In Depth Look At The Full Tilt Poker $250k Guaranteed Sunday Major + Other Big Weekend Tournaments
We all know that Full Tilt poker has guaranteed tournaments every day, but the biggest and best, the Full Tilt Poker $250k Guaranteed Tournament happens every Sunday at 18:00 EST. This tournament is unique, allowing re-entries - you can buy-in again if you bust early. The best thing of all about this game is that satellite qualifiers get hundreds of players cheap tickets every week. This article covers the 'Major' first, including a strategy overview. I'll mention some of the other bigger buy-in weekend tournaments after this, including the awesome Sunday Brawl!
Full Tilt Poker Sunday Major - Quick Overview
The buy-in for the Full Tilt Poker $250k guaranteed Sunday MTT is $200+15, for a real shot at career-changing money. As a guaranteed tournament, the structure is more favorable than a lot of full tilt poker tournaments. Here, you start with 5,000 chips and can buy-in late with entry open up to the 10th blind level. This deeper stacked setup gives you a lot of play for your money, though you'll find plenty of players who appear to be trying their hardest to give away their chips! The ability to take advantage of the re-entry option (you get to buy-in again if you bust within those first 10 levels) depends on your bankroll.
Full Tilt's Major starts at 13:30 ET, which is 18:30 GMT / 19:30 CET (remember, the Summertime change-overs happen on different dates!). In the hours leading up to the event, the Satellites tend to get much busier - with both SNG and MTT qualifiers available ranging from $2.20c through to $75. You can win multiple seats (you get Tournament Dollars which can be used for any event), in fact FTP encourage you to do this... with a challenge set up to see who can win the most entries which includes extra prizes. If you have accumulated Full Tilt Points for real money play you can also use these to enter some satellites.
What Types of Players Enter?
All types of players enter this weekly guaranteed tournament, from the best non-US players in the world to the average player that just considers it a weekly shot at the big money. After all, anybody can win on any given day, that’s what’s so great about online poker right?
Most of the Full Tilt Poker pro’s also enter this tournament, and a lot of the best “unknowns” in the world play this tournament every Sunday (along with every other Sunday major). Don’t be concerned though, Full Tilt's great poker satellites system feeds plenty of smaller stakes poker fans and recreational players into this game - I would say the standard of play in the early stages is more like a regular $10 to $20 tournament, as we go on the game naturally gets tougher. If you are not yet comfortable with higher stakes games then a tool like tournament shark can be a great help in letting you know who are the winning players (and losers!). Check out my review of this cool tool here.
Full Tilt Poker $250k Guaranteed Strategy – Early Stages
In the early stages of the 250k guaranteed tournament, tight is right. A lot of the big time players are looking to double up early on, and playing a bit loose as the buy-in is not a significant portion of their poker bankroll. You will be able to bet your big hands for value, and extract chips on every street when you feel you have the best hand. Small pairs and high implied-odds hands like suited connectors have a lot of value early on, since you can build a big pot when you hit a monster hand. Within the first two rounds, you should be able to get a good grasp of how to label the players at your table.
The loose aggressive players are playing to accumulate a big chip-stack, you will want to exercise pot control while still betting your hands for value.
The tight players will be easily exploitable, as their normal tight/aggressive game has probably become tight/weak or tight/passive by playing outside of their normal range of buy-ins. These players will be easy to put on a range both pre-flop and after the flop, so do not hesitate to continuation bet AK or AQ on a missed flop, you will easily buy them out of an under-pair and probably even get them to fold a big draw. In fact, spotting players who have not played in a big tournament before will often locate 'scared money' - remember to fold when they start playing back.
QQ, KK, and AA we want to play very aggressively at this early stage of the Full Tilt 250k guaranteed tournament. It wil be almost impossible to get a 5k chip stack into the middle if you slowplay the early rounds - and you can easily avoid tipping people off that you have a big hand by betting your missed high card hands too. a double-up would be nice, however it is not the be-all-and-end-all of the early stages here. You should instead focus on taking those pots which are not strongly contested and playing your hands for value. Remember, if you do not take the chips from the bad players early, they will be much harder to extract from the better players later!
Full Tilt Poker $250k Guaranteed Strategy – Middle Stages To Bubble
Great job! By this point, we should be in a pretty good rhythm, we are mixing up our play and we have paid close attention to our table image and the playing styles of other players. Now is the time to decide if you want to accumulate a big stack and play for the win or get “in the money” and hope to get lucky after that. Remember in the money means you still have around 300 people to beat if you are going to win!
If you can grow a big stack, your tight aggressive image to this point should make it easier to steal blinds and antes, but if you do get caught stealing you will need to re-establish that image.
