Playing The End Game Of A Poker Tournament

If you made it this far in the poker tournament and have reached the final table, then well done, you have outlasted a really big field, and every remaining player in the tournament is guaranteed a portion of the total prize pool.

In most cases multi table tournaments will typically pay the top 10% of the field, and around 30% of the prize money will be offered to the winner. So, if you were playing a large buy-in MTT with $1,000,000 guaranteed, then at least $300,000 would go to the eventual winner.

Obviously your eyes should be on the first prize. Even if you have done well to run deep and make it to the final table you’re going to have to work a bit more in order to claim the top prize and win some life changing money.

Here are some tips you can use to give yourself every chance of claiming the first prize money that is offered for winning the tournament. In order to do this, you need to play the end game of the tournament well.

Attack The Smaller Stacks

If you are lucky enough to have reached the end game phase of the tournament with a healthy chip stack, then you really want to make good use of this cheap lead by exploiting the smaller stacks at the table. First of all, you need to identify the large stacks and smaller stacks at the final table so you know which players can severely hurt your stack. You have the short stacks at the table covered and they will generally be waiting around for a premium hand to hopefully double up.

As a bigger stack, you can attempt to steal their blinds when it’s folded around to you in late position. They’re basically in shove/fold mode so will fold a lot of the time if a player has shown strength unless of course they wake up with a strong hand. If you get caught in the act of stealing their blinds with a weaker hand, don’t call their shove if they move all-in, since they will typically have you dominated and you don’t want to double them up and let go of your commanding chip lead in the tournament. Of course, if the shove is only for a few big blinds then you will be priced in to call.

With that being said, don’t let this stop you from being aggressive and looking to constantly add chips to your stack. By upping the aggression during the end game of the tournament, you get to capitalize on the tighter players at the table, which you should have been able to identify during the earlier phases of the tournament, allowing you to improve your chip stack and chances of taking down the tournament.

When dealing with aggressive players, which is common in the more aggressive online poker tournaments, they will be looking to bully the table, especially if they have big stacks, since they know this is the optimal strategy. Therefore, you want to avoid big confrontations with them unless you have a big hand, but if you’re fairly short stacked, you’re going to have to pick good spots to move all-in over their attempted blind steals, otherwise you risk getting blinded out of the tourney.

Some Final Thoughts

Overall, the final table play in a poker tournament doesn’t differ greatly from the middle stages as the blinds increase and sometimes the antes come into play. It is essential that you are aware of the bubble during the later stages of the tournament, you want to be the one taking advantage of the players who are tightening up too much to simply try and make the money.

During the tournament end game, sit back and observe which players it will be easy to steal the blinds from then others. But as more and more players bust out of the tournament, eventually there will only be a few players remaining in the tournament. At the later stages, the button moves around the table pretty quickly. Therefore, you’re going to get blinded out of the tournament a lot quicker, so you should decrease the tightness of your starting hand requirements.

When all is said and done, playing multi table tourneys can take several hours to be decided, so just scraping into the money is going to be a big waste of time. Use winning MTT strategies that will help you to get to the final table with a big stack and a great shot at winning.