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The Final Table
Reaching the final table at a large multi-table tournament is a tough task, and a significant achievement in itself. Even strong professional players will reach a final table only once in a while.

It follows that when you reach one, it is important to play the absolute best you can. The biggest prizes are only for the top spots and there is a huge difference between making a final but busting in ninth and winning the whole thing.



You should prepare well and aim for the top three spots when you reach the final table. Here are some hints to help you on your way.

Observe your opponents and target weakness

All multi-table tournament tables will eventually break - except one. The final table line up will remain the same through its duration, so you will have more time to study your opponents. You will have to outlast every one of them in order to win first prize.

Usually there are significant increases in prize money with every player that is eliminated from the tournament. Therefore the situation is a bit similar to the one on the bubble: many players' main goal will be just to survive and move up the pay ladder.

You should try to identify these players and apply maximum pressure on them, much like you did at the bubble stage.

At the final table the stacks are often deeper compared with the blinds than was the case in the proceeding parts of the tournament. Therefore you will be all in pre-flop less frequently and have to make some more decisions through later streets.

The following examples demonstrate some techniques on bullying opponents on later betting rounds.


Dealing with the big-stack bully

Sometimes one or two big stacks will use their strong position to bully the rest of the table. Ideally this is your job, but if you find yourself being pressured often, and getting pushed around without defending yourself properly, you will lose a lot of chips. This will decrease your chances to finish in the top three spots significantly.

The big stacks derive their power from the threat to end your tournament life in any hand you play with them. There are two ways to blunt this weapon: 
  1. Avoid playing marginal hands against aggressive big stacks. A hand that might be playable against a medium or short stack will often be bad against the bully.
  2. Once you are in a hand, play it even more aggressively and decisively than you normally do. If you go all in first, the bully can only call you if he has a good hand or draw. Your all in shove negates his opportunity to make raises.
For example: