Tips For Beating Low-Stakes MTTs

Check out our strategy for low-stakes MTTs

Every poker player begins their career somewhere, and low-stakes MTTs are a common starting point. Hundreds of these tournaments take place in the online poker world every day, and they are a great place to cut your teeth.

We are talking about tournaments costing between $1 and $11 when discussing low-stakes MTTs. These games are the most common, and every online poker site hosts them. It does not mean you cannot win big in these games just because they are cheap to enter, far from it. Some low-stakes MTTs have six-figure guaranteed prize pools, giving you the chance to win big for a small investment.

Bankroll Management For Low-Stakes MTTs

First things first, let us briefly touch on bankroll management. Many players frequenting low-stakes MTTs do so purely for fun, which means bankroll management is not needed. They buy into a handful of tournaments, and if they cash, they cash, but it is not the end of the world to see that money disappear into the ether.

Others take these games far more seriously, almost like a stepping stone to higher stakes. Treating every session professionally reaps the rewards later down the line.

Low-stakes MTTs usually have a larger number of entrants, which increases your variance. The majority of the players in these games, however, are not very good. A bankroll of 100 buy-ins is recommended for this level. A buy-in is the total cost of entering the tournament, so $1,100 if you want to play $10+$1 events regularly.

Observations From Early Stages of Low-Stakes MTTs

The early stages of low-stakes MTTs resemble a free-for-all. Players move all-in around you, believing an early double-up stands them in good stead for the victory. You cannot win a tournament early on, but you can lose one.

A tight-aggressive approach is best for the early stages of low-stakes MTTs. Do not worry about turning down a small +EV spot early because your opponents will make plenty of mistakes throughout your grind.

That said, be prepared to go all the way with hands such as aces, kings, and ace-king if you have someone crazy moving all-in early doors. Furthermore, you can consider making your opening raises larger with powerhouse hands in the hope someone will get out of line and shove on you. The same principle applies to your three-betting sizes.

Be Observant and Punish The Weak

The money bubble is a crucial time in any poker tournament. It is especially so in low-stakes MTTs. Players in these games simply want to cash, while the better players go all out for the win.

This leads to weaker players doing everything they can not to bust. They are happy with a min-cash, so fold like an origami expert and only ever raise with the nuts. Take advantage of the players wanting to limp into the money places. Attack them if they are in the blinds; just bully them, really. They will happily hand over their chips with little to no resistance, boosting your stack.

It is a similar story on the final table bubble. There is a prestige about reaching a final table, plus that is where the biggest prizes are, so many players clam up and hope to fold their way to the finale. Again, take full advantage of this lack of aggression. Build your stack to give you the best chance of winnings.

When At The Final Table

The stack sizes of your opponents will be different when you reach the final table. There tend to be one or two big stacks, a couple in the middle, then a few short-stacks. What usually happens is the big stack bullies the rest of the table. Low-stakes MTTs players, in particular, often overdo this and get out of line.

Be aggressive at the final table, but control that aggression. Be observant and do not get involved in pots unnecessarily. It is good to look into ICM because your opponents will not, or most will not. Knowing ICM makes it easier to understand when to move all-in, when to fold, and when not to get involved at all.

Always play for the win once you are at the final table. Each ladder up the payouts at the final table is significant, so allow opponents to knock each other out if need be. For example, if two shorter stacked players are all-in, much those pocket tens and let one of them bust.

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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