Anyone want to look at numbers? , Deal? , Numbers?  These are generally the first words in player chat you will see when someone at a final table is looking at discussing a deal. 

So how do you actually make a deal?  Well first, everyone at the final table needs to click a checkbox.  Surprisingly, you will come across a player or two at a final table that doesn't know where this checkbox is!  This happens even at the big events too!  As an example check out the TCOOP-3 FT.

Trying to explain to 1 or 2 players at a final table can be frustrating, especially if all the stacks are short, blinds are increasing.. and to top it off, if english isn't their first language.  I remember one of the first final tables I reached (final 3), 2 of us were trying to explain to the other player where the checkbox was.  From memory, it seemed like forever and we spent probably at least 3-5 minutes trying to explain.  In the end, I couldn't be bothered, unchecked the box, and ended up shipping the tourny anyway.

When you reach a final table, your Chat Dialog Box->Info Tab changes slightly, to include a "Discuss a deal" option.  (follow the green arrows below)

As I said before, everyone needs to check this box, before any attempt of discussing a deal can proceed. 

When everyone checks this box, the tournament will pause after the current hand finishes (cards are no longer dealt), and then shortly after.. a moderator joins the chat, and assists in the deal making process.  Moderators are very helpful, and their main purpose during this phase of the tournament is to [1] present ICM or chip count payouts, [2] finalise payouts (if there has been any generous giveways of prizemoney between players because of negotiations), and [3] to confirm final payouts and agreements among all players involved. Moderators are not there to mediate between players.  Players need to negotiate among themselves.

However, keep in mind that in any normal regular scheduled MTT, if the moderator sees that players cannot come to an agreement within a amount of certain time, they will make the table play out and no deal will be done.  The exception in this case would be the higher-end tournaments with considerable prizemoney at stake.

What I didn't know until recently, you can actually ask for a moderator who can speak a certain language to assist a player at the table with translation in their first language.  Cool huh? 

Well now at least you know [1] where that checkbox is, and  [2] the purpose of a moderator at those deal discussions.

Maybe I'll see you at a final table one day... and you had better know where that checkbox is.

As a personal remark on the whole deal/negotions topic, my general outlook and direction when making a final table (at microstakes) is to not deal.

I remember the first time I FT'd The Big $16.50, and came 2nd... I didn't want to deal HU.  I just wanted the win, the first place.  This was also the case when I FT'd the The Big $162, and the $109 12.5K.. I didn't finish top 3.. I didn't care, because I just wanted the win.

Looking back at it now, not much has changed.  I'll still won't be looking at making a deal at the micros, but at the higher buyins, I think these days I would make the consideration of clicking that checkbox to discuss a deal, if the opportunity was there.  I'd like to think that these days, I have a greater appreciation for tEV.

Top reasons when I won't deal at microstakes

1. Stacks are still playable.

2. There is at least 1 player remaining (and ideally short stacked) that has "playing too tight syndrome" or is clearly looking to ladder jump.  This dynamic is great to play against other players at the table, who have larger stacks than this player.

3. In microstakes FT's, [2] is a very common theme in my experience.

4. If I have good reads on at least a few players at the FT, I am going to exploit them 100% in every pot I enter with them.

5. Sometimes you just have a clear level advantage over the field.  It's definitely not in my best interest to leave EV on the table, and to deal in this scenario.  But I think it's important to make this judgement objectively vs yourself as a player.  It is the reason why I would now consider deals at higher buyins (with large overlays) relative to the normal stakes I play.

Now if I have at least 2 items ticked from the list above, it's a good enough reason not to deal at that moment, and to go for the top cash.

So with all this talk of not dealing, why did I deal at the last $16.50 FT with 3 players remaining?

The considerations I made were based on the following:

1. I had become quite tired as it was around 0430 in the morning. (But I'm never mentioning this during negotiations!)

2. Although, our stacks were managable with some play still remaining, the next blind level would not afford this level of flexibility.

3. I was 3rd in chips, and making a deal based on ICM now would increase my payout for 3rd by at least 10-15% (If I remember correctly).

Mind you, this was the 2nd attempt for us to reach an agreement for payouts.  The first attempt (with the same players involved) had the chip leader asking for a little more ($25).  With the 2nd attempt, and deal, that player ended up losing ALOT more in the end.  I ended up gaining more compared to the first attempt.   

Obviously, the points I mention in this post about not dealing, do not include life changing money deals, but this kind of prizemoney is not possible the stakes I am regularly playing in right now.