Online poker players know that large-scale MTTs (in which thousands of people play) offer the best potential ROI for disciplined and extremely deep-bankrolled players. The discipline is needed to tide the player through the wild variance psychologically, and the bankroll, to do the same financially. There are countless poker strategy articles out there detailing the two possible approaches to such large-scale MTTs, because – make no mistake – you need to decide which of these approaches you want to take before you read into strategic details.
There are essentially two types of MTT players: those whose aim is to make the money. By making the money, these guys will not only make certain they don’t lose their buy-ins, they will also squeeze some profit out of the whole thing. The approach works for many, after all, once the money bubble is behind them, these guys can focus on attempting to win the tournament too. There’s only one problem: by focusing too much on making it past the magic milestone, they will deprive themselves of a bunch of strategic opportunities that could later guarantee them a much deeper run, and that could possibly even clinch victory for them. The other type of player – also called by some of the experts a ‘fox’ – has only one goal in mind: winning the tournament. Being a fox means that one will have to deal with a much more vicious variance than the ‘farmers’ described above. He will finish many more MTTs falling outside the money than the ‘farmer’ will, but when he does make it past the bubble, he’s likely to generate much more profit than the meek farmers.
It would be ludicrous to assume that while his goal is to win events, the fox will indeed get to win many of them. His approach however will allow him to survive a lot longer inside the money than the farmer and therefore he will end up with more profit, despite the increased variance. Experts usually recommend the ‘fox’ kind of approach as the optimal one.
The nail in the ‘farmers’’ coffin is hammered in by the cash game fallacy of manufacturing winning streaks. We are all aware how winning streaks are manufactured in cash games: the protagonist sticks it out regardless of how bad he’s playing, until he finishes his session with a minor profit, so he can soothe and encourage himself knowing he has yet again come out on top. The MTT farmer approach is basically the same mechanism in action. One settles for min cash time and time again only to avoid the variance and to be able to sleep soundly knowing that he’s not a loser. Breaking news: from not being a loser there’s quite a dash to being a highly profitable player. That distance can only be bridged by doing away with the variance-aversion and by getting the money into the middle. As they say: it takes money to make money and nowhere has this been more valid than in MTT poker.
Signing up for a rake rebate deal (which will return a set percentage of the MTT tournament fees to the player) is never a bad idea. Check out some of the online poker forums to learn about the best MTTs and the most generous rakeback deals.