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Poker News | Online Poker | News

Big Poker Tournaments on Small Bankrolls

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Grinding out a bankroll, capable of sustaining high limit play, can be a long term project. Although the lower overheads, including rake and tips, help the increased variance experienced at lower levels, it can make the climb out of the lower limits boring, slow and stressful. An occasional shot at higher limits can take giant steps toward a comfortable bankroll, but a loss at a higher level is disastrous. It can take weeks to recover at lower limits.

One way to jump start your bankroll is to play in small satellite tournaments for larger “big money” tournaments, where your bankroll can be increased exponentially. Full Tilt Poker offers a series of Sit & Go tournaments that can help the small player build that bankroll. These tournaments aren't designed to make money. Their prize structure is specifically designed to help the player make it into the bigger tournaments. They even have points and freeroll tournaments for those empty bankrolls. Take a look at the Full Tilt S&G lobby.

As you can see, you can enter the series at any point from freeroll to 70+6 and the prize is a higher level. The prizes are Tournament Tickets and can be used for the next level or in one of the scheduled daily tournaments. Unlike the typical satellite tournament, these tournament tickets can be used for any tournament with the appropriate fee. Many find the normal satellite tournaments into a specific event inconvenient because their schedule may be inflexible, the tournament ticket is the perfect answer.. The schedule also includes games other than Texas Hold'em. You have the opportunity to play Omaha, Razz, or even Horse.

These Sit & Go's are characterized by a couple of things. First they have a reduced fee. That by itself is +EV. If you have looked at “How Good Are You?” spreadsheet you probably know that a skilled player should cash in these singles significantly more than the 1/3 needed to break even. In fact a competent player should probably win a ticket 2/3 of the time. Then parlay those wins into the bigger tournaments were normal prizes can be well worth the play. These tournaments are worth the time and small amount of money. In addition to the single table S&Gs, Full Tilt also provides a large selection of Freeroll/Point tournaments that also pay out in Tournament Tickets, and the MTT structures provide easy access to the Tickets. Here is my favorite:

Before you stumble into these tournaments with your normal strategy, you should consider the structure - five places are paid and 5th gets the same as 1st. (I know there is a small prize for 6th but that isn’t the goal.) Survival is more important than building your chip stack. Your opponents know this too. So don't expect to blind into 5th. Almost all of the players are thinking survival. You will have to play some poker, and you can use their TAG (Tight Aggressive) tendency to commit a little more theft than you might normally, but remember LAG (Loose Aggressive) is seldom successful in this structure.

The image below shows two multi-table tournaments available with the tournament tickets and you can see the $24+2 target of the Tier One game above.

One last note: Although building your tickets by winning at each level to increase the value of your ticket, although possible, might be counter productive. It might be best if you play at only one level below the desired ticket size. If you want a 70+5, you should probably play at the 24+2 level. If you start at the $8 level you must win/place in two successive tournaments and that reduces your win rate a bit. Of course if you are using the freerolls to build your ticket, you will have to place in several.



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