Personally, this is the stage I like to try to open my game and take some coin flips and 60/40 type situations, as I like to play tournaments to win. Remember, one win at this guaranteed tournament is worth 200+ times the minimum pay out! Simply put, you can win once for every 200 times you just “make the money” so I say go for it!
I will probably welcome a 'race' with 88 and up or AQ and AK, but I’m not quite ready to put it all in with AJ or 77 and below just yet. Of course, being the aggressor and not the caller in the hand where possible gives you additional ways to win the pot. Chip stack sizes dictate your play, remember it is easy to get 'committed' to a pot by calling raises, particularly in that dangerous 17 to 25 times the big blind zone. Restealing is not just a 'fancy move' any more, it is very hard to win without it - pick the right opponents and situation and you can add a lot of chips to your stack without the risk of a showdown. Remember, big stacks can often afford to gamble and short stacks are often desparate for a double-up, make sure you pick on the mid-stacks to avoid risks you would have preferred not to have taken.
The bubble of a Sunday Major is a unique occasion in poker. Many players will be suddenly faced with more prize money than they have ever seen before - especially those who won their entry in a satellite qualifier. This makes the money bubble very easy to steal chips at. Since the more experienced players will know this, you will find a lot of people raising light to steal from those recreational types. This gives you opportunities to re-steal from them, picking up valuable chips.
Full Tilt Poker $250k Guaranteed Tournament Strategy – In the Money Play and the Final Table
Congratulations, you played a great game. By this point, you got lucky a few times, sucked out on someone more than once, bluffed yourself into more than few chips, and picked off someone else’s poorly timed bluff.
Now it’s time to win, the real money is at the tournament’s final table and you will need chips to get there. At this point, I’m playing with a guaranteed profit already, so I’m trying to get my chips into the pot with any edge I have. You will find me re-shoving with 20 big blinds into a stack of 15 big blinds with a marginal edge, even with pocket deuces if I think it is the best hand. I’m willing to call smaller stack all ins with 66 and up, and even as weak as Q10 suited or better, I want to accumulate a monster stack and I can take a suck out (or better yet serve one up) without being knocked out of the tournament.
Be careful though, most people in this tournament will also know this, and they will in turn call (and shove) on you with a wider range than at previous stages in the tournament.
As you get down to the final two tables, you will find yourself shorthanded for as many as two rounds. Don’t die a slow death here, you must steal and re-steal blinds in order to keep or grow your current stack. Tight players will wonder how there stack of 20 BB’s went to nothing in just a few hands, but the action moves fast and you won’t see many flops without committing most of your chips.
Pick your spot, commit to your read, and get your chips in the pot if you think you have an edge. If a position steal goes wrong, swallow your pride and fold. If you find yourself with less than 15 big blinds, you need to be shoving anytime it’s folded around to you and hope for some fold equity. If you run into a big hand, cross your fingers and hope to get lucky.
Finally, the final table! If you made it this far, you have won a good chunk of money. Play will tighten up here as for the most part you are back to playing some deep stack poker. The blinds will get huge in a couple rounds here, and you will probably get down to six players fairly quickly……tighten up a bit, but be very aggressive with your edges, letting others knock each other out is a significant increase in your payday, so be patient if your stack size allows you.
If you are less than 15 big blinds, again, look for a good spot to get it in and hope to double up. If you have 25 or more big blinds, we want to make it a goal to get to the top three places where all the money is……this is huge. As players get knocked out you can loosen up and widen your range and take a few flips. Remember, the patient and aggressive player will usually win this tournament, so be that player! Other than what I’ve already said here, standard SNG strategy typically applies at the final table.
Check out the awesome software and game selection at Full Tilt Poker for yourself - and good luck in the $250k Gtd!!
Other Big Sunday Tournaments At Full Tilt Poker
There are plenty of bigger buy-in tournaments going on at Full Tilt, especially if you include their cool events like the FTOPS (which is a 2-week event featuring daily big-buy in tourneys). Here is a selection of other games which you should definitely try out!
- The Sunday Brawl: This has to be my favorite Sunday Major - this is a big buy-in Knockout Tournament, where you get a bounty payment for every player you knock out of the game in addition to the prize pool. This is a $240+$15 game ($40 for each knockout is credited to your account immediately). There is a guaranteed prize pool of $200,000 each week and the kick-off time is 10:30 ET each Sunday.
- The Sunday Mulligan: I actually don't know where the name comes from for this event, this is a later starting game, kicking off at 16:00 ET with a $200+$15 buy-in and $50k guaranteed prize pool.
Rather than turn this into a huge long list, I'll leave it with the biggest events and direct you over to FullTiltPoker.com for the entire listing!