I have in the past played HU microstakes with some degree of success. I've experienced the advantage of being able to put in a huge volume, but I'm also a bit tired of the high rake/low edge of these games. I would like now to shift my attention towards MTTs, but first I want to study the risk/benefit trade-off.

It is well-known that prize structure plays an important role there and high variance is expected in the results. However, I've also heard that MTT tournament provides the maximum ROI for the best players, so it can be worth it.

What I would like to ask you is, how big of a ROI is it possible to get from playing, let's say for the sake of example, €3-€10 online MTTs? Also, how much and what type of training would be needed to achieve different ROIs?

Finally, if someone has some statistical data (like an estimation of the standard deviation of the reuslts), that would be appreciated as well.

1 Answer 1


I'm supposing here you are a solid winning player.

ROI and standard deviation will vary from one MTT to another, because a two-tables 18 players or a satellite is nothing like an important net event that gather a thousand entries. The latter will have more ROI but also significantly more variance. You can check simulations on this variance calculator

Usually, MTTs are something you do "on the side" because of the constraints of the format: they impose long sessions at given hours and may not be suited for heavy multitabling. And of course, subject to significant variance: this is why, in my humble opinion you should reason with MTTs as what is an acceptable loss for your bankroll (probably 1/100th) rather than thinking of it as grinding potential.

That being said, MTT attract a lot of casual players appealed by various aspects of it. Low stakes MTT players argue a realistic ROI expectation is between 20 and 30% for low stakes and under 20% for buy-ins above 10€. It's without doubt the highest edge to rake ratio of all poker formats. As with all winrate ratios, precise data are hard to gather, though : they depend of the player, of the field, and would necessitate a ridiculously huge sample for accuracy.

As for training, an important specific thing to train accurately in MTT is push and call ranges, with regards to ICM. You can run specific ICM simulations online or use SNG software to get to the concept. Other than that it's a lot about playing a winning poker style, that you should probably already know how to do.

  • Thank you for your answer! I was referring mainly to 100+ players tourneys. The problem I see is that, if MTTs are something I can just do as a side-task, then it's not really worth it, as it will be almost impossible to reach the "long-term" and the effort needed to reach an OK level would be better spent elsewhere. However, if I can get a 20% ROI on €10 tournamments while 10-tabling, it's still possible to earn a reasonable amount of money, don't you think?
    – David
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 14:15
  • 1
    @David It depends where you play but I find difficult to align 10 tables at the hours I play for the buy-in I want of 100+ players tourneys, which is why I usually only have 0-2 carefully selected MTT rolling during my sessions. If you treat winning holistically and not per format you don't mind much "not reaching long term" MTT winnings can compensate STT/CG loss and vice versa. ROI is appealing but dont forget a MTT can last up to 3-4 hours so return on time investment is probably not looking as good especially if you pick lower buy-ins to fill tables.
    – Diane M
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 16:13
  • @David The more tables you add the less ROI you can expect from each one.
    – Jonast92
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 16:40
  • @Jonast92 I understand. For what amount of tables are the previous ROI estimations supposed to work?
    – David
    Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 13:09
  • A friend of mine who has put a lot of hours into studying the game has about 30% ROI online and I believe he's usually in the area of 8 tables. 6-9 tables seems to be the most common one. There's nothing wrong with playing more if you have enough edge with your auto robotic game but most players find that they are better of playing fewer tables and actually have time to think about ranges. At the same time Jonathan little believes that a live pro can expect something in the ballpark for 200% ROI live, which makes sense since you get more time to think and generally a softer field.
    – Jonast92
    Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 13:42

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