Nearing the end of August, I was fairly certain that I had racked up enough points in the PSO Open Skill League to get promoted to the Premier League in September. Because I’m mainly a cash game player, I decided to go polish up my MTT skills for the Premier League with some micro stakes tournaments (buy-ins ranging from $1.10 to 3.30). My results can be seen in the graph below.

As you can see, this has certainly been quite a profitable break from my usual cash game grind. I know that 54 tournaments is not a significant sample size by any means, but my observations while playing these tournaments lead me to make the following bold statement:

Tournaments > Cash Games (IMHO)

Nowhere in online poker have I seen so much dead money as in a micro stakes multi table tournament. There is such a huge overlay created by all the players in the field that simply have no chance of making it far in the tournament, let alone reach the final table.

These large field MTTs attract all types of bad players, and any halfway decent player (what I rate myself to be) will have quite a big edge over them. Many of these players lack the patience necessary to get through such a large field tournament. For example, there was this guy at my table, that after fighting through a field of more than 3000 runners, amassing a monster stack an being just 20 players away from the bubble, seemingly lost interest in the proceedings and punted off his whole stack by going all-in every hand. There are a lot of these players that register for the tournament, and then simply relinquish their claim on the prize pool without putting up much of a fight.

There are also players who are terrible at the fundamentals of poker and tournament play. In a tournament you have to always be trying to find spots to accumulate chips, else the blinds will gobble you up. If you are just trying to squeak into the money, you will never win a large field MTT. I play a tournament to win it. I am not interested in investing 5 hours of my time to turn my $1.10 buy-in into $2 by min-cashing. If that is what you’re into, I have a few suggestions for you that are far more profitable and consume far less of your time.

If you play to win a tournament, you simply cannot pass up on spots to accumulate chips and grow your stack. Take a look at the hand below where villain_7 makes a clear mistake by folding.

When villain_7 folded his big blind, he only needed to call 932 chips more to win a pot of 10832. He was getting 11.62 to 1 on a call. This means his hand only needed about 7.92% equity against villain_1’s range to make the call profitable. If I was the big blind in this spot, villain_1 could go all-in, show me  and I would still call with any two cards (yes, even ).

Using the PokerSchoolOnline Odds Calculator, we see that in this worst case scenario that villain_1 has  with both our suits covered (we have ), we still have 10.93% equity against his hand. Because the villain only has a 1bb stack to shove, he probably doesn’t have pocket aces, making this a very easy call.

Your own tournament decisions will probably be a bit closer than the example presented above, but I wanted to highlight this hand to illustrate the weak level of play found in these tournaments. So if cash games are your regular thing, maybe consider giving tournaments a try. You might be amazed by your results.

Good luck at the tables!