No Limit Tournaments: Final Table Strategy

November 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Angus Dunnington, News, Poker School

Following our feature about cutting a path through freeroll (and general) multi-table tournaments, here are a few reminders about how we might – should we survive that far – handle the final table.

Obviously, as the tournament progresses, what will have started as a patient approach during which we concentrated on good hands and position will have gradually stepped up in pace (along with growing blinds and a decrease in players), so that we were willing to get involved with a wider ranger of hands, and not necessarily limiting our aggression to late position.

Ideally we also made a point of exploiting other players’ fear of missing out on the paid places as the bubble approached, while at the same time avoiding big, unnecessary confrontations against anyone who could knock us out of the tournament.

The problem for inexperienced players (indeed most players) who find themselves sitting at a final table is having to readjust to the dynamics and come up with a new strategy to cope with the changed situation. One mistake – unless we have a stack so tiny that the only option is to take our chance rather than passively give in by being blinded away – is that, guaranteed a decent prize but behind six or seven players on what is left of the leaderboard, we almost immediately throw caution to the wind and gamble in an effort to have one of the bigger stacks. Every final table sees this happen, usually with this player exiting with a far from strong hand when, in fact, it would have been possible to sit tight for a while and wait for genuinely favourable opportunities, only pushing all-in if it becomes absolutely necessary. Moreover, with other players – even those above us – gambling away their survival, it is not unusual to be promoted from 8th/10 to 6th or 7th/9 within an orbit or two of the final table getting under way – patience, even at this stage, remains a key part of the game.

Often such an elimination will be thanks to someone with a huge stack taking it upon themselves to go head-to-head with gambling short(er) stacks, sometimes with random, mediocre hands. It’s important – for now, at least – to forget about runaway chip leaders rather than have a go with, say, KJ after seeing them risk a few thousand of their enormous stack with 89 – unless circumstances dictate it, there’s no point being around a 60-40 favourite (KcJs v 8h9h is roughly a 60:40 match-up) if we’re healthy enough to pick our spots.

Nevertheless, as usual, we need some kind of happy medium, ideal situations being when we get involved with premium hands while someone is trying to steal, a player goes with a lesser hand or someone has reached (what they perceive to be) a critical, desperate stage.

It is imperative to keep in mind our position relative to the other players in terms of where the different size stacks are. This makes certain players safer/riskier than others, which we should factor in to the decision making process.

Throw in the occasional steals against passive players – which are easier to make if we have started the final table patiently and thus earned ourselves a solid, not-to-be-messed-with image – and it becomes much easier to pick our way through the minefield while others self-destruct around us.

By employing a patient, solid (not passive) and ultimately aggressive strategy we should be able to remain in contention until there are a handful of players and, consequently, win a bigger prize than had we initially lacked discipline. If we do manage this and find ourselves lagging so far behind the rest then, far better now to take our chances all-in and finish 5th, for example, than do the same with all ten players still in the game.

Good luck at the tables!

Angus Dunnington (AngusD at the tables)
32Red Poker Ambassador


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€750,000 GTD MEGA SUNDAY

April 21, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Don't miss 32Red's MEGA €750K GTD this Sunday!

Don't miss 32Red's MEGA €750K GTD this Sunday!

Sunday 24th April at 6pm (UK time)

Our €750,000 Guaranteed Tournament is a 2-day event and runs on a quarterly basis throughout the year, at 6pm (UK time). The tournament is played on the popular game of no-limit Texas Hold’em and offers 10,000 starting chips, 20 minute blind levels, 30 seconds response time and a 120-second time bank for those all important decisions! You can buy in directly to the tournament for €300 + €20 but there are plenty of cheap qualifying tournaments available throughout the month. The game is a ‘Freezeout’ which means that re-buys are not allowed, however late-registrations are allowed during the first two hours.