Bankroll Management for Multi Table Tournaments

The variance in multi table tournaments is higher than just about any other game you can find. It is so extreme because of the way multi table tournaments pay out winnings. The payout structures are very “top-heavy,” meaning that the highest few places enjoy large payouts, but if you don’t make it very deep you’ll walk away with little or nothing to show for it. When you get down to the middle to late stages of tournaments, one lucky or unlucky hand could mean the difference between thirty, fifty or even hundreds of buy-ins. You won’t find swings this extreme in cash games or in Single Table Tournaments. A very good player could go for weeks or months without a major cash due to a bad run of luck, while a complete beginner could go on a heater and take first place at a large event for a huge prize.

Because of this, multi table tournaments can be an excellent way for small stakes players to score a big win and see their bankrolls skyrocket off of a small buy-in. You do need to have a large total bankroll on hand, but the potential profits are larger than any other form of poker.

Multi table tournament poker is incredibly popular and you can find a wide variety of offerings at all poker sites. You will encounter many different buy-ins and payout structures, so it’s a good idea to look around and see what best suits your game. Take a look at a couple of the best options below.

  • Poker Stars – Largest poker site in the world.  Many consider this the premier poker tournament site, and is home to the World Championships of Online Poker (WCOOP) with payouts in the millions for the lucky winners.

Safe Bankroll for Multi Table Tournaments

A bankroll of 100x the buy in of the tournaments you wish to play is recommended. Due to the high variance of multi table tournaments, it is best to have a very large bankroll on hand in case you run into a prolonged bad stretch.

Remember that both the size of the field and the payout structure matter when determining a safe bankroll. If you are playing in tournaments with a smaller amount of players and a structure that pays out many, you can relax the guideline a little and play with 50x to 75x the buy-in. Conversely, if you play in multi table tournaments with extremely large fields and top heavy payout structures, you should have 150x-200x the buy-in in your bankroll.

Also, your own playing strategy can be a factor in determining an appropriate bankroll. If you are an aggressive player whose goal is to finish first, you will likely want a larger bankroll because you will be taking more risks around the bubble. If instead, however, your main goal is to simply make the money, then you can get away with playing with a smaller bankroll because you will likely have more total cashes.

Bankroll Required to Move Up in Multi Table Tournaments

You can move up and regularly play a higher multi table tournament level any time your bankroll is over the 100x guideline.

If you are winning at a particular level, though, there is nothing wrong with “taking a shot” at a higher buy-in tournament if you are mentally prepared for it. If you are a regular winner at $1+.$.10 tournaments, playing a $5+$.50 can be exciting and offer the opportunity for a much larger payday. If nothing comes of it, it’s no big deal; you’ll just have to grind a little more at your previous level. Since you have a much smaller percentage of your total bankroll on the table than in cash games, you can afford to take more shots. Don’t get affected by the allure of the bigger prizes, though, and start regularly playing a tournament that’s beyond your bankroll. You must treat it as a change of pace from time to time and not a permanent move. Save that for when you reach 100x the higher buy-in.

Bankroll Required to Move Down in Multi Table Tournaments

It is advised to move down when your bankroll reaches around 100x the buy-in of the next lower level. Again, the buy-ins comprise a smaller percentage of your total bankroll than a cash game, so you have a little more flexibility about when you must move down.

When to Cash Out Bankroll Earnings

You can cash out any amount that leaves you 100x the buy-in for the level you wish to continue playing. If you are unable to make an additional deposit, you must strictly adhere to this rule, since the variance can be extreme.

All in all, multi table tournaments provide a great way to risk a little for a chance to win a lot. If you plan to play regularly, however, you need to understand that you could go weeks or even months without a big cash, so you need a very big bankroll to ensure that you won’t go broke.