MTT Success Requires Blind Faith
Blind faith can be a pretty bad thing. You throw out all evidence against your position because your beliefs are so strong. Your faith may be misguided, but you will never see that with blind faith. Blind Faith in MTTs is a good thing though. It is actually required. You must have blind faith in your MTT/poker skills to be successful long term in MTTs. That seems a bit crazy, but it is true.
The feedback you get on your poker game in MTTs is so very, very poor. You can play well for very many MTTs and have no success at all. You can play like a total donk and win an MTT. It is pretty hard to tell if you are playing well or playing bad, as MTT results can vary so far from your actual play. The variance is just so high. Lets say that you played the 50/50 twice a week, 50 weeks out of the year, and it averaged 1000 entries. On average through average play you will win the 50/50 once every 10 years. Once every 1000 trials. Now lets say you are above average by 20%. Now you will win the 50/50 once every 8 years if you play it 100 times per year. So now you are 6 years into your quest to win the 50/50 (or the Mookie if you are Hoy), and have not got it done yet. Is this because you are good and unlucky? Is this because you are a bad player? Or, is this because you have not run enough trials yet. This answer is you have not run enough trial yet to know.
So 6 years later in the example above, or several weeks later if you are playing tons of MTTs, you start to question your game when the results are not there. It may be that your game has issues, or it may be that you have not run enough trials to overcome the variance. If your game has issues you need to fix them. If you have not run enough trials, you need to run more, and not change your game at all. If your game is good enough to be successful you MUST have blind faith in it. If your game is there already, and you tweak it because of lack of success you will make your game worse. You simply need to know that your approach to MTTs is correct, and success will follow.
So how do you know if your game is already there, even if the results are not there? This is pretty tough. I think cash game players have an advantage here. It is easier to overcome the variance, and find semi-standard situations in cash games. It is easier to prove to yourself that your game is already there, or your game needs some work in cash games. Cash game players can take this knowledge to an MTT and be convinced that at least their early (when MTTs play closest to a cash game) MTT play is correct. The next important thing to do is to analyze the hands where you got eliminated, or where you took a huge chip hit in a MTT. Was your play correct independent of the results? This is what is important. When you are playing well in MTTs, you will be eliminated on bad beats most of the time. This is a strong indication that you are playing well. If you make a move and get eliminated, was it the right move given the situation? If you jam over an early position limp with KTo from middle position, and the BB wakes up with AA was it a good move or not? This is where things get tough. The moves you made to get you where you are are the same moves that can send you to the rail. If your moves are correct, even when they fail, have blind faith in them. Trust your game and don’t change it when the MTT success is not there. That is the only way to achieve long-term success in MTTs
Am I there yet? I think I am close, but I can lose faith from time to time. In the Bodonkey last night, I was getting rivered a bit here and there, and had chipped down to around 2k about an hour or so in. Still plenty of time to recover, but not a good start at all. I picked up KK and raised the 15/30 blinds to 100. 4 callers. The flop drops Q92 rainbow, and it checks to me. I c-bet about 300, and ScottMC reraises me to 700 or so. So I have about 1600 left, and this is simply a push or fold situation. The problem here is that so many were able to see the flop, and they all had set mining odds. There is a very decent chance that I am up against a set here, and I could easily see ScottMC play a flopped set that way. MTTs are more aggressive, so over pair folds are tougher. If I have a full stack, I can fold that to Scott much easier. My stack was not full, but not desperate yet either, but against my internal warnings I push and Scott has 99 for the set and IGHN. One of my worse plays in a while in an MTT. Some justification I guess, but still not a very good play. I can make that fold and still have enough play to get back into contention if I have blind faith in my game. I also know that folding an over pair in an MTT is sometimes required to win. Had my stack been a bit smaller, I can justify the push even when it is wrong. Well there is always next week to put blind faith to the test.