The Final Table: Part 1

The end goal of any poker tournament is to win it all and the road that that runs straight through the final table.

There are many different strategies that potentially can come in to play depending on the setup up of the tournament and how the payouts work.

The mini FTOPS tournaments I have been playing a lot on Full Tilt Poker for instance get you a ticket in to the next level tournament and the more players there are the more tickets they have. For the sake of argument I’m going to say there are 4 tickets into the tournament which means that if you finish in the top 4 you all get the same prize and places 5 th and 6th get about 3 or 4 times their entry fee back so you really want to get into the top 4 on this one.

So how do you do it?

Well first of all lets look at the make up of the table one more time

There are 9 players at the table.

For the sake of argument lets say 1st through 4th all get $100 and entry fee was $5

5th gets $30 and 6th gets $20

7th through 9th get nothing

So once we know where we want to finish the next thing is devising a plan and that really depends on the chip stacks of you and your opponents and their position relative to you.

1. 100,000

2. 80,000

3. 30,000

4. 60,000 You

5. 140,000

6. 30,000

7. 60,000

8. 10,000

9. 20,000

Blinds are at 500/1000 with a 125 ante and go up every 15 minutes, meaning the short stack has only 10 Big Blinds left and every round there will be 2,625 in the pot before the small blind completes.

Next level of blinds will be 750/1,500

The first thing we know is that the Short Stack (SS) will have very little room to manuver and will likely only have two moves, shove it all in the middle or fold.

Seat nine isn’t that far off that either, but with the SS to his right he might not have to worry as much about blind stealing as other players.

Because you have the big stack on your right you most likely won’t be stealing any blinds tonight, more the opposite in fact, you are going to have to fold a lot of your small blinds that you normally might want to play for fear of playing against the Big Stack out of position.

So the first thing you notice is that you can almost make it into the money with the chip position you have. You are tied for 4th in chips right now so as long as you can outlast the other player with 60,000 and prevent anyone else from leap frogging you the money is as good as in the bank.

Yeah right.

Anything can happen in poker and remember it is costing you almost $3,000 a rotation in chips just to sit there and fold. If you can’t defend or steal at least one set of blinds per go round you run the risk of missing the money. The longer the tournament goes the higher the blinds become as a proportion of your stack and the faster they come around as you lose players.

So what’s the plan then?

In my opinion there are many things that you need to consider at the same time and we can go through them one by one so as to get into a bit more depth in each with different situations.

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