MTT Bankroll Management is key to winning long term, due to the huge variance of tournaments.Due to the huge fields and payout structures that weigh heavily on the final table finishers, the upswings and downswings experienced by tournament players are severe. It is very possible to play dozens of MTT’s without pocketing a substantial amount of prize money. For that reason, it is vital to play within your means in order to never fully deplete your bankroll.
It is widely believed in the industry that the total amount of your bankroll should be roughly 100 buy-ins at the level you normally play. In other words, if you fancy $20 + $2 online tournaments, you should begin with a bankroll of $2,200. New players to multi-table tournament action will undoubtedly find this to be quite high. However, due to the variance involved, this total is actually right on the money.
A typical payout for a multi-table online tournament with a large number of entrants is typically structured so that first place takes home 15% of the prize pool, 8% goes to second place, and third place will receive 4%, all the way down to 0.02% for landing in 100th place. The payout is obviously skewed considerably to the top finishers. Now take a skilled player who has an advantage over most of the field who manages to go all-in as a 70% favorite on three crucial hands during the tourney. That player will have only a 30% chance of going deep in the tournament based on the outcome of those hands. Add another hand that may be a coin-flip situation and the chances of lasting long are down to 15%.
There are just so many factors of chance involved that makes it difficult to land at the final table where the real prize money is. For that reason, you need a big bankroll to make it through all the tournaments where you don’t cash and don’t make it to the final table. Of course, your style of play will be a big determinant of the health of your bankroll. One huge element to bankroll management is whether you are playing to win the tournament or just to cash. Most people believe they are playing to win, but decision-making often becomes modified near the bubble.
If you are playing to win, you should win more money over the long haul. You will also be subjected to greater variance and will need a larger bankroll than that of a more conservative player. For the players who tend to play in order to cash, bankroll requirements will be lessened, but so will the expected return on investment (ROI), because the big prize money awaits the top few finishers. As mentioned earlier, a bankroll of 100 buy-ins at your normal playing level is recommended for players who play to win. The recreational or more casual players who play with the intention of landing in-the-money can get away with about 60-75 buy-ins.
You are probably wondering what a good ROI is for MTT players. Many online pros believe that a good ROI to shoot for is 100%. In other words, doubling your money. Of course, that is quite high and only the very best MTT players will be able to maintain such a level of excellence. If you happen to be achieving 40% ROI, those results are very reasonable and nothing at all to scoff at. Reaching the plateau of 70% return on investment is considered very good. When factoring ROI, it is important to be working with a large enough sample size that truly reflects ability. Industry observers believe anything less than 1,000 games played is too small to accurately determine your skill level. One-thousand tourneys played is enough, but several thousand is better.
Don’t forget to take advantage of tournament overlays whenever possible. An overlay occurs when the guaranteed prize pool of a tournament is greater than the number of players who buy-in. This happens sometimes when an online site guarantees a particular prize pool amount based on estimates of expected players. When the anticipated number of players does not fully materialize, the poker room will still put up the guaranteed prize pool money, which works out to be a bonus for the players involved because the competition is less than expected.
MTT bankroll management is vital to being a profitable tournament player. Without first establishing guidelines regarding buy-ins and the total bankroll available, players tend to lack a successful approach that often finds such players needing to reload or redeposit funds in order to continue playing. By first determining your bankroll and the number of buy-ins required at the stake level of your choosing, you will be well on your way to attaining a positive return on investment.