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Guide to Final table


If you reach the final table you can’t keep playing like you did earlier in the tournament. Special strategies and moves are needed in this stage of the game, because of the extraordinary circumstances final tables offer. The blinds are normally very high, and you’re either in, or very close to, the money. Inexperienced players often get intimidated when they reach a final table and normally use one of two strategies: they move all-in with every hand or try to check-fold their way in to the money (or to more money).

The all-in strategy

Moving all-in with every hand normally works for a while but it’s obviously a very risky strategy. Eventually another player will hit a good hand and the tournament will be over. On the other hand this way of playing may take a player very far if he or she is extremely lucky. There are examples of absolute beginners winning big poker tournaments.

Check-folding into the money

The chance of a beginner outplaying the more skilled poker players at the final table is very slim. Check-folding is a strategy that might help an inexperienced player move up a place or two on the money ladder. The other players might realize what’s going on, but since they are aiming to win the tournament, they will keep playing their game, and thus eliminate one another.

Mixing the strategies

A mix of the two mentioned strategies is actually a good approach. A really simple formula is applicable - play 1/x % of the hands; X = number of people seated. For instance, you should play one in two hands when you’re heads-up against another player. If you are overwhelmed by the rest of the table’s skill then you should move all-in with one in x hands. The downside to going all in on a regular basis is naturally that you will tend to get called by people with better hands. Once your rivals at the table figure out the frequency with which you are going all in they will wait for a hand that falls in the 30th percentile and then call. Like wise you can use this tactic when you’re facing players who appear to be playing an all-in game.