If you are a cash player and have recently switched to tournaments, then you have come to a right place. Let’s take an example here. You are playing a high-roller poker tournament and have reached the final table after hours of play. There were 509 entries in this tournament of which 500 are out and 9 remain. This is the first tournament where you have reached the final table and are now all ready to make your biggest-ever poker bankroll. Here are the key final table strategies that you should follow in order to maximize your returns:
Analyze Last Played Tables
It is good to have a strong sight of poker tells, that is, you should analyze your final table opponents before reaching the final table as it will help you gain an immediate edge. All you need to do is analyze the opponents when the game gets down to the last three tables. Take proper notes on the playing style of your opponents including bluffs, aggression and bet sizes because this will help you play accordingly.
Observe Who is Playing for Trophy
Are you playing texas holdem poker tournament for trophy or are you playing for that bigger prize money? Every player has a different perspective – some play for trophy and some play for prize money. So, while playing at a final table you need to figure out who is playing for first position and who is playing for bankroll building. This will help you decide your own play, for instance, you can play many hands with opponents looking forward to make a money finish while you can make big bets only with strong hands against players aiming for the first spot. Furthermore, you can also access the player stats of your opponents on sites like Poker Pro Labs.
Be Aware of Stack Sizes
While playing a poker tournament, you experience a wide range of stack sizes. It is important to keep a check on the stack sizes of your opponents when you reach the final table because players bet according to their stack size during the final table. For instance, players with smaller stack size will go All-In with medium hands in order to survive and build up their bankroll. While players with bigger stacks will raise even with worst hands to bully the table; and players with medium stack will call the pot and will make a raise only with strong hands. Further, you need to analyze your own stack size, that is, you need to calculate upto how many blinds you could pay before deciding to play loose or tight.
Practice Heads-Up Play
To be the topmost winner of the tournament, you should have the skills of knocking down your heads-up opponent. A heads-up game is a big challenge for those players who are used to playing 9-max or 6-max tables. All you need to do is practice playing SNGs- 2 max or heads-up poker play if you really want to win the trophy and thousands of dollars.
If you have reached the final table of a tournament short-handed, it is always better to make a deal. Making a deal usually works out when chip stacks are lower in comparison to blinds and antes. If you do not want to finish with lower bankroll, then it is time to negotiate a deal and share the prize money. So, you should make a deal when there is difference in prize money which is big enough to affect your play and bankroll. Though it is profitable to play the game till the end but when money makes the big difference, it is good to deal.
Thus, making to final table is a tough process but playing unprepared at the final table will cost you hundreds of dollars in live tournaments. Therefore, it is always advisable to gain some experience playing online tournaments in order to understand the dynamics of the tournament play.