP% (how often they see the flop), which in turn allows you to adjust to each player’s playing style.  During the early stages of a tournament a typical TAG will have a VPIP% below 10%.  This is ok considering we want to play tight in the early stages, but once the middle stages begin you should be seeing a VPIP% up to 20%.  Anything less than this means you have room to improve.

Why Do Bad MTT Players Have a Higher Flop Percentage in Tournaments?

There are two logical reasons in my opinion why bad players have a higher flop percentage in tournaments. 

  • The first reason is that they want to hit a monster.  New players don’t like to risk their entire tournament stack on just a few hands, so they try to counter this risk by getting involved in as many pots as possible.  The rational of a bad player is that the more flops he/she sees, the higher the chance of hitting a very strong hand and trapping a large number of players.  While it’s true this will yield a big payoff, the number of hands required to do this will make your stack so small that by the time you make a hand you’re winnings won’t be as big as you thought.  This type of play requires a much bigger stack than that given at the start of MTTs to deal with the variance.
  • The second reason for this high flop percentage in bad players is because their starting hand range is bad.  Particularly in the early stages of tournaments you should only consider calling to see the flop with premium hands most the time.  This includes AK, AQ, AJ (late position), pocket pairs and suited connectors from late position.  The fact bad players don’t fold hands outside this range leads to a higher flop percentage – which bleeds chips.

Your Flop Percantage Should Change as You Progress in the Tournament

As you progress through the tournament to the middle and later stages your flop percentage should increase.  This is because in the middle and later stages of the tournament you should be opening up your starting hand range to include things like pocket pairs and raising in middle position with suited connectors or A10 from late position on a dry board.  From the middle stages we should have a VPIP% above 15% and once we make it to the final table and the game becomes short-handed we should see our flop percentage rise to even 20% or more. 

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