MTTs, same old faces

I am very frustrated with high stakes level players entering 5k max tourneys only to dominate with bingo play and fearless high raises knowing that low stakes level players are more careful and strategic with which hands they play… and only left staring at your PC, folding every x20 pot raises.
As they don’t have anything to lose.

I have been trying for over a year to build a decent bankroll simultaneously to practicing my game for real life tournaments - and because this is the only platform to do so free of charge - im left wasting hours of my life wanting to punch my PC monitor!.

Regular monthly leader boards (for low stakes) are all dominated by very high ranked players, and this problem could be solved with a simple restriction, that high stakes players should enter high stakes MTTs exclusively, as with medium and low. I mean every game has levels, you got to pass the first and reach a destination.

You can be the greatest poker player, but a whale with a whale stack trumps everything you know about poker.

Another example is the recent RWG promotion, I noticed the exact same names consistently on top, Because no matter what time I decide to log in to play, I find them at my table. then immediately log off. Because whats the use?

who thinks restrictions should be implemented? and could it be done?
This would reduce the frustrations and complaints of alot of people on this forum, including me, fed up!

If someone is slogging through waist deep snow and gets passed by a guy wearing snowshoes, it doesn’t seem fair. He’s wearing the snowshoes because he has discovered that it’s the most effective way to move through that environment.

Should we try to ban snowshoes, which punishes those who employ effective strategies, or is it better to go get some snowshoes of our own?

Those who dominate leaderboards aren’t cheating. They have developed winning strategies. Rather than punish them for it, maybe we should try to learn something from them.

I have seen numerous posts suggesting this site outlaw one specific strategy or another, and I reject them all. The game is what it is, they can’t ban specific styles or limit players. The day they tell me I can only play in high limit tournies is my last day on the site, and I wouldn’t be going alone.

Low buyin tournies are a bit chaotic, and yeah, it can be frustrating. But the problem isn’t the snowshoes, it’s the snow. Find a way to win in the existing environment instead of sticking to a style that isn’t working for you. In other words, get some snowshoes.


I reread my post, and realize it wasn’t as helpful as it could have been. I’m not trying to offend, but I stick to what I said. However, I will add this…

If you are training for live tournies, I am guessing you were willing to buy a few good books on poker. If not, you should. That’s a good start… study the game.

If you can afford to buy into live tournaments, you can afford to buy some chips here. Wait for a sale, then make a modest purchase, say $20 or $50. Consider it to be a training expense.

I started out just where you are now. I too got frustrated with the low stakes play. Yeah, I was growing my bank, but too slow to suit me. I paid $20 and got something like 600K chips, and consider it money well spent. I don’t hesitate to plunk down $60 for a video game I will be tired of in 30 hours, why wouldn’t I spend $20 for a game that will entertain me for hundreds of hours? It was a no-brainer for me.

This let me move to the medium tournaments, and I have never looked back. I haven’t had to buy chips again, and I now have like 25 million. Think about it Bruin-O, you can help the site, help your game, and help your peace of mind… all for a few bucks. I think it’s well worth the price.


I agree and it absolutely could be done.
Almost every activity that involves skill implements different levels so people can compete with others of similar skill. It makes for a better experience.

This subject has come up a few times recently. And it’s never made much sense to me. The bottom line is - once a tourney starts and the cards are in the air, bankroll and rank don’t matter. You have your experience and perceptions, your awareness and analysis of the hand in play, your savvy and table presence. Everyone starts with the same chip stack, even playing field.

The idea seems to be that high ranked players just outclass the low ranked ones, that it isn’t fair. By that reasoning, Daniel Negreanu and Doyle Brunson shouldn’t be allowed to play the WSOP Main Event. Not just for their experience, but because $10,000 is nothing to them, while many, if not most, of the players in the Main Event are putting a significant amount of their savings on the line. Of course, that suggestion is ridiculous.

The other assumption seems to be that rank denotes skill. I’ve managed to build a decent bankroll here by grinding the MTT Lows and competing in the promos for two years. But I don’t kid myself - I’m an average player, with marginal creativity and mediocre insight. But I enjoy playing, so I play. To force me to only compete in the top buy-in tourneys, where I would feel outclassed and, more importantly, I wouldn’t know anyone … it would ruin the experience. And the promos are generally geared to low buy-ins, so everyone can participate - I should be restricted from playing those? Just as SPG wrote, I would leave the site.

Alrighty then, that’s my two cents.


