As a writer and먹튀폴리스instructor I hear players talk about the game a lot. There are the usual discussions about whether LAG is better than TAG. Sometimes I hear fairly detailed descriptions of different plays and when to use them. One thing I rarely hear about is how to close out a tournament once you get near the end.Before I start, let’s get one thing out in the open. No matter what you do, there is always the luck factor. More tournaments are lost with AA, KK, QQ, and AK than with any other cards. In order to close out a tournament and at least get into the big money in the top three spots, you have to accept this luck factor. If it makes it any easier to bear the bad beats, remember that over the long run you will bad beat others as often as they bad beat you.The first thing that you should do is stay very aware of all important chip counts. Obviously you will know how many chips you hold, but that is just the beginning. Many players don’t take advantage of one of the best tools online poker offers to the serious tournament player; instant and complete information. At no point in the tournament is this more important and more helpful than near the end.
Here are some numbers you need to make good decisions at the end and the math behind them. You should always know the average chip count. This one is easy, as it is always available and the site does the math for you, but you still need to know what this means. The average count is simply the total number of chips in play divided by the number of players left. Keep this in mind all the time, but know that sometimes this average can be at least a little misleading.
Let’s say there are 10M total chips in play and we are on the FT bubble with ten players left. Simply dividing 10M by 10 gives us 1M as the average stack. But what if one guy has 5M? The true average for the remaining nine players is now 5M divided by 9 or about 550K. If you had a 700K stack, instead of being 30% behind the 1M average, you are actually close to that much ahead of it. Knowing your true place is extremely important at the end of a tournament.
It’s true there is a time when you should go into push or fold mode. Just make sure this decision is based on correct information. The difference in money between 10th and 1st is huge and every spot you move up counts. As an example, here are the payouts from the $3 rebuy on stars last night:
As you can see, even moving up from 10th to 6th is a huge difference. So having the leeway to sit back a little and let a few players shake out first can make a big swing in your bankroll. Remember that getting this deep in a tourney that starts out with 2500+ players doesn’t happen a lot and you must get all that you can out of every opportunity. Sure the prevailing wisdom is to always play for the win, and I am not trying to refute that. One win is worth nine or ten 7th places. But always taking big risks to get a bigger stack often results in a lot of 10th places and just because you double up doesn’t mean you will automatically win the tournament.
I advocate what many live pros do at the end. Try to avoid big confrontations whenever you can and play smaller pots before the flop. After the flop, try to get decent value out of your monsters and take the small pots nobody wants down uncontested. Remember that the big stack(s) have room to gamble and may call you with a wide variety of hands, so it’s best to avoid playing hard against them without the goods.
At this stage my thoughts are that there will be times when I can get a call or two after the flop when my hand is more complete or even on the river when I have the goods. By giving myself the best chance to move up into the bigger money spots whenever I am lucky enough to get to the end, I can take full advantage of my luck and at least be in it so maybe I can win at the end.