Defining your Bankroll – Online MTTs

Posted by Kushraj Garg on 2019-06-08 at 1:00 PM

Hey fellas. In my first few blogs I‘ve talked about mindset and awareness as fundamentals towards growing as a professional decision maker. Today I want to express some views on how bankroll management (BRM) would dictate our long term monetary success when playing online MTTs and how we can possibly get it right.

Assuming a tournament with similar skilled participants, the probability of min-cashing is 12-15%; chances of moving up the money ladder reduce further, leading to a very low likelihood of actually winning an MTT. Clearly, variance has a huge control in determining how well we do in MTTs in the short term. As a professional, it, therefore, becomes so critical to have a well devised bankroll strategy that can sustain you through this variance to emerge out profitable in the long term. Your future bankroll will always be a lagging measure of how effectively you strategise and execute with your present-day bankroll.

In the current scenario, where almost every Indian site has mostly unlimited re-entry formats in their MTT schedule, it becomes all the more significant to have solid BRM principles to be profitable. The lure of winning that big up-top (usually 18-20% of the total prize pool) in a MTT can be disillusioning at times and you might go bananas with the number of entries you end up making in a single MTT. The way MTTs are structured, as compared to a cash game, we are inclined to take marginal spots more often than we would have otherwise. Because that shoots up the variance involved, and that MTTs eventually reward differently than a cash game (there are no direct monetary gains from winning a pot since chips only have a comparable monetary value once we are in-the-money as compared to a cash game where chipEV is same as monetaryEV throughout), we need to have a different investment approach to be profitable in MTTs. The idea is to realise that our approach to BRM in MTTs should be based on how to get the desired results over a large number (read volume) of MTTs. Getting attached to one MTT, losing control and breaking limits on the go by re-entering more times than planned when it almost feels like an obligation to do so after a bad beat; will hurt your long term EV a lot. Simply because with every additional entry, you invest more than planned while the probable expected returns remain unchanged (even decrease, as with every passing level we get lesser blinds on re-entering). Final table payouts, min-cash, % of field paid and blind structure can be few guiding factors while setting investment/entry limits for a specific MTT.

Having said that, all this is assuming an even ground where one doesn’t have a significant skill edge over the other. One can surely build more competency over time and justify a relatively high-risk investment strategy, and you can be your own best judge as to when those modifications need to happen. Beware that just because you got a big score in an MTT, doesn’t necessarily imply you are crushing that ABI(AverageBuyIn). One big win can drastically skew your actual ROI (evaluated at a large sample) and inculcate false confidence that you can profitably perform at higher than your current ABIs. So be wary of those odd results before they lead you onto an unsustainable path. Lesser competent players end up busting their bankroll soon after a big win by making this very mistake. Even the more skilled players go broke often because they fail in maintaining the discipline required to stick at right ABIs and move up too fast and unprepared.

Action without strategy is a recipe for disaster. Better to be mindful and invest wisely. Choosing and playing the right MTTs after considering your ROI at a certain ABI where you can survive that inevitable downswing is the right way to move up the stakes. Setting well-planned limits and strictly sticking to them will prime you for more consistent profits over time. Successful players do these basic things right, which enables them to play without pressure and make the most of every MTT.

Cheers and GL!

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Kushraj Garg

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