Sports & Gaming

Tournament Strategy: Late Stages and Final Table

Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 10:17 min

Now that you’ve made it past the bubble, it's time to bring home the prize. Daniel teaches you how to take calculated risks and execute strategically-timed aggression to become a tournament champion.

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Topics include: In the Money • Late Stages: Take Risks to Build Your Stack for the Final Table • Late Stages: Take Advantage of Being the First to Act Before the Flop • The Final Table: Account for Pay Jumps • The Final Table: Timed Aggression


So now we're past the bubble point, everybody's in the money, and you're gonna see the entire dynamic shift. What you saw before about all this pressure that was available to put on shorts stacks is gone, right? The big stacks no longer have the ability to do that. Because what's gonna happen is these short stacks are gonna open up their game. So while they might have been folding hands as good as jacks or queens earlier, they're gonna start looking at an ace-seven and going all in with it because there's not a lot at risk for them anymore. Well, the way pay jumps work-- say, for example, the example I used where it pays 150 spots. For you to see any significant pay jump from 150th, you're gonna have to get down to probably the last couple of tables, where you're down to like 27 or so. So maybe if you bought in for a $1,000 tournament and the min cash was $1,900, right? You're gonna see an increase to maybe $2,100 if you outlast like 20 players. So for the $100, it doesn't make sense at that stage to continue to hold on for dear life. Now is your time to try to get back in the tournament and double up. So if you're one of the bigger stacks or the medium stacks, you need to have a mental shift and go, OK, I have to stop being the nutso maniac who's attacking every pot and let this happen for a little while. Let the chips disperse. The short stacks will go away. What you'll start to see is a concentration once again of a little bit more deep stack play. Because it really does, in a lot of bubbles, get to the point where the average stack gets very, very low, which causes a lot of all-in play. Once that's over, you'll start to set yourself up for the next stage, which is approaching the final table. Going into a final table coming in is one of the top three stacks is incredibly important because it's gonna open up for you so many more opportunities than if you're always finding yourself with 12 left or 10 left on the short stack. When you're on the short stack, what's your weapon? What do you have left? You just got one play, which is an all in, hope and despair. So it's gonna require you to also take a few more risks. Typically a strategy that I've used for many years in tournaments has been a small ball approach. And essentially what that describes is me taking very little risk, waiting for my opponents to make mistakes, and then capitalizing on the mistakes they make. Later in these tournaments today, especially with the better players and the concentration, you're gonna have to force some more mistakes. You're gonna have to take a few more risks. So in the old days, I wouldn't want to take a coin flip situation. What is a coin flip situation? A pair versus two over cards. So the classic confrontation is pocket 10s, for example, against ace-king. Pretty close to a 50/50 flip. Now, in most tournaments in the old days, I never wanted to be in that spot, literally ever. Today, there's an understanding that you're going to ...

About the Instructor

Put yourself across the felt from Daniel Negreanu, the biggest live tournament poker winner of all time. The six-time World Series of Poker champion teaches poker strategy, advanced theory, and practice through hand-reviews of his winning games. Learn how to sharpen your mental game through demos on reading opponents and spotting tells. Join Daniel at the table to increase your win rate, grow your ROI, and get your game “in the money.”

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Daniel Negreanu

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