In the years to come, 2020 might be remembered in the poker world as the year that online home games gripped players around the globe.
For live players who love the social element of poker, PokerStars Home Games allow us to keep up that sense of camaraderie in the absence of live games.
There’s really nothing better than getting together with friends and enjoying a game of cards over a few drinks and meandering, often regrettable, conversation. The only difference is that you and all of your friends can now do it from the comfort of your own homes. Fire up a video call and it’s just like being around your mate’s kitchen table.
But if you’ve been playing the new-look PokerStars Home Games with buddies for the past few months and you’ve become blasé about always getting bluffed by Laura and shown the nuts by David, you might be feeling the itch to apply the skills you’ve picked up against some unknown opponents.
After all, the more people you’re playing with, the larger the potential prizes.
Here’s how you can take the next step from Home Games and enter the world of PokerStars Multi-Table Tournaments (MTTs).
The breadth and depth of MTTs available on PokerStars mean there’s a tournament format and buy-in level for everyone.
Whether you have real money on your account or just Play Money chips, you’ll be able to experiment with different tournament structures and formats for free, or for as little a few cents up to a couple of bucks.
From deep stack freezeouts to hyper turbos and NLHE Bounty Builders to mixed games, you’ll find a game you enjoy.
To browse the PokerStars MTT lobby, click on All Games and then hit the Tourney tab.
You can then filter through events by variant, buy-in, format, speed, whatever you like.
If you’re somewhat new to poker, chances are your Home Games were based around one table, playing down to a winner. We call this type of game a Single-Table Tournament (STT), or a Sit & Go.
While MTTs are different (there are more players, multiple tables playing at once, and more people will reach the money) in many ways STTs are a great learning tool, particularly for final tables where the money prizes are largest.
Just by playing STTs, you’ll already have experience playing short-handed (when there aren’t many players remaining at the table), playing a variety of stack sizes, and playing money bubbles.
But MTTs take a lot longer than STTs, and there are countless interesting spots which can arise along the way.
To help you when you encounter them, you can head to PokerStars School.
The ‘Stars School has an extensive archive of MTT strategy articles and videos, shining a light on MTT concepts, examining common scenarios, and breaking down hand histories in a way that’s relatable and easy to follow.
There have never been more learning tools for MTTs than there are right now.
But arguably, the best way to learn the ebbs and flows of MTT poker is by watching streamers on Twitch.
MTT streamers show us every stage of the tournament, from the deep-stacked early stages to the best way to play eight big blinds when down to three-handed on a big final table.
If you’re not familiar with Twitch, sign up for a free account and make sure you link your account with your PokerStars account (find out how to do that here). In doing so, you’ll be in with a chance of winning plenty of free tournament tickets to the biggest events.
Then find a streamer you like and give them a follow so you’ll find out when they’re going live. If you tune in to a stream from the beginning of a session you’ll have the best chance of watching an entire MTT run.
(If you have Amazon Prime, you can also subscribe to a channel for free).
Check out the PokerStars streamers below:
Although they specialise in poker formats like Spin & Gos and Grand Tour, the OP Poker team has seen some great MTT results lately.
The highlight was James having a $1K Stadium Series final table and cashing for around $17K.
Since joining the PokerStars team of streamers back in April 2019, Georgina ‘GJReggie’ James has become a champion of micro-to-low stakes grinders. While that means she doesn’t often play for the biggest bucks on offer, it does mean that viewers can work their way up the stakes alongside her, and even play at the same tables more affordably.
Now, if you’re looking for something a little different than the poker streams you’ve seen in the past, then Tom ‘MajinCast’ Hayward is your guy.
Arguably poker’s most innovative streamer, the New Zealander is even inspiring the likes of Lex Veldhuis. “His use of technology is insane,” Veldhuis told us. “He’s incredible, and he’s teaching me a lot about that stuff.”
If you’re a mixed game aficionado who only tunes in to watch No Limit Hold’em when the stakes are high, Mason ‘Pyefacepoker’ Pye will be the streamer for you. He’s a mixed game specialist grinding his way up on PokerStars/
While the Europeans are asleep, Arlie ‘Prince Pablo’ Shaban is often found hard at work on PokerStars and Twitch, where he plays the evening schedule in Canada.
If you’re in the mood for some high-energy streaming, Shaban’s the man.
If you’re a German speaker and you’re reading this blog post, you’ll no doubt already be familiar with Felix ‘xflixx’ Schneiders. If you’re an English speaker and you haven’t checked out his stream, you’re missing out. This guy does it all, with style.
The ability to switch from German to English (depending on his audience size) means Xflixx can provide a small community feel whilst playing in front of a big crowd.
Viel Glück, Felix!
Spraggy is arguably the funniest of all the poker streamers out there. I mean, you’ve seen his tracksuits, right? If you like your humour drier than a Q♣7♦2♠ flop, he’s your guy.
He’s pretty damn good at poker too so you’ll definitely want to tune in, watch his play, and learn some new tricks.
With his first SCOOP title and a third-place finish in a Stadium Series event under his belt in 2020, it’s been quite a year for Fintan ‘EasyWithAces’ Hand.
For finger wags, lucky duckies, and the occasional glimpse of Arlo (Hand’s dog), make sure you tune in to the EasyWithAces stream.
He’s the biggest streamer in all of Twitch poker, and arguably the best to ever do it.
So often Lex ‘L. Veldhuis’ Veldhuis delivers on the biggest stages in online poker, and he’s built a community so loyal and welcoming that several times a year they fly halfway across the world to hang out with each other.
As he plays a lot of the high stakes events, Veldhuis’ stream is where you want to be if you’re looking to learn and take your game to the next level.