Setting Goals In An MTT

In MTT’s there seems to be a stage of the MTT where players struggle. For some players it may be getting past the bubble. For other players it may be bluffing an opponent off a hand. For me my biggest struggle in an MTT is closing out the tournament and winning it.

I’ve won MTT’s in the past but more recently winning seems to be more of a challenging task. However despite not having much recent success winning MTT’s recently I don’t get frustrated.

The reason I don’t get frustrated is because when entering an MTT I always make a small list of goals that I give myself. These goals are realistic and by reaching them it does help build some confidence.

One example of a realistic goal is to make it to the first break of an MTT. In my opinion reaching that goal is very doable and more often then not I reach that goal.

From there if we are not already in the money then making the money will be my next goal. Other goals after that may include finishing in the top 20 or the top 10 etc…

An example of an unrealistic goal is if you’ve never played in an MTT before but your goal is to win it. Most likely that won’t happen.

By giving yourself realistic goals it can help you see how your playing and if your meeting those goals. If your reaching your goals more often than not you are playing well and you might want to consider making goals that are more difficult to reach. If your not reaching your goals often it can be an indication that there is a leak in your game and that you need to make adjustments at the table.

What are some MTT goals that you set for yourself?



There is only 1 goal I set for myself whenever playing poker, MTT or cash: Make the best decisions available to me at the time. Sometimes this will mean I bust out very early and sometimes it will result in success. Results don’t matter because we cannot control them. Our actions are the only things within our control. When I review how I played, I’m just as concerned with a poor decision that led to a good result as I am with one that led to busting out.

I think many people would find that switching their focus and expectations from results to process will lead them to play better poker and enjoy it more. The results will take care of themselves.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference” - Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity prayer
I think its used in AA but it just seems like good advice all around :slight_smile:


I have a definite way of playing tournaments and I have won the last 2 tournaments I played in, yesterday and the day before, for a net profit of 28 million chips, so it seems to work reasonably here, if I have a bit of luck.

Let’s say you start with 5000 chips. The first target is to get to 6000 chips by winning a number of small pots while the blinds are low.

If this fails and my stack falls below 3500 chips, I am immediately looking for a chance to get all in before the flop against one opponent and double my stack before I become a complete lame duck.

So now I am back in the 6000-7000 range and will play a mixed game until the one-hour break. It is not a good idea to set reaching one hour as a target, because this is too easy. You need to set your target of reaching the one-hour break and being in the top half of the field.

After the break the blinds will be escalating and it will be much harder to limp in to see cheap flops from out of position. You need to tighten up and only enter pots in which you have hands that have at least some capacity to make top pair on the flop. I would not call raises with small pairs here, because you do not have the odds and need to conserve chips to intimidate opponents.

At this stage you may pick up big pots if you get into a hand with a big stack who has been playing very aggressively and hit something on the flop, then feign weakness and check raise him when he (or she) bluffs. If he or she is a player who has got a large stack by hitting winners on the river by calling everything when the blinds are low, this may be time for his/her luck to turn.

Down to the last two tables, and you need to keep a constant eye on the leaderboard open in another window and seize pots any time your stack sinks into the bottom half. It is important to keep your stack large enough that even the biggest stacks do not want to mess with you unless they have the nuts and they will not call with draws if you shove the flop.

On the final table, you need to try to understand what the tactical plan of each opponent is, how they play and so on. And then smash them.

This hand is the type that is crucial to get into position to win tournaments: I went on the win this one last night.

Note that I had the flush draw, so that reduced the chance that my opponent had the nut flush. Also note that I did not shove the river, because I wanted to keep opponent in an area of uncertainty and not discourage a call. She may have had AQ, I don’t know.

On this hand, on the final table, my opponent did not appear to be looking for a call and since he had limped in and I had given no indication of a powerful hand preflop, because i had no desire to raise the tournament leader preflop and then have him raise me all in with my OK, but not a killer hand, which I would have to fold. On the flop I thought it was likely that he had top pair and a lesser kicker, or even second pair, or even something like a smaller pocket pair. I think if he had made trips he would have flat called my flop bet.

One you have got to that position, it should be plain sailing, but you may still need to trick your opponents a bit to get their chips.

And then to finish them off, a bit of luck never hurts and when I flopped quads, I was fairly confident that I had the measure of my opponent, and so it proved to be.

There is one goal and it is the same as the goal of any other competition: to do as well as you can, and try to win.

Strategy does change depending on various factors that change over the course of a tournament, but the goal is always the same: to win the tournament.

I usually screw it up, or get screwed, but that’s neither here nor there.

I try to win a lot of hands, expecially when the blinds are big…this goal helps me win tournments