Good poker play can get you to many final tables, but it is important to make the most of your opportunities when you do get there.
Your basic strategy playing good poker should obviously still apply here, but there are some unique situations that crop up at final tables that you should take into account and here’s some quick pointers to do just that.
Laddering Up Money Spots
In general you should try not to let the money spots influence you. Of course sometimes, it is advantageous to avoid a high variance situation whilst there are several people on the cusp of elimination but overall, you should be looking to finish in the top few spots, as much of the payout is concentrated here.
Understanding the table dynamic will help you to find good spots to chip up. If there is a very short stack, then other players you have out-chipped will often be wary of tangling with you before the short stack goes out, so use this to your advantage and put the pressure on stacks you feel might be vulnerable to pressure.
At the WSOP there are often players who fold hands as strong as aces on the bubble of the Main Event as they are so risk-aversive in these spots. Make sure to steamroll the blinds of players such as this and increase your chances of winning.
Adjusting To Increased Blinds
Many players reach final tables based on a good tight strategy but you must be prepared to loosen your hand requirements as the blind to stack ratio increases.
As the blinds start to represent a bigger and bigger % of your stack, you cannot be afraid to raise and even move all-in where appropriate to keep yourself in contention.
Bear in mind the increased attractiveness of the blinds will mean other players are also loosening their raising requirements which will open up many light 3-betting opportunities.
If you have doubts that a player is raising with a legitimate hand, just re-raise him, or even move allin if your stack is around the 16-22 BB mark with weaker hands, knowing he will fold often enough for it to be a profitable move.
As well as the blinds increasing, as players are knocked out, you will be playing more and more shorthanded poker.
Many players will be in the groove of playing full tables, so again be aware you need to loosen your raising standards as there are fewer players to get through to steal the blinds. The blinds will go through you more regularly as well, so it’s important to keep your chip stack ticking over and avoid being in a situation where you become so short you lose all fold equity.
Adjusting to increasing shorthanded play is something many players find difficult so if you can work on this aspect (and getting practice playing shorter-handed MTTs or Cash Games can’t hurt) then you will gain a big advantage over these players.