Is playing MTT worth it?

Is playing MTT worth it from a chips winning perspective?

It’s fun, it’s challenging. But do the economics make sense?

A MTT typically lasts 2+ hours, while a 9-seat SNG lasts an hour.

I’m in a MTT right now with 31 participants, and there’s only chips coming back to the top 5. In a 9-seat SNG, the top 3 win chips. I’m not sure how the amounts compare, but it seems like it’d be more profitable to play 2 SNG games, assuming you finish in the money in both, than it would be to play 1 MTT with this many players.

The bigger MTTs have award more chips to more finishers, and the winnings tend to be bigger. They don’t last much more than 2 hours, but there’s a lot more competition, and the prize amounts don’t start getting big until you’re in the final 5 or so finishers… and even then it’s only in the top 2-3 finishers that get money that beats what you get by finishing first out of 9 in a 9-seat SNG.

Of course you can win the most the fastest in a Ring Game, since every chip you win in a Ring Game is a chip you win. But I don’t like the style of play that prevails in the ring games, so I tend not to play them as much.

So what do you think? Is there more money in SNG than in MTT? Should the prize levels in MTT play be adjusted upward to make MTT more attractive?

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I’m an MTT player myself, and not a huge fan of ring games or SnG’s.

It’s very true that from a chips winning perspective, MTTs are not the most rewarding (or the fastest). But I guess it all goes down to the reason you play and what your goals are.

If you play to build your bankroll and your goal is to make as much money as possible in the shortest time possible, MTTs are not the best choice. However, if your goal is to compete in longer games, win prizes and climb leader boards, tournaments are the better option.

I personally prefer MTTs as I like the challenge and care much much less about how many chips I have in the bank. I prefer them to SnG’s because they’re more challenging. You need to work hard to get to the final table in an MTT, whilst in SnG’s you start the game at the final table already.

I’m not sure how MTTs can be made more attractive, since I personally like them already. Again, it’s all down to what one’s goals are. There was a poll or contest asking why you play poker online and the responses were split between “building bankroll” and “challenge and competition” and “just for fun”… I think these goals hugely affect the type of game one prefers.


I like MTT play too – it’s more challenge, and therefore makes me a better player, and I find it’s usually a bit more fun, as well. I do wish that they paid off more for finishing than they do, though. It’s not enough to stop me from playing in MTT, but I think I’d have more reason to play MTT (when time allows) if they paid off more. It just seems to me like if you beat 30 other players, the prize money ought to be a lot more than what you get for beating 8.

I wonder if the chips in vs. chips paid out makes it possible for the reward levels to be boosted much, or if they’re paying out close to what would be the max possible if the chips represented real money and the MTT had to pay for itself.

In an MTT you are mitigating your risk. One single buy-in (usually). The trade-off is more time taken with a lower rate of return.

Think of an SnG as a smaller version of an MTT. Still mitigating risk, but faster and about the same return.

At a ring table, you have unlimited buy-ins. And even if you only buy-in once, all of your winnings are at risk if you stay too long and get that one bad break. However, you can always double/triple up, bank your winnings and buy-in at a new table.

I don’t see the point of playing just to accumulate vast amounts of chips, so profit alone isn’t why I play MTTs. It’s actually quite hard to make a consistent profit with MTTs.

I like them because they add another layer of complexity to the game.


[quote=“SunPowerGuru, post:5, topic:11423, full:true”]
It’s actually quite hard to make a consistent profit with MTTs.[/quote]

Indeed, but that would be less true if the prizes were bigger.

[quote=“SunPowerGuru, post:5, topic:11423, full:true”]
I like them because they add another layer of complexity to the game.[/quote]


@puggywug ,

a 9 player SnG pays 1 in 3, its pound 4 pound your best odds in a vaccum.
MTTs usually have more Leaderboards, so more ways for xtra chips, and are more challenging in my opinion than SnGs.

Increasing payout in MTTs decrease # of places paid… its already kinda low.
Other than straight ROI winnings, the Leaderboards are where the $$ is at.

Time of day effects overall MTT participation, while SnGs don’t have that problem, they just won’t start as often off peak times.

Proper bankroll mgmt and just MTTs, does make economic sense.

I play tournament poker for money a few times a week in Tunica MS…I came to this site to improve my play (hopefully) so I play a lot of the MTTs…

Since there is no money involved here I think this topic is not particularly relevant and the different games are mostly about what you want or enjoy…

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I made my first 100 million playing MTTs

Hey @puggywug - in general, you have higher rewards for higher risks. For money, ring games are the lowest variance and therefore the lowest average returns. They are the most consistent way to earn money. MTT’s have the highest variance and therefore the highest potential returns. The more players in any given MTT, the greater the variance. Winning a large MTT may give you a return of 100x your buy-in or more. How often do you win 100 buy-ins playing a ring game in 1 session? Then again, how often do you win a 300+ player MTT?

You could figure out your winrate per hour from each different type of game if you wanted to maximize your efficiency in accumulating chips. It might be interesting to see how that breaks down for different players. On the other hand, this is a play-chip site. Are you here to maximize chips won per hour or to have fun or some combination of the two? If you want to do the math, I’m all for it and would be happy to see the results. If you just wanted a general rule of thumb, the higher the risk (variance), the higher the reward. Ring games give you steady returns and MTT’s give you wildly variable returns. Many professionals will use ring games as their baseline and tournaments as their supplemental source of earnings.

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It’s a relevant question to me.

The question isn’t about whether MTT play is worth it from an enjoyment standpoint, but from a chips standpoint.

Since we don’t get trophies or badges for winning tournaments, I tend to look at my chip earnings as an indicator of how well I’m doing against the other players on the site.

