Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tournament Poker: The Final Table

Tournament Poker: The Final Table

This is part 5--the final part of the series. The other parts you can read in the prior posts. 250 players entered this tournament, with a $1,000 buy-in. First place is $80,000.

It is down to the final table.

We are now down to the final table. And it seems that the pros TJ Cloutier and David Pham have made it to the final 9. Also, Tony Lee the local pro, is at the table as well. The other players I really don't know and I don't pay much attention to them. I am worried about the pros.

My final table strategy is to play tight at first and wait till we get down to 7 players. It is going to cost me chips to play tight, but the money is in the first 3 spots.

To my surprise and relief David Pham and TJ Cloutier get knocked out!

We get down to 6 players, but I am the lowest with chips. I was not really concerned since I had played a lot of final tables at the local card rooms, and a couple of wins with these big blinds gets me back in the game. Also, I am creating an image of one, real tight poker player which will make it easier for me to steal.

I pick my spots to add chips by raising pre-flop. It works. We get down to 5 players and now I am in 4th place in chips.

We take a 5 minute break. The player who just got knocked out in 6th place tells me that I'm the best player left and I should win the tournament. He says to me that he hasn't seen me make one mistake. I reply that I have made plenty of mistakes--in fact, one time it was against him. I start to tell him the hand, when he recalls and smiles big. He says he remembers the hand, but I should win the tournament.

I sit back down and the player to my right is the weakest player. I raise, he calls. I check the flop every time, and if he checks..I bet the turn no matter what. He folds and folds and folds. I add chips thanks to him.

Yeah, he is the next player out. We are down to 4 players. Tony Lee is in 4th place and he moves all-in. I have A-Q and call. He has K-J. The J hits the flop but the Q hits the river.

It is down to 3 players.

It is down to 3 players. The other players have about $160,000 each and I have about $35,000. One of these players, the player with the sunglasses, I can't get a read on. The other player, the the one without sunglasses, I have an excellent read on his play.

So, even though I am low on chips, I figure I can add to my stack by going after the no-sunglasses guy.

The next hand makes it easy for me. I move all-in with A-10. He calls with A-5. The cards on board are A-8-8-Q-2. No!!! We chop.

Key hand. I have A-2 and move all-in. This opponent is now the one with A-10 and he calls me. The flop is J-7-4. The turn is a 3. The river is a 2! I double up! I am at $75,000.

I get A-Q and move all-in. Yep, that same player calls me with A-7. I double up to around $150,000.

The tournament director tells us that it is break time. My two opponents leave the table. I ask the director if he can do a chip count. He tells me to wait.

My opponents come back to the table. The tournament director tells them that I want to chop. I didn't say that at all. But the other two players agreed right away.

I am thinking, "what is going on here?"

I am exhausted. I look at my watch. It is 2:30am! I had no clue. I was so absorbed in the game that I thought it was 11 pm or maybe midnight. And, the WPT main event is going to start in a few hours....at noon.

Suddenly I feel tired, um, exhausted. The smoke in this place is awful and my eyes are red. My clothes reek of smoke. I've been drinking Coke's non-stop to keep me alert. A chop is sounding like a good idea.

I agree. We chop based on the computer chips counts. I end up with more than 2nd place money...not bad for 14.5 hours of poker.


As I was posting what happened to me , I forgot how much I used to play the game by reading the tendencies of my opponents rather than my cards. It's something you should work on, since it allows you to pick up pots by knowing when your opponent is weak and to play recognizing their betting patterns.

I was also surprised how I used that knowledge to change how I played pocket Kings and pocket Queens. Knowing that a tight card player is going to raise or call a raise with a big hand, I was very careful not to lose a lot of chips. In fact, I believe I got these hands 5 times. 4 of those times I had to fold on the flop when an Ace hit. Is it weak poker? Would it work today?

Finally, it was interesting how I didn't force the action when I got to the final table. I waited and waited to look for the right opportunities. I think I was a more patient player back then.

I hope you learned at least one thing from these 5 posts that can help your tournament game. As you can tell, online poker can't compete to a live tournament.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. Thanks.


ViceMC said...

Great blog mate, have really helped me with my game lately..Back in the winners circle!! Keep it movin!!

GiJoeValdez said...

Now if I can only help me... HELP ME!!! LOL

What's Your Poker IQ?