Booking The Win at Final Tables

Final tables are the most fun and exciting aspect of tournament play.

You have outlasted the entire field to this point and now big prize money is on the line.

As I talked about in my previous article about multi-table tournament play, I want to enter the final table with as many chips as possible.

I am only interested in first place and the big first place payout.

The money bubble and the final table bubble are where I like to pick up a lot of chips. A lot of players play way too passively at these times not wanting to risk their tournament life and be the “bubble boy.”

For this reason, I like to increase my aggression even more and steal blinds and antes without many players playing back at me with less than premium hands.

I like to try to build as big as a stack as possible for the final table so I can dictate the pace of play right off the bat.

I will feel out who the good tournament players are and exploit any weak players who happened to get lucky and reach the final. Because of the big pay jumps as each player gets eliminated, a lot of inexperienced players will not be willing to gamble for their tournament life.

This is something I take into account and try to exploit as much as possible by putting people at decisions for their entire tournament.

I want to be the one putting players at decisions instead of being forced to play the guessing game. It is convenient to be one of the chip leaders because you don’t face elimination if you get it all in against another shorter stack. You are able to take more calculated risks which can help you keep adding chips for the later stages of play that will determine who gets the biggest payday.

Position is of utmost importance as you want to be the last one to act on each street being able to see how your opponents acts before you have to make decisions.

With a bigger than average stack, I will be extremely active in position raising and re-raising players who I feel are opening light trying to take down blinds.

Using a positional advantage, I don’t always need strong cards to take down pots. When I do happen to pick up a monster, I am hoping that my table image will get me paid off. When I appear to be a maniac, players wont be able to put me on a hand, netting me more profit when I do have a big hand and someone plays back at me.

You have to be able to switch gears often and be adaptable to different situations during the final stages. When your stack is under 10 big blinds, it is best just to shove all your chips in the middle before the flop and hope to get lucky and double up.

With 10 big blinds, you still have fold equity meaning when you go all in, players aren’t getting great odds to make a call without a good hand allowing you to steal some blinds and antes. If you get called, you can still win and double up so aggression is still key even with a small stack.

Final tables are definitely a lot of fun and knowing how to play them correctly will ultimately net you some good cashes and hopefully some wins.

While luck is still a big factor like anything else in poker, you are able to control when you want to gamble for chips. This is especially true when you have a bigger stack as you wont face elimination so building a stack by being aggressive before the final table is extremely important.

More Poker Strategy:

The Poker Trance

Developing a LAG (Loose-Aggressive) Strategy for Maximum Profit

My Multi-Table Tournament Strategy

Top 10 Reasons You Should Play Poker

Top 5 Reasons You Lose at Poker

How to Overbet For Massive Value

How to Play AA For Maximum Profit

Additional Strategy, Sports Betting:

The Three Tenets of Profitable Sports Betting


About TD
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18 Responses to Booking The Win at Final Tables

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  14. DIESEL says:

    Yes, however you can set PT3 to display stats for the current blind level if you wish, it will give you a very limited sample of stats tho, so use wisely.

  15. thatpokerguy says:

    It is just that some players consider stats for MTT’s a bit misleading, because players have different VPIP/PFR/AG during different stages of tournaments. However I do agree that the main trend remains the same for each player. Do you use M value for the stats as well (to determine your stack size in M) ?

    • DIESEL says:

      Yes, I do take M value into account, however i find it easier to simply calculate how many BBs you have left, especially when I am playing 12+ tournaments at one time. It is easy to realize when you need to shove/fold pre-flop when you have around or less than 10bb in your stack. With less than 10bb, you lose the necessary fold equity to shove the bottom part of your range.

  16. thatpokerguy says:

    Quite interesting I would say. Do you consider using stats on MTT’s ? Or you don’t find them relevant for you?

    • DIESEL says:

      Stats are EXTREMEMLY important, yes. I use Poker Tracker 3 to determine opponents VPIP, PFR, and aggression frequency. Obviously these aren’t the only factors. I take into account the number of players at the table, the level of the blinds and stack sizes as well. These stats serve as a guideline for determining how good of a tournament player I might perceive my opponent to be. Sites like can give me an idea if the player is a profitable player as well.

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