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STT strategy

Single table tournaments are the most efficient source of income for a good poker player. It presents several advantages over MTTs and even ring-games, while having only a few minor drawbacks.

MTTs tend to be extremely crowded. The huge number of players doesn’t just mean that it’ll be awfully tough to win the tourney, it also means that it’ll be a really long affair, too. A good poker player considers every little detail before deciding what is profitable for him and what’s not. If you bust out of an MTT before the money stages, you don’t only lose your buy-in, you also waste a few hours of playing poker, time that you could’ve used up in a much more lucrative way.

STTs do not last that long. They also have fewer players in them, providing you with better odds for winning.

The only disadvantage STTs have, is that the edge, a large bankroll gives players in ring-games, does not exist there.

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On the other hand, there are no properly bankrolled and poorly bankrolled players in a STT. Everyone is poorly bankrolled, so after all, this disadvantage is not such a big one.

STT strategy is not really that much different from general tournament strategy. In the early stages, you have to be tight. There are several reasons you should act like that.

1) The blinds are small, and you can afford to see a lot of starting hands before committing on one.

2) There are a bunch of players at the table, and you’re likely to get several limpers on the action that you generate. That instantly cuts the EV you have on your hand.

3) There will be loads of “all-ins” in the early stages. One thing that you want to avoid in a tourney is to commit all your chips, whether you have to do it in the beginning or in the end. The odds that you get for going all-in, in a tourney, are just not worth the risk.

4) There will be a bunch of suicidal players whom you should leave to do their business fast and disappear.

As soon as the players slowly disappear from around the table, you need to step up your play though. You will need a consistent stack in the short-handed and heads-up stages of play. Unless you manage to build up your stack, you’ll be dominated, and believe me, that’s not where you want to be in the final stretch of a STT.

As I said before, you want to avoid committing all your chips at all cost. Sometimes though, you’re no longer granted a choice in the matter. At the end of a couple of unlucky draws, you often find yourself down to your last chip, and with your back against the wall, the Big Blind creeping up on you fast.

You know you’ll soon have to commit your last chip on much less than you normally would, so you’re on the lookout for the right circumstances to take shape. Curiously enough, most poker players prefer a scenario that doesn’t really favor this last kamikaze action they’re about to undertake.

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They’re looking for “full value”, meaning they prefer to have as many limpers in front of them as possible. It eludes me why they wound want something like that. The more limpers there are, the bigger a blow your odds take. What you should be looking for, is a strong pre-flop raiser who forces everyone but you to fold.

That way, it’d be just you against him, which would provide you with much better odds on your mediocre starting hand.

In case you’re successful, and you don’t really need to worry about ever shoving all your chips in, you have to speed up at the end of the tourney like there’s no tomorrow. In a heads-up, your only chance is to smother the opposition senseless. He who is a more skilled bettor, a more aggressive player and has the bigger gun (chip-stack), will triumph.

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