Tournament strategy – final table action and deal-making


Tournament strategy – final table action and deal-making

If you’re a regular MTT player and someone who regularly makes it to the final table too, you know that by this stage, luck pretty much takes over from skill as players are forced to make desperate decisions under the pressure of the escalating blinds.

 

 

Do you think the prospect of mastering the rules of Texas holdem is something that lies beyond your grasp? If so, you may want to consider the fact that for the past three years running, amateurs have won the World Series of Pokers Main Event.

This is the very reason why it makes perfect sense for pretty much every player at that final table to strike a deal. Final table deals represent decisions like any other poker decision: get them right and you secure value, get them wrong and you lose value.

Now then, even if you’re only a tournament beginner, you’re going to have to learn a thing or two about making deals at the final table, otherwise you’ll be quite clueless when faced with the situation.

The so called chip-chop is the most elementary way to split the money at the final table. It is also the easiest to understand even if you happen to be a rookie. This method is absolutely fair as it makes the chop based on the stack-size of each player at the final table. As soon as the decision to make the chop is made, play stops and the chip stacks of the players are counted.

Each of these stacks will then be calculated as a percentage of the total amount of chips left in play. Players will then receive the same percentage of the total prize-pool. It is about as performance-focused and fair as possible. Of course, those with the smaller stacks won’t always want to settle this way, hoping that they may yet build up their stacks.

The even spread is an even simpler setup, but one that is bound to lead to more complications eventually. This chop is as simple as its name shows it to be. Each of the players still involved in the game receives an equal share of the prize-pool. The fairness of this setup is rather questionable though. Obviously, those who hold bigger stacks at the final table will not be looking to settle this way, while those who hold smaller stacks will be given a huge advantage.

Last but certainly not least, there’s the free chop method. This means that players actually get down dirty and negotiate the terms of the chop right down to the last nickel. There are players who – besides being excellent at the poker table – are also excellent salesmen/negotiators. These guys have a huge advantage at final tables at which a deal is about to be struck: they’ll often walk away with a much bigger share of the prize-pool than their stack sizes would’ve entitled them to.

Whenever a player creates a way too elaborate-looking chop plan, which ultimately seems to create a huge advantage for himself, you’re likely to have happened upon one of these born negotiators. Never lose sight of the core of the issue though and don’t let yourself be short-changed by any of these subtle salesmen.

So, what factors should you consider when squaring off for a final table deal? First of all: the number of players left at the table. Generally speaking, a deal will not really be profitable for all parties involved unless there are fewer than 5 players left at the table. Once you reach that stage and someone brings up the idea of a chop, consider the following: your current stack size (the bigger it is, the more of a bargaining chip it gives you).

How your level of skill stacks up against that of your opponents (this is important because it will pretty much determine your odds of finishing higher up in the event than the chop would have you placed). The previous final table records of your opponents. If these guy are true final table sharks, your odds obviously take a hit. Also consider your momentary mental state as well as the mental state of your opponents. Your current financial situation is not something you should overlook either.


Last Updated 28 December 2016
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Final Table Tournament Strategy