Hopefully, if you’ve made it to the final table of a poker online tournament, you have at least the average amount of chips because chip power in a tournament is a better advantage than card power, though we all know you won’t always have the chips. Players, who have barely made it to the final table and are short-stacked, will be hoping to just fold their way through to cash in higher a place.
If you have decent online poker real money chips, though, you’ll be able to loosen up and take risks. In fact, it necessary that you be bold in your final table actions, but play smartly just the same. Get the short-stacked players to go all-in when you have a strong hand in order to get rid of them for good. Each player who you knock out is significant at this point in the tournament. Go for the small chips first, though, as the bigger stacks are dangerous to you unless you have the nuts.
Stay out of multi-way pots
Another way to stay in a poker online final table is to stay out of multi-way pots. If you have a strong hand, then go ahead and play it, but think twice about getting in the middle of two other players’ pot. Let them battle it out because one will get knocked out (or short-stacked, and then you can go after him).
Furthermore, you shouldn’t think of your best online poker chips as cash (like in a cash game). In a tournament, your chips should be considered a tool used to further advance you. Whereas the early stages of a tournament are a time to play tighter and amass your chips slowly, just making sure you remain in the game, the end stage of a tournament is the time to gamble and get more aggressive. At some point, you have to take a risk with your chips or the blinds will break you, which is a much less honorable way to go out. If you’re short-stacked, use what you have to get back in the game before you fizzle out on blinds. If it doesn’t payout, you can’t say you didn’t try… better luck next time.
Research well before playing
One of the biggest secret advantages you can take with you to the final table of a tournament is research. Three tables out from the final table, begin profiling your opponents with the assumption that you will be at the final table with each one of them. Make a mental file on each player by watching each one closely, noting each player’s playing style. Watch for aggressive play, bluffs, and out-of-the-ordinary bets. Knowing a little bit about what you are up against and how to attack when you do reach the final table will give you an immediate edge against your opponents.
Also, while studying your opponents, identify which ones are playing to win. Of course, everyone is there to take the first-place title and prize, but many players’ first priority is to move up the pay scale. A valuable final table strategy is to locate which players are playing to win and which ones are just trying to move up the pay ladder. Make sure and get into a lot of pots with the timid players who are not likely to take risks. On the other hand, those players who are in it to win it, who do have the nerve to gamble for the sake of winning the tournament, should only be provoked if you have a strong hand; otherwise, stay out of their way for as long as possible.
Note opponent’s chip stack
Also, take account of each player’s chip stack because this can provide insight into how they will play poker in the final table. Small-stacked players will be desperate and go all-in with not-so-strong hands; big-stacks will bully the table by raising on less than strong hands. Be sure to check your own chip stack too and don’t fall into one of these stereotypes. Be an enigma to your opponents. Also, figure out how many times your chip stack can afford to pay the blinds before you go broke, and adjust your play accordingly to looser or tighter.
Ultimately, if you make it to the end, you’ll have to go heads up against one other player. Heads-up play can be a challenge for some players who are used to a full table. Practice heads-up games in advance to prepare yourself for this moment. If your confidence, cards, chip stack, and chance hold up, you’ll win.
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