In 1990, I (and about 450 others) entered a small ($25 entry fee) satellite tournament. I thought I saw some players who looked familiar from articles and pictures in Cardplayer and other magazines and newspapers. At the break, I asked a local friend who those guys were. “The big one is Hans “Tuna” Lund, the little one is Ron “Carolina Express” Stanley. and the other guy is Seymour Liebowitz.” All of them were well known professionals with WSOP cashes and bracelets. Why were they in such a “small” game? I asked Lund. “Why pay $1000 or more for a seat if I can win it for $25?” Stanley said “I always learn something new in every event.” “The practice is good to stay alert. The ideas we get–steal, really–are useful, too,” said Liebowitz. (You can Google all three of these guys.)
If low-buy-in tournament play was important enough for those guys, it ought to be important to us, too.


Here’s an excerpt from WIKI on the game of Bridge:

Players who achieve a high placing in an event sanctioned by the national bridge organisation (a club game, sectional tournament, regional tournament, etc.) are awarded masterpoints according to their placing and the number of pairs, individuals or teams who played in the event.
Some events have an upper masterpoint limit, meaning that only players with a masterpoint holding under the limit may participate. This allows less experienced players more of a chance to place high, since they will not be playing against players who are significantly more experienced. Additionally, some events are stratified. This means that players with various masterpoint holdings play together, but in the final standings, players receive masterpoints based on their position within their stratum. For example, if you are first in stratum C, second in B and fourth in A, and the upper masterpoint limits are 300 for C, 500 for B and 1000 for A, that means that among players with fewer than 300 masterpoints, you did the best. Among players with 500 points or fewer, you did second best, and among players with fewer than 1000, you did fourth best. With those divisions, a player with 700 points would be able to place in stratum A, but not in B or C.

Like I said, almost every organized activity that involves skill has stratified their competitions to enhance sportsmanship and decrease gamesmanship.
An argument can be made that it wouldn’t be appropriate here.
No argument can be made that it is unusual, radical, unfair or contrary to enjoyable competition.

There’s something in the original post that hasn’t been adequately addressed, but seems to be a recurring theme among these types of posts:

Playing preflop with a bet-or-fold strategy, and not merely calling the big blind, is fairly standard. When players show a willingness to call more than they should, they can be exploited by tightening up your range and betting with a larger raise size preflop. This is NOT bingo, but part of a well-rounded strategy to build a pot when you have a strong hand, while denying equity from weaker hands.

Many players who haven’t developed strong strategies - and are therefore stuck at the low-stakes levels - don’t understand the importance of knocking players out of a pot preflop. An overpair, or top pair, medium kicker, will often be the best hand at the flop heads up. However, if six other hands are still active, it’s very tough to know whether someone else has you beat. As a result, when you do have a starting hand that could turn into one of these, like a high suited ace or big pocket pair, you need to bet heavy enough to convince most of the other players to fold.

Again, that’s not bingo play, but rational strategy. You should try to learn from players that play like this, instead of picking up bad habits from players that don’t.


Lets try to not give instruction to new/lower skilled players in this thread. That would be off-topic and a changing of the subject. If I complained about being dominated by LeBron James in my local YMCA Rec League, it is not useful to tell me to work on my game until I can hang with LBJ. I am just requesting to compete against people closer to my skill level.
The OP has created a thread suggesting a division of sorts so highly skilled players can’t toy with and dominate, at no real bankroll risk, the lower skilled and lower bankrolled. Let’s respect him enough to stay on topic. This isn’t the place to try to coach up the Tues night rec-leaguer to NBA skills.


Im from South Africa so the analogy to snow shoes doesn’t make much sense to me but I get your point.

My problem is not with the strategy of high stakes players nor my own, its the attitude in which they approach the game. for example: players ranked over 100 000 are either playing to win or at least end in the money, so they would be patient and play the tight aggressive approach, but would get busted out to a much loose aggressive player playing low cards out of position and got lucky post flop.

I have however purchased chips in the past and did not work out well, I found that no matter how many hands I played in high stakes MTTs, I managed to only find the wheel but no nut, resulting to me becoming suspicious of the RNG and doubting the integrity of the game.

But like I said in the original post, Its either high stakes players adjust their mentality or stick to their own stakes MTTs.


I think you are absolutely right and your attitude is good, But you are 1 in a 100, and cannot speak for the rest of them.
Daniel Negreanu and company enters those tourneys to win bracelets, and not overshadow their competition, unlike most players on the site, therefore my frustration is not directed to players like you.

I think there’s a confusion between bankroll and skill levels, and between stakes levels and skill levels.

Because it’s possible to get chips without playing for them, it’s possible to have a big bankroll and not be skilled. People can buy chips, but that doesn’t buy them the skill.

