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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

On-line Multi-Table Tournaments – Part 1

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At most online poker sites, you can enter a host of Multi-Table Tournaments or MTT’s as they are often known. As the name suggests, these are tournaments that are not restricted to a single table; often they are unrestricted or limited only by a pre-determined maximum number of players.

The underlying attraction of this format which the online sites like to promote is the potential for a large reward from a small outlay. The downside of that is the large number of entries that such a prize pool implies. A typical “normal” MTT might look like this:
Fee: $20 + $2
Maximum number of players: 500

The prize pool will comprise the sum total of the $20 fees each player has paid. It will not include the $2 rake. If the maximum of 500 players enter, the prize pool is $10,000 and the house makes $1,000. Very nice work if you can get it!
The prize structure might then be:
1st place 30%
2nd 20%
3rd 15%............
…………and so on down to 40th or 50th.

1st place wins 30% x $10,000 = $3,000, a 136-fold profit on the $22 outlay; hence the attraction.
The remaining 450 players below 50th receive nothing, including the unfortunate “bubble”, the person in 51st or whichever place happens be one below the last paying position. Above that, the next 20 or 30 places receive little more than a fee refund with a bit on top.

That is not the end of it though. The standard MTT merely distributes the money around between players, whilst the house takes a small percentage for putting on the show. This is akin to the roulette table where the “0” represents the $2 fee in this case. The MTT player has to have a good expectation that they can beat the average or they will be wasting their money.

But, before considering the best approach to tackling an MTT, there is something else available if you look in the right places that will help provide some value. That is when a poker room offers an MTT with a Guaranteed Prize Pool!

When you see one of these MTT’s, they are advertised by the minimum size of the prize pool. You should then look at the entry fee excluding the house rake and divide the guaranteed pool by the entry fee. This gives you the number of players that the house needs in the tournament in order to cover the guarantee out of players’ entry fees. If the number of players that register by the scheduled start time is less the number you have calculated, the house has to contribute to the pool to cover the guarantee, at their own cost, effectively from the rakes paid by the players. That provides you and the other players with a monetary edge. The house is subsidising your entry fee, and you should take them up on the offer.

But, you need to go where the value is and that is not usually the big headline sites. The large poker rooms put plenty of advertising muscle behind their guaranteed MTT’s and this enables them to attract sufficient numbers to cover themselves. Yet, because their headline guarantee is large and the winner’s purse also of broadcasting proportions, they can keep the big fees rolling in. But, the value has gone for you, the player.

There are more and more sites offering attractive games and you should be able to find them here at For example, I use a busy platform that offers two guaranteed MTT’s every day. They rarely fill up to the minimum needed for the house to cover itself. There is good value here if you know how to approach the playing side. Never turn down the chance of free value while it lasts!

In my next article on MTT’s, I will look at the playing side more closely to see what is needed to make the final table in an MTT.

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