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Tournament poker profitability

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  • Tournament poker profitability

    Hi all!

    So I was wondering how to think about making a profit in tournaments.

    For a hypothetical example let's take a 7.50$ tourney on pokerstars (or a ton of tourneys with an avg buy-in of 7.50$ or so)
    About 15% is paid, so mathematically you will finist ITM once in every seven tourney. To break even you need to win about 50$, but you dont, since the first ITM prizes are usually about 11$ or so.
    To win 50$ you acutally need to finist in the top 2% of the field, which will happen mathematically every 50th time you play.

    I do not really see that you could compensate that through skill level or your edge over the field.

    Let's say someone is really good and finishes ITM twice as much, so about 30% of the time. For him/her to break even he/she needs to win 3 times the buy-in, so about 22$. But to reach the 22$ payout spot you need to be in the top 10% of the field, which will happen only 1 in 5 times if we stick to our assumption that the player is twice as good as the field.
    Still no breaking even.

    And I really really doubt that anyone can finish ITM every third or even fourth time even in small stakes.

    Any opinions?
    Thanks a lot

  • #2
    This is true if the object of mtts was just to cash, but it isn't. It's to win. At the very least, the goal should be to make the final table and top 3 as that's where pay is the largest. I agree that players are going to struggle with making a profit if they only focus on cashing. I know this because I spent many years just cashing in mtts and never getting anywhere.

    This is not to say cashing is bad, because it isn't. I'm happy to cash in mtts because that just reduces the bankroll drop until my next big finish but the goal isn't to just cash. I look at cashing in mtts as a bankroll cushion, but I'm always playing to make the final table and top 3 because thats where the profit comes from.
    Last edited by apostro.phe; 06-25-2021, 07:10 PM.


    • #3
      Actually, the profitable players do not cash as often as the average 1 in 7 times. However, the good players will run deep more often. And that is where the profit comes from in MTTs.

      In a 300 player MTT where the average to top 3 is only 1%, the good players get a top 3 finish more often than the average.


      • #4
        Few notes:
        • To be significantly successful in MTTs you need to be running deep. Many of the best player in the world have worse ITM% than worse players, because the strategies that make you win the most money do so by running deep more often at the expense of not cashing as often.
        • Finishing ITM 25%-35% of the time isn't that unheard of especially if you're playing weak fields, or not being aggressive enough.
        • You're over-estimating small stakes MTT players, the population is bad lol