Late Tournament Strategy

When you are in the money and have made a profit in a poker tournament, you have to look for spots that will make you more money, and allow you to accumulate chips going in to the final table. If you pick spots wisely then you will certainly have a bunch of chips and you will also be seated at that final table with a good chance of winning the poker tournament. To accumulate chips you have to win some races down the long haul of the tournament, but also you have to play very solid poker. If you stray too far away from a plan that you have, you could be watching a final table from the rail. When you are down to the final two tables this is when you have to buckle down and try hard to not magnify every decision you make. If you are playing well and reading situations well then there should be no reason why you don’t excel at the end of poker tournaments. Every player at the table is tired and worn down and you should look to jump all over the weaker players and exploit every wrong move that they make.

Once you have reached the final table you can first breathe a sigh of relief then also you should look to capitalize on your situation. There are not too many players out there that make final tables on a day to day basis and this is a great accomplishment, but a better accomplishment is to win the tournament. How to go about this is by understanding your table and know what players are going to do before they do it. If you can think two or three steps ahead of the other players at your table then you will have a huge advantage as far as when to put your chips in the middle. The blinds are very huge at this point and every pot is significant. You shouldn’t look to put chips in the middle if you aren’t 100% positive that you can win the pot with a showdown or that you know you have the best hand. If you want to steal pots and outplay your opponents it is a big risk at a final table because all it takes is one player to make a big call, and your day will be over. Even though every decision is magnified at final tables the big adjustment that most players don’t make is to alter their hand ranges as it gets shorthanded.

When the table is down to five players or six players you will find that most players aren’t changing how they play. If a player is loose and aggressive they will continue to be loose and aggressive. If a player is passive they will continue to be passive and wait for hands. To run over a table 5 or 6 handed, you should look to attack weak players and avoid strong players. If the whole table is filled with tough players then it is up to you on how to approach the table. The best bet is to play pots in position consistently and apply pressure using 3 bets before the flop. The weak players or weak hands most often fold to strong 3 bets before the flop. If your opponent has a big hand they will probably just move all-in before the flop.

When you get down to 3 handed play the game changes considerably from a full table or even from a 5 or 6 handed table. You should put in a raise before the flop at almost every opportunity that you get. The reason for this is because you will force folds a high percentage of the time and also you will get action once you have hands. If you give action 3 handed then you will get action. The hardest part of winning a tournament is beating 3 handed play. Most times players at this stage of a tournament are in the zone per say and it is tough to run them over. The best players are the ones left and you should keep this in mind. If you want to win a poker tournament you should almost never fold a pocket pair three handed unless you really think that your opponent has a premium pair or better holding. Often times AK or AQ looks like AA or KK. The hands play virtually the same way and you have to win coin flips to win tournaments, so you should probably make calls more times than not with hands like 55 or 66.