I wish I had read this article before I started losing all my tournaments today. This has to be the biggest weakness in my poker game.
blogged 5/12 posted 5/16
John Phan Pro Tips - Pro Tip 177
Learning to Win at Final Tables
February 4th, 2009
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Anyone who’s ever come close to winning a poker tournament – only to fall short – can tell you how much it hurts. It’s disappointing. It’s painful. In 2006, I finished 2nd in a $1,000 No-Limit Hold ’em event at the World Series of Poker, and then in 2007, I was the runner-up in a $2,500 Hold ’em event at the WSOP. So I came into 2008 particularly determined to win my first bracelet – not just to reach a final table, but to finish in 1st place.
Well, I achieved my goal – and then some. I won the $3K No-Limit Hold ’em tournament at the World Series of Poker, then one week later I won another bracelet in $2,500 Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw. And to top it all off, I won my first WPT title in August at the Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.
Now that I’ve gotten over the hump and won some major tournaments, I’m going to share two important tips that made all the difference for me.
1. Make the tough laydowns when your tournament life is at stake.
It’s a situation I’ve been in many times: a short stack raises, I re-raise enough to put the short stack all in, and then a big stack behind me raises enough to put me all in. I’m in a tough spot because I’m fairly certain my hand is better than the short stack’s hand, but I also have a strong feeling that the big stack has me in bad shape. There are a lot of chips in the pot, and I’m tempted to call, knowing that I need to suck out to win. Many times in the past, I made that call and went home in 7th or 8th place.
What I’ve learned is that the right play, if you believe you’re beat, is to lay it down and live to play another hand. Even if the pot odds narrowly favor a call, you’re better off letting the hand go. Obviously, if the pot odds heavily favor a call... click Learning to Win at Final Tables to read the rest of this great article.