Barry Carter explains why some midstakes MTTs get more runners than their equivalent small stakes MTTs online.

small stakes
Small stakes does not always mean small bankroll

When you have been around poker for a long time you find some odd things interesting. Something I started to notice towards the end of last year is that on the smaller sites, some midstakes tournaments got more runners than their equivalent event at the small stakes.

I can’t summon any exact ones from memory, but for example a €50 event in a series with a €10,000 guarantee would easily beat the guarantee, but a €10 event with the same structure starting at the same time with a €2,000 guarantee would overlay. This goes against a common sense logic that would assume there are more small stakes players and thus the smaller event should get more runners.

I had a very interesting interview with an industry expert that you should see later this month where we discussed this. I offered my suggestion that there was more mobility among midstakes grinders. They were more likely to have bankrolls on lots of sites and would pick the best games for their bankroll, while smaller stakes players are more likely to stick to a single poker room.

$50 is the sweet spot

wsop
A $50 bracelet event happened at GGPoker

He entertained that idea but offered a more educated one, which was simply that it was much easier to provide an attractive value proposition at the $20-$70 buy-in level. You can put a generous guarantee on those levels and there are enough players bankrolled for them that it won’t overlay. Players don’t mind grinding these MTTs for a long time only to mincash, and perhaps more than anything it is the first prize that attracts them to an event, not their own bankroll management requirements. 

It makes perfect sense. Most grinders in western countries do not want to spend nine hours grinding a $10 MTT with a $400 first prize, they certainly do not want to commit two days to them or lose sleep if it is a very long affair. It seems midstakes is that ‘sweet spot’ for a big portion of grinders where they can afford to play and the top prizes are enticing. 

He also pointed out that almost every poker rooms biggest daily field is in their $50 (ish) bounty event. In recent years we have started to see major MTTs with seven-figure guarantees at the $50 buy-in level, we have even seen a bracelet event for fifty bucks. $50 is the most ‘elastic’ buy-in level where people bankrolled for it have a real luxury of choice.

$5 MTTS are not the same as $25 MTTs, but $50k events are the same as $250k events

US
Once you can afford one High Roller you can play them all

You can see this ‘elastic’ phenomenon at other buy-in levels too, thanks to staking. It’s quite difficult for most players to sell action for something like a $1,000 buy-in live event, but once they can they can easily sell action for a $5,000 and maybe a $10,000 tourney. After that it slows down again, but once a player can frequent the $25,000 buy-in events they can think about selling action for $50k, $100k and $250k events.

Once you can sell action for a $50k, you can easily sell action for a $250k, as bizarre as that sounds. Just look at the runners for the US Poker Open events, the drop off from one buy-in level to the next does not correlate with the relative difference in buy-in size.

The big lesson is that bankroll management does not determine the games most people play, as long as it is within the confines of BRM then first prize and/or perceived edge is the factor that good professionals go by. I’ll leave you with this excellent blog by Dara O’Kearney that explains his own thought process on this:

My screens are like real estate that I try to fill with 12 boxes at all times. I don’t think of them as tournaments: they are just boxes on the screen. I give each box the same amount of attention without being aware whether it’s a Super Tuesday box or a 10 rebuy.

It’s a decision based primarily on perceived edge, believed ROI, and variance. If it’s a tossup between a 1k game where I think I only have a 2% edge and a $10 game where my long term ROI is 200%, which means my expectation in both games is about 20 bucks, then I will play the $10 game every time. It doesn’t matter if first prize in the 1k game is 100 grand and first in the $10 freezeout only pays $500. I know that in the long term I will average 20 bucks in profit every time I play either game, but my variance and risk of ruin is much lower if I stick to $10 games.

What is your Bankroll Management & Game Selection process? Let us know in the comments:





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