8 quick-fire tips for crushing MTTs

Looking for a quick fix for your tournament game? Rob Sherwood has eight tips to help you crush MTTs

1. Starting out

In the opening levels of an MTT you should be looking to play postflop and get involved with any player you believe will overplay top pair. Look to play in pots with suited connectors and see cheap flops early on. As a rule of thumb, you should be playing 20% of hands to be perceived as loose and 13% as tight.

2. Play back

If you’re getting three-bet and four-bet early on, calling won’t always damage your stack. Say you’ve got 15,000 and the blinds are 25/50. A typical opening raise will be to 150 and a three-bet should be to 450. To call you’ve only got to risk 3% of your stack, and the implied odds are so great that you can afford to play a lot of hands.

3. Bluffer’s market

The stronger the field you’re playing against, the more you should be looking to bluff. Weak players are always looking to call you down, so in weak fields you should be looking to bet for value a lot more and bluff a lot less.

4. Less is more

Over the past few years the standard raise size has got a lot smaller. If I’m open-raising I’ll make it just over 2BB, slightly more than a min-raise. That way I don’t give away the strength of my hand. And if you’re playing loose you can start raising hands like 7♣-5♣, hands that are disguised, so that when you hit your cards you’re likely to win a big pot.

5. No fear

When I first got into playing live poker, if there were people I recognised from TV I was definitely a lot more timid in pots. But don’t be intimidated by anyone. Everyone starts with the same number of chips and the same number of cards, so don’t be afraid to look silly. Winning is everything in poker and if someone is capable of bluffing you can’t be afraid to come back over the top.

6. Musical chairs

Switching tables is one of the toughest things in tournament poker, live or online. When you get moved to a table full of unknowns, just play your cards for the first eight hands or so. Get a feel for how many pots each player is getting involved in and more importantly who’s being the aggressor. Have a good look at the chipstacks and then wait for the right spot to play back.

7. Ship it

The mistake a lot of live players make is getting way too short-stacked before making their move. Whenever you start dropping below 20BB you should be looking to shove against aggressive open-raisers and stop waiting for premium hands. Look to move all-in, in position, with suited connectors, any two Broadway cards or small pairs.

8. Final fight

Practise heads-up sit-and-gos if you want to give yourself an advantage in the later stages of MTTs. I play these regularly and always feel when I get down to the final two of any event, online or live, that I have an edge over my competitor.

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