Multi-table tournaments are becoming more and more popular all over the world. The possibility of playing several hands simultaneously not only allows players to diversify their strategies and compete for a bigger prize: it also allows them to test their concentration, skills and agility.
But there are a number of aspects that should be taken into account. To help you understand the basics of MTT tournaments, we’ve put together a brief overview of the most important technical aspects of multi-table poker tournaments.
Table types in multi-table tournaments
Newcomers to MTT tournaments are often unaware that there are up to four different types of tables in what we understand to be multi-table tournaments. These tables are referred to as games: typical games (normal tables), tough games (high raise tables with few players, which are usually tight and aggressive), loose game passive, (tables with many players but little preflop raise), and loose game aggressive (tables with many players and a lot of preflop raise).
The type of game (or table) influences the outcome of the game. A whole range of possibilities opens up to the player, as an optimal strategy for one table may be a terrible strategy for another. This is crucial to understanding the basics of MTT games.
The first thing to do when you enter a table is to be aware of the position you are in. That will be the determining factor in how we start working on our game. This position must be analyzed based on the type of table: are we in a tough or loose game, aggressive or passive? Answer yourself, and from there start your game.
The issue of pot types is also important in multi-table tournaments. Are we talking about a multi-player pot, a shorthanded pot, or a shorthanded pot?
A pot is considered multiplayer when there are three or more villains in it. If a hand is multiplayer, it fits in with speculative plays that require high odds, leaving slow-plays and bluffs behind.
What might be a good hand may not be worth playing if the odds are not met. Taking too much risk for too little gain is something you shouldn’t do. Always maintaining a balance between risk and reward is important in determining what kind of hands you play and which ones may not pay off.
If there are two villains or less in the pot, then we are talking about a shorthanded pot. Short hands are ideal for big cards, aggressive players, bluffs and semi-bluffs, as well as slowplays.
Obviously, your game will change depending on how many villains are in the pot. This is something you should consider before playing your hands, assessing the risk of your plays.
Most common profiles
Let’s talk about the most common player profiles in multi-table tournaments. The way to designate the different roles a player can adopt has to do with the adjectives used to designate the different types of tables.
Thus, we speak of loose-passive players (also known as calling station), loose-aggressive players (LAG), tight-passive and tight-aggressive (TAG). We can also talk about pre- and post-flop players, whose figure becomes important in no-limit multi-table tournaments.
- Loose-passive / calling station players. They are characterized by their wide range of starting cards. They tend to almost always call, avoiding the raise. On the river, if they have nothing to go with, they leave, and if they decide to go, they end up losing. They seem to be born to lose.
- Loose-aggressive / LAG players. They tend to hold a wide range of starting cards, but play more aggressively. They always take the initiative. If no one bets, they bet. If you call, they raise. They’re always trying to bust you, always on top, always ahead. They’re easy to get caught.
- Tight-passive players. Their starting card range is more restrained. They hate to speculate, and are much more selective with their cards. That’s exactly what should make you shudder if they raise: it means they really have something strong to beat you with.
- Tight-aggressive / TAG players. These are the kind of players who hardly ever play, but when they do, they really play. They go all-in the times they go all the way, and it almost always works out well for them. Their initial card range is very narrow, but their selective and aggressive play makes them a kind of poker gazelle.
- Preflop players. In no-limit Hold’em games, these are the players who tend to hold their all-in play preflop.
- Postflop players. They are easy to recognise because they bet on every street.
The importance of odds in multi-table tournaments
When we talk about odds, we refer to the options that exist, for and against, that something can happen. Poker, as the game of probability that it is, relies heavily on the management of odds to shape strategies and know the possibility of winning a hand based on the data collected from other players and your cards.
In any form of poker, in any kind of tournament and in any kind of game, odds have a lot to say. Obviously, in an MTT tournament, odds management is also crucial. But we can talk about pot odds, implied odds, which are calculated by dividing the total amount you can hope for in a pot by the amount of chips you put in that same pot, and even reverse implied odds.