It would seem to be implied that in order to play at higher stakes levels, you should be a more skilled player. Otherwise, you’re just going to lose a lot of chips fast. But the reverse is not implied. High skilled players have valid reasons to play lower stakes tables. Generally, it’s assumed that people play poker in order to win chips and build the biggest bankroll they can, and usually playing at the highest stakes level you can win at regularly will get you there the fastest. But that isn’t always necessarily the case. Sometimes a skilled player will want to try out a new style of play at a lower stakes level, so they don’t risk so much while they’re working the kinks out.

I don’t really know of a good way to segregate players into tiers of skill levels so that we can pair players of similar skill together and protect weak players from strong players. I’m not even sure that’s desirable for the weak players who want to learn how to play better. You don’t really learn to play better by playing against weaker players. You learn by playing against stronger players, and figuring out how to beat them. Ideally, you want to do that at low stakes, because until you do learn, you’re going to get beaten up a lot and lose a lot of chips.

Poker definitely is frustrating when you lose more than you win and can’t seem to figure out how to stop the bleeding. We can’t all play poker at the highest skill level, but I think most people are capable of learning and improving their game, through experience, study, and coaching. It takes work and discipline.

I get that maybe not everyone wants to make a game into work and discipline, and just wants to play for fun. So in that case, I guess you need to work on your ability to have fun while losing. Winning is more fun though. But winning comes through work and discipline to learn.


I can only speak for myself, but if you see me at a low stakes tourney, it’s not because I want to win easy chips. Low stakes games can be crazy, there’s no easy way to win there. I have enough chips to do what I want to do how I want to do it. I don’t care about the chips… at all.

When I feel like playing poker, I want to do it NOW. Sorry, but I’m not willing to wait 30 minutes or more to get going. If this sometimes means I have to play a lower stakes tourney, I do. Not often, but sometimes.

The same applies to higher stakes games. It’s just a matter of timing, at least for me.


I meant to add, in RPP really it’s all low stakes, since there’s no actual money to be won here. Whether it’s 10 chips in the pot or a billion, it only matters if you actually care about the chips. I like to think that pretending that the chips have real value, and caring about them, helps me be a better player, and it allows me to enjoy the game more. But really it’s all low stakes here.

Sorry, i should have been more clear.

The other night I saw a 2K Omaha H/L tourney. I think less than 30 players entered. I finished 2nd and won 12,500. I wasn’t playing for the chips, I was playing because I felt like playing. I didn’t care about the 2k and didn’t care about the 12.5k.

In general though, I don’t consider my chips to be worthless. They represent time, and time has value to me.

I love the game, the chips aren’t the reason I play.


I don’t know if this kind of play is an issue of players with big banks flexing muscle because losing the stack is peanuts to them. I’ve never played in a 50k or higher tourny, but I’ve played in 15 & 20k, and I find that players pretty much play the same as in 2k tournys. Okay, you don’t get the doof that goes all in preflop on every hand, but play is much the same.
I think there’s 2 types of pushy preflop players - players that don’t value their chips (don’t forget these ain’t real), and players that honestly believe it’s a good strategy. Either way, you can out play them. Yes, you will fold some killer possibilities, which sucks. And yes, sometimes you’ll lose your stack to them, but sometimes you’ll be on easy street until last table. Honestly though, I have to admit that I usually let my seat go gray, see whats on tv, and let one of you guys deal with them, lol!

1 Like

Going down the line and opening up my thinking, IMO this is actually a pretty decent point. I have no side to take, really, but just feel this is a good post within this thread.

1 Like

Limiting things by skill level assumes there is a good way to determine skill level. There isn’t.

They could, however, make some tables and tournies for people who have been on the site less than 90 days or whatever.

1 Like

There are freerolls for players here less than 30 days.


I just played the freeroll, and there were lots of all-in preflops, because the chips are free. I think most players value their chips, but freeroll players value them less and get risky. I watched a player (with bad hole cards) knock out multiple players with all-in preflops at level 1, and that player was still in the top 3 at level 6 when I got knocked out. All-in preflop can be a strategy. I’ve used it, but only when I’m desperate. It’s also possible that those all-in players just dig the adrenaline rush of risking it all, lol!

I agree that players with big banks probably play a more pushy and risky game. I tend to play a looser, pushier, more risky game when my bank is high. Funny thing, it doesn’t take long before my bank is down and I get serious again. If you graph my bank over the months it looks like a Disney roller coaster, and it’s because I get stoopid when my bank is big…just like the drunk guy in Vegas hahaha!