I know that’s not 100% accurate, mainly because you can just buy your way into a huge bankroll. So I don’t pay as much attention to the bankroll of others, since I don’t know how they got their chips. But I do pay attention to my own bankroll, and as long as it’s going up, I feel good.

Naturally I feel like if it went up faster, I’d feel better :slight_smile:

I enjoy MTTs, and I will continue to playing them. But I find that I would win more chips, faster if I spent more time playing SNG tournaments.

@1Warlock is there a mathematical definition for “variance”? It’d help me to understand what you’re saying if I understood the term as you’re using it.

I find that the most “money” comes back to me in ring game play, since every chip I win is a chip I keep. If I am doing well in a ring game, I can easily double my buy-in in an hour or two. Of course, that’s also offset by losses, and every chip I lose is a chip I really lose. Sometimes I’ll play an hour go up a bit, lose a lot, then have to rebuy and play another hour to make it up, and end up netting 2 hours for 1 buy-in’s worth of profit.

I can also play a 9-seat SNG, and maybe win ~4x my buy-in in an hour, but only if I come in first place. A 3rd place finish is good for covering the buy-in, plus “cab fare”.

But the buy-in for a mid-tier turbo SNG is 25k chips, and the buy-in for a mid-tier RG is 125k-250k chips. So I win more chips faster, at greater risk in RG play.

So, ignoring your point about “variance” for the moment until I can understand it better, I feel like RG play is way more economical.

That’s not to say that I enjoy RG; I much prefer the structure imposed by the tournament format, where you are dealing with a finite number of players, and chips, and the blinds raise periodically, and that tends to favor a style of play that I can do better against than what you find in RG play, where the betting tends to get very wild and you have to be very risk-friendly, willing to gamble more, in order to play there at all.

Substitute the word ‘risk’ or ‘luck’ if you want. The higher the risk, the higher the reward. There are ways of quantifying the amount of risk required for any given return in finance but I don’t know of any similar equation for poker. In theory, a player should require a return of 37x on his bet on a roulette wheel because he has a 1:37 chance of making his number. In reality, he gets paid 35x. I don’t know if anyone has calculated what returns are required for any given risk factor in poker. Would be cool to think about, especially for tournaments - argh, there goes the rest of my day :slight_smile:

Don’t we do that all the time when we compare pot (or implied) odds with the odds of making a draw?

Very imprecisely, but yeah, I mean, if eyeballing it and making a decision in 10-20 sec counts. But I think we’re after checking this estimation against the actual odds, so see how close we are, and see if we can figure out how to get better at it.

I think “variance” refers to luck, not risk.

I started playing on this site in September and played nearly all Sit’n’Go games to get from scratch to my first million chips, but since then have played nearly all MTTs and more or less broken even, or profited about 300,000 chips. The MTTs should be a bit more profitable if you pick the ones that have a guaranteed minimum prize money, and the occasional tournament win or top three finish will pay for many entries and there will be many tournaments (hopefully) where you will at least get back the cost of entry and a few more chips.

It is a bit deceptive when the site says "you finished in 20th place and won 10,000 chips, when you may have paid 5000 chips to enter, hence you only won 5.000 chips–but whatever!

Anyway, if you have enough time, the MTT tournaments are more fun and it is rather satisfying when you make the final table and 90% of the entrants did not.

The trouble with MTTs is that the finalists cannot agree to chop the pot, and the final stages tend to depend increasingly on luck, as the high blinds make it almost impossible to size bets and it becomes all or nothing. Last night I was in the final 7 out of about 100 entrants in a tournament with a rather low entry and all the stacks were of similar sizes, or within one double up, (and hence low rewards for winners) when I got my ass handed to me by a KJ caller when I was holding AQ, and I cannot count the number of times I have held something like AT and had a raise called and beaten by A9.

(Of course when I actually win a tournament, it is all skill and good luck has nothing to do with it!)


I’ve noticed this too… its a good point. You really have to adjust your play style to the blinds.

I’m still trying to figure that part out…

Here’s me at the final table of a European Hangover MTT that happened this weekend:

I folded with JJ, figuring at least one of my opponents had AA KK QQ, and ended up missing out on this giant 750k pot that would have put me in a great position to win the whole tournament. I probably should have called and just accepted that I could end up getting crippled or eliminated, and in retrospect obviously making the call here would have been the right play. On the other hand, I’ve gotten beaten many times with JJ, so… :man_shrugging:

I’ve been playing about as long as you have. I did play for a short time back a few years ago, but just came back to the site in September and have been playing mostly SNG and MTT since.

I think Sngs are an easier way to build your bank than Mtts.

SnGs pay more places. For example, a 9 seat SnG pays the top 30%, a heads up SnG pays the top 50%. No MTT that I have seen pays more than about the top 20%.

Tourney fees should be taken into account, but I’m not sure how this would change the equations.

I would say ring games are the easiest way to gain chips. Since all tournaments add another layer of complexity, they are, by definition, harder.

If you’re looking to maximize chip gain, take a look at the regular and promotional leaderboards. You get the normal rewards from whatever you are doing, plus a bonus from the leaderboard if you do well enough. A huge portion of my current bankroll came from the Halloween promo leaderboards.

Also, utilize the synergy involved in multiple leaderboards: such as getting involved in a weekly Gem leaderboard and a monthly MTT leaderboard. The Gem tournaments count in both.

Yes, for any specific hand but I don’t know of a similar formula to determine if entering a particular MTT provides a worthwhile risk/reward ratio. Its easy to determine with satellites but not with variable payout MTTs. Not that I’m aware of at least. I guess you could look at the payout structure and eyeball it for starters. Do they pay top 10% or top 20% or winner take all?

Same thing, or at least 2 sides of the same coin.

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