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 [...] Continue Reading…

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Poker Players and Retirement

When comparing pro poker players to the general population, you wouldn’t exactly say that they are tight with their money.  In fact, many pro poker players are as loose with their money away from the table as they are on it.  However, just like everyone else, poker players are going to get old some day and are also going to want to stop (or at least cut down) on their work.  And whether that line of work is still poker or something else, they need to set themselves up for retirement no matter how much money they’re making.

One great way for a professional grinder to set them self up for retirement is through a SEP IRA or Keogh plan.  These are both great ways for poker players to begin collecting retirement because these plans are set up specifically for the self employed.  Plus a person can put up to $40,000 a year in SEP IRA’s and $46,000 in Keogh plans which is another plus for poker players that really rake in cash.

CD’s are an excellent way for poker players to make some short-term money to add to their retirement fund.  With a CD, people can invest in 3-12 month plans which will provide around a 3-4% return and they’re excellent to combine with long-term retirement plans.

One more great choice for a poker player’s retirement plan is municipal bonds because these make tax-free interest and that’s a huge plus in the stock market.  Municipal bonds are also a very safe investment - especially when the stock market isn’t doing so well.

The bottom line is that even poker players need to have something put away for when they’re older and it’s never too late to start up some kind of retirement plan.

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Relevancy of Doyle Brunson’s Super System

The other day I was at a friend’s apartment who happens to play online poker professionally and noticed that he was trying to balance his chair with a book.  The chair had lost one of its wheels so it was off-centered, but my friend had placed a Doyle Brunson’s Super System book underneath the missing wheel to keep it on track.  As you can imagine, the Super System book wasn’t exactly in the best shape since it was being used to balance the chair.

I asked him why he was using Doyle Brunson’s Super System to balance the chair and he said, “That’s about all it’s good for.”  Next I asked him if he found anything useful in it still to which he replied, “It’s got some decent basic stuff.”  This whole conversation and episode got me thinking about whether or not Super System still has much relevancy in today’s poker game.

When Super System came out in 1979, it was monumental to poker players since no decent poker strategy books had been written at that time.  Sure there were books, but the knowledge contained in them was so bad that it was laughable.  High profile poker personalities such as Mike Caro, Chip Reese, Bobby Baldwin, Joey Hawthorne, and David Sklansky all collaborated with Brunson to make the book the masterpiece it turned out to be.

And while it may be a masterpiece, I feel that the poker world has definitely passed by the information contained in Super System.  Sure you can read through all of Super System and learn more than 60% of the other poker players out there (since most of them can’t finish any strategy book), but you’d be hard-pressed to beat the players that actually make money today.

Poker has evolved in such a way that advice from the late 1970’s is not going [...] Continue Reading…

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Pros Complain about WPT Foxwoods

It isn’t often that you hear professional poker players publicly bashing an event - especially when it’s a World Poker Tour Event!  And, with the exception of the European Poker Tour, the WPT is the most respected year-round poker organization in the world.  But pro poker players had no trouble bashing the WPT’s most recent event known as the Foxwoods Poker Classic.

As if the shrinking numbers don’t suggest how bad the event is (last year’s field of 346 players shrank down to 259 players), people have been publicly complaining about how much WPT Foxwoods blows.  Daniel Negreanu was one of the big names who didn’t play in the tournament this year because he thinks the tournament’s tax policy is ridiculous.  He also thinks that the timing of the tourney is bad too since it runs around the same time as the online SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) event at PokerStars as well as the preliminaries for the prestigious WPT Chamipionship at the Bellagio.

Will “The Thrill” Faila is another pro that has criticized the Foxwoods tournament as he said, “The tournament sucks. The structure sucks, the tournament’s bad.  Even the satellites haven’t been as good as they normally would be.”  He also hated the fact that the staff told him he couldn’t talk during a game when the rules clearly say that you can.  Amnon Filippi also agreed the tourney is bad by saying that it’s held in the middle of nowhere and the staff is weak.

I find it interesting how so many pros dislike this event and that they’d voice their opinion to the media.  However, I also think that this could create an advantage for others since the big stars don’t want to show up.

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