Early NL MTT Loose or Tight?

    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      I've been experimenting with styles for early MTT play at low limits and have a question about the early stages.

      I find if I play a loose small ball strategy I can often accumulate a reasonable chip lead essentially by almost constant bluffing and then getting away from the hands if called. Sometimes the plan backfires horribly and I lose early but frequently I end up with a decent chip lead.

      However I have been reading that many pros before a conservative strategy early in the tournament waiting for 'big' hands. When I do this I tend to stay roughly around the average and frequently get close/into the money but often with no advantage in terms of chips. I find that sometimes I am forced to make difficult decisions around the bubble with less than ideal hands because I have not accumulated enough chips.

      What does anyone else do?

      Is one way better than the other?
  • 12 replies
    • grummeler
      grummeler
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.05.2006 Posts: 2,237
      those are difficult questions to answer to.
      in first place, playing a tight agressive conservative game is close to the optimum in the early stages.
      but you always have to find situations where a lose play can be used.
      if you have position on a fish, try to isolate him with lose moves.
      if the table seemes pretty weak you might start to limp first in with suited connectors and so on.
      but if the table is active and agressive, play a normal tight game. because players will fight you back if you play lose.

      in the later stages of a tourney you need to switch your gears and play more agressive.
      and on the bubble, its time to really splash around like qa maniac because players dont wanne die, so you might get alot of chips because they fold hands which they normally would call you with.

      but this is all tough and a lot of work to put that in one answer ;)

      try to read

      Dan Harrington on Hold`em

      he describes it very well, when to play tight, and when to play lose.

      but basically there is no real optimum style. you should start playing tight if you are an average player because it is so easy to play tight.
      if you play lose, decissions become more complex and you will bust out most of the time. but if you survive you will be a monster stack going for all of it.
    • curnow
      curnow
      Bronze
      Joined: 10.10.2007 Posts: 1,039
      Originally posted by Smileyphil
      I've been experimenting with styles for early MTT play at low limits and have a question about the early stages.

      I find if I play a loose small ball strategy I can often accumulate a reasonable chip lead essentially by almost constant bluffing and then getting away from the hands if called. Sometimes the plan backfires horribly and I lose early but frequently I end up with a decent chip lead.

      playing a MTT is all about changing gears

      nothing wrong in playing loose & bullying but you need to know how to play a large stack & which players to pick on , personaly tend to do opposite of what rest of players do

      loose early & around before the button & tighten up when in the money until the game had tighten up

      final table , just play it like a tight sng but thats the easy part & getting there is the hard part

      you see so many players build a big stack early & donk it off when the blinds go up , just remember MTT is all about changing gears & you cant win them in first hour
    • Specialist23
      Specialist23
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.07.2008 Posts: 14
      It can be argued to play early stages either loose or tight. Most would suggest to play according to your table. Alot of the regulars/grinders are multitabling and will be playing a TAG game in the early stages. This leaves a good opportunity to limp some hands and see flops and outplay the fish post flop. You just have to identify who the fish are and who the regs are.

      So basically I am not sure if TAG or LAG is the best strategy for the early stages. Might want to try a passive strategy early.
    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      So today I was experimenting some more. I've found a few problems with both.

      Tight: I wait a long time for a hand only to end up in a coinflip. I'd rather avoid too many coinflips when playing a long tourney. If I have several coinflips then my chances of winning decrease very quickly.

      Examples of this... JJ re-raising to be called with AQ. Same situation in reverse with AK.
      But then if you don't play these hands your only left with like QQ+. Which is hardly enough to stay anywhere near average chips.

      Loose: I do well until I begin to get trapped. You have to play top pair with poor kickers and conti bet most hands to make this strategy work. If a few people begin to notice this or even if someone slowplays a high pair its easy to loose a lot of chips.

      I think the only way to do well consistently is to really mix it up. Not too extreme either way. Of course this is harder said than done.

      Suited connectors are one of my new favourite hands however. Especially 9T. Not got enough stats to justify this but it seems very strong. Top pairs, straight and flush draws, monster draws. And if 99 or TT hits the board no-one seems to believe it. Now I'm just waffling though. Sorry.
    • Specialist23
      Specialist23
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.07.2008 Posts: 14
      Try playing loose in the early stages, maybe first 2 blind levels. The tighten up untill bubble approaches, thats when u become loose again.

      Also when playing MTT you need a huge sample to begin analyzing your results. This is because coin flips are essential to going deep. Which is why you usually want to build a chip stack early, because once bigger blinds come your going to have to deal with ppl who have folded there way this far and are now going to shove a wide range. Alot of these will end up being flips.
    • Dragar
      Dragar
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.09.2008 Posts: 2,214
      Try reading your opponents on the table. You can double up through some of them at the beginning.

      If someone is loose trap him, works best against bigger stacks.
      Last tourney I limped AJ first in on the button vs big stack in bb because I have seen him being aggressive. He raises, I re-raise, he goes all in.... I double up.

      Against tight players you bully.

      Other things which are very noticable in tourneys early stages are bluffs. For example there is a flush possibility on the board and villain bets pot size or so.... most of the time this is a bluff and pretty exploitable.

      Remember villain would never try to get you out of a pot with a made hand in a tourney and if he is not a fish he knows that betting pot size pushes people away.
    • grummeler
      grummeler
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.05.2006 Posts: 2,237
      true but if he is a fish he will bet his flush potsized also.
      so dont be in a hurry to call him if he is a fish.
    • Anssi
      Anssi
      Black
      Joined: 03.07.2008 Posts: 2,173
      And that AJ... ugh. You really want to gamble with AJ in early tournament? gl. Even if he was aggressive, he can still have a hand. With something better that play is ok as a trapping.
    • grummeler
      grummeler
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.05.2006 Posts: 2,237
      yes AJ is still a bad hand to go all in or to call an all in.
      even against a maniac its an unusuall play i would not do.
    • alejandrosh
      alejandrosh
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.07.2008 Posts: 4,346
      Agree about AJ , slowplaying AJ early.... maybe if you were shortstacked and had a good read , but I guess this thread speaks about the very beggining of a tourney not being shortstack or something :)

      Against tight players you bully.


      I don't see how much bullying is involved here since is the early stages, so bullying 40 chips pots isn't going to do much IMO. Bullying goes better with bigger blinds.
    • Specialist23
      Specialist23
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.07.2008 Posts: 14
      Ye I dont see a point in Bullying in early stages. As I said above you either play it TAG or u play a passive preflop game and try to outplay post flop.
    • Prabhatallin
      Prabhatallin
      Platinum
      Joined: 09.12.2007 Posts: 532
      Especially in the early stages, its really important to get the right balance between tight and loose. Loose can work, but I really advice you to stay away from hands like A9, A10, KJ and the like in early position early in tournaments because they can drain your chips, get you in tough spots and rarely make the best hands. Suited Aces can be an exception but still need to be played very cautiously. When you are not in early position, it is good to open loose, with hands like suited connectors and almost any pair because these hands very often get paid off when they hit especially at low buy-ins. The one BIG thing to remember which is the biggest weakness of most players is not to call raises with hands like A10, A9, KJ etc...against very tight players early on even AJo and AQo can be easy folds, the biggest improvements in my results came after it became automatic for me to fold such hands.

      During the middle stages, selective aggression is effective, identify scared players and if you have a big stack you can target their blinds with pretty much anything and back away if they fight back.

      Late game is actually a bit too tough for me to describe because it depends on way too many variables like how aggresive your opponents are, whether they play well or not, stack size, table dynamics etc.