10 Difficult Situations Beginners Face In Online Poker Tournaments – Final Table

There are some situations in Online Multi-Table Tournaments which generate many problems to beginner players. In this article we will take a look at those which might get you in trouble in the final table of a tournament.

This is the final installment of a 3 part series, you can also read about difficult situations in the early stages and middle stages.

Feeling nervous about the money jumps

later stage strategy in poker tournamentsThe pay-jumps of a final table are an issue that affects both amateur and professional poker players. The best way to avoid this is to play a tournament only if your bankroll allows it. By doing this, you will be playing for a prize-pool that will not make a huge difference for your bankroll (unless the tournament you are playing in had 1000’s of players).

Unluckily, there’s no magic formula to avoid thinking about the money, but there are some tips that my help you keep playing your best game:

First of all, remember that the rest of the table (maybe not everybody, but almost) is thinking about the money too, so the one who is able to keep the pressure of money out of his or her mind will have a huge advantage over the others.

Also, despite being in love with the colossal payouts for the first 3 or 4 spots, you should understand that the 3st place prize is usually less than half the 1st prize, so going for the win is the correct decision every time.

Finally, if necessary, try to convince yourself that the tournament you are playing is not a matter of money, it’s a matter of achieving something big, something you will be proud about, and regardless of how good you play and how much you win, a 2nd place finish usually feels extremely bad compared to a 1st place finish.


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Playing Short-Handed

While playing Short-Handed, blinds will hit you quickly so you must be active or you are going to lose a huge portion of your stack.

When playing in a table of only 4 or 5 players you must open your range a lot because it is much less likely that somebody has a good hand to play against you. Stealing blinds and antes here is necessary.

In addition, considering that everybody will be opening lighter, you should consider 3-betting with a wide range too, especially if you are in position. Always try to play in position and being more aggressive than before.

Against aggressive players, you can 4-bet light too, as they will be 3-betting many hands trying to take the pot pre-flop. Remember that if you can avoid thinking about the money you will have a huge edge against the rest of the table.

Playing Heads-Up without experience

Once you reached the Heads-Up the pressure of money should be gone because there’s only 1 more spot to climb.

In Heads-Up, you should open almost any 2 cards from the button. A good idea would be to make min-raises preflop to keep the pot small and have more place to play post-flop as our opponent is likely to call a lot even if we open to, let’s say, 3 Big Blinds.

Remember your opponent will also play a lot of hands, and many times both of you will miss the board or maybe hit a weak combination, so you must play aggressively and analyze every single situation carefully as the villain is going to bluff a lot.

Also, you should try to balance your 3-betting range by not only 3-betting with good/premium hands, but with trash hands too (I don’t recommend to 3-bet with playable hands like K8s from the Big Blind because you would be transforming it into a bluff).

Finally, if the Heads-Up starts being quiet long, concentrate on mixing your moves a little bit or your opponent will have a more accurate read on you after every hand.

One last reminder: If you are a new player looking to build online tournament experience and build your bankroll at the same time, I strongly recommend the 180 Player Sit n Goes at PokerStars.com. These kick-off every few minutes, and go through the different stages like a larger poker tournament. They are easy to beat too! Check out my 3-part guide to the 180 SNGs here.

More Beginner Tournament Strategy Articles

- 10 Best Beginner's Poker Tournaments

- Turbo Poker Tournament Strategy

- Final Table Strategy Tips

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