This site uses cookies to improve your browsing experience. By continuing to browse the website, you accept such cookies. For more details and to change your settings, see our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy. Close

Difference between SNG and MTT strategy

    • Avatars91
      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      So I have been playing SNGs for a while now and have developed a solid understanding of the ICM as well as the strategy provided here on Now I'm thinking about playing some MTTs as well, perhaps even adding them to my sessions and I would like to know if the advice given on SNG strategy here is also valid for successful MTT play. I mean, probably it is, I assume, but is playing MTTs identically to SNGs the optimum and best strategy? As for articles on MTT strategy here: from what I've read I think they more or less overlap with the articles on SNGs with the difference of SNG's articles being more detailed and somehow more educational.

      All in all my question is - how should my MTT strategy differ from my SNG strategy and why?
  • 8 replies
    • justkyle88
      Joined: 07.05.2008 Posts: 7,613
      Just bumping for some SNG/MTT players to help out :)


    • Murn90
      Joined: 23.09.2010 Posts: 71
      Hey there.
      Your focus changes from surviving to chip accumulation, there fore you need to build a stack and have your eye on the goal 1st.

      This is usually done by playing more hands in early stage trying to build a stack, and pushing people around in mid game and on money buble stealing, restealing ALOT.
      Take all +cEV spots and go for 1st.
      ICM don't apply before final table in mtt's, and in stars 180 man it doesn't really start to apply before 6 handed.

      You could definently play solid TAG style, just a little looser than sng strategy and get somewhat far in MTT's, but you can't give people a lot of respect and try to avoid marginal situations.
      There is a lot of fish playing mtt's and a lot of value in them if you can grind them out as variance is brutal.

      Best of luck. :D
    • dubadal
      Joined: 05.09.2008 Posts: 263
      what Murn said.

      Mtt's differ by amount and quality of people. SNG mtt's are favorite grinding venue for many regulars, almost regardless of level. In mtt's you can meet absolutely anyone from any skill/bankroll size.

      So, you should definitely be ready to withstand ridiculous amount of donking and calling almost until bubble. Very tight and very aggressive is probably the best way to go - I push AA, KK, AKs in any position in early/mid stages, if table is having 3-4 people heading into each flop to protect and squeeze "bad" calls.
      Since you often don't get good cards and will often sit on 10-12BB after an hour of tournament it's time to get the starting hand chart, ICM and start push-fold mode. If you are lucky (and push with right hands at the right time) you will tripple-quadrupple up around middle/end of 2nd hour and be on your way to the top. If not - you will go busto because your mid position push of KQs didnt hold up against crazy chipleaders 59o... or something :f_cool:

      And do plan for longer sessions and bigger swings - 7-8 hours in normal speed mtt's is a realistic estimate. Turbo is probably around 3-4h. This of course depends on the room you play in etc etc.

      From nankroll strategy its probably an endurance and psychological race. Winning 1 first place and getting paid 400-1000 BI's once a month can be either really cool or a maddening bummer, considering how many hours with 0 roi you will spend playing.
    • pzhon
      Joined: 17.06.2010 Posts: 1,151
      Originally posted by Murn90
      ICM don't apply before final table in mtt's, and in stars 180 man it doesn't really start to apply before 6 handed.
      I agree with just about everything Murn90 said except the above. Accumulating chips early is even more important in a MTT than in a STT. However, because more places are paid, players should be quite risk-averse even with 9 players left. The ICM says the risk premium with 9 equal stacks is about 11.5%, compared with 4.8% with 9 equal stacks in a 50-30-20 SNG. This means you should be folding much more often when someone who covers you pushes, although you should push widely yourself, and you are not as risk averse against shorter stacks.
    • Murn90
      Joined: 23.09.2010 Posts: 71
      Hey Pzhon.
      What I mean is that the % winnings increase doesn't really matter, we are playing for first, and getting a good stack for that is worth more than getting 2BI more in prize money when 1st is 56BI.
      This is also why we aren't afraid to bubble with 19 people to go, because the 1.5BI doesn't really matter.

      I could be wrong and have a horrible leak??
    • pzhon
      Joined: 17.06.2010 Posts: 1,151
      The advice to aim for first will help most players. However, there is a happy medium, and some players aim for first too much. It's like the advice to tighten up: Great for most players since most are too loose, but it is not good for a nit.

      A large proportion of your winnings come from your share of first place, but the same is true for second+third places. If you aim for first too much while at the final table, you should win more tournaments, but you might cost yourself too much of the share of lower prizes.

      One way to think about it is to imagine that whenever you move up in the pay structure, the guaranteed prize money is paid out immediately. Then look at the percentage of the prize pool which is awarded for each level. For a PokerStars 180 player SNG, here are the prizes:

      10-18: 1.2%
      9: 1.8%
      8: 2.6%
      7: 3.5%
      6: 5%
      5: 6.5%
      4: 8%
      3: 11.9%
      2: 20%
      1: 30%

      So, what percentage of the prize pool is awarded at each jump?

      18: 21.6%
      9: 5.4%
      8: 6.4%
      7: 6.3%
      6: 9%
      5: 7.5%
      4: 6%
      3: 11.7%
      2: 16.2%
      1: 10%

      For example, the top 5 players get at least 1.5% more than 6th place, so 5 x 1.5% = 7.5% of the prize pool is awarded when you get down to 5 players.

      It actually looks like more of the prize pool rewards making it into the top 3 and into the top 2 than winning.

      There are times to focus on limping into the money. That 21.6% for cashing can be significant, particularly when you have a short stack. The other 78.4% usually argues for accumulating chips, and if you are successful at building a stack on the bubble, you make it into the money, too. Once you get close to the final table, the ICM says that you become significantly more risk-averse since so much of the prize money rewards surviving a few more places rather than winning.
    • Tim64
      Joined: 02.11.2008 Posts: 8,028
      Awesome post, Douglas, thanks!
    • Asaban
      Joined: 22.09.2006 Posts: 9,183
      Not much to add for me.
      In general MTT's are less focussed on ICM play. Furthermore the players tend to be more aggressive. The biggest difference is the much bigger variance.
      Overall the SNG articles will help you in most situations. You will only have to adept slightly.
      I would recommend watching a few of our mtt videos to get an impression of the differences.

      If you have any further questions feel free to ask!