Poker Final Table Deal Making

Many of you asked me about deal-making in tournament poker, when to do it, what is the best way to negotiate a deal, and how to determine the value of your chip stack. The Final Table of any. A deal is initiated when all players at the final table select 'Yes' in the deal making table module on the table. Players can see how many of the remaining players have selected 'Yes' so far by looking at the number count next to the 'Yes' and 'No' buttons in the deal making table module.

  1. Poker Final Table Deal Making Skills
  2. Poker Final Table Deal Making 2017
  3. Poker Final Table Deal Making Conference
  4. Poker Final Table Deal Making 2018

Reaching The Tournament Final Table Is Only Half The Battle!
This Article Shows You How To Adjust Your Final Table Strategy To Maximize Your Returns.

Poker Final Table Deal Making

Let us set the scene… after several hours of play you have just reached the final table of a poker tournament at your chosen online poker room. 700 players are already out - just you and 9 others now remain. The prizes now climb steeply for each place – in fact you are looking at your biggest cash to date, one that could transform your poker bankroll overnight...

While getting to a tournament final table is the dream of many online poker players how many have actually thought through their strategy for when they arrive there? After all, one mistake could now cost $100s if not $1000s!

This article looks to address final table strategy for beginning and developing players by looking at 5 tips that will help any player improve their final table play - after all, you can not control the cards or other players, but can make sure you do many things to ensure you maximize your potential payout..

Poker Tournament Final Table Strategy: Tip #1 - Watch The Last 3 Tables!

Having ‘reads’ on your final table opponents before reaching the very last table will give you an immediate edge. When the game gets down to the last 3 tables make sure you are watching each one closely and are taking notes on the style of your potential opponents. Things to watch out for include aggression, bluffs and strange bet sizes. Any information that gives you a read on an opponent is an important aspect of NL Holdem Final Table Strategy.

Poker Tournament Final Table Strategy: Tip #2 - Who Is Playing to Win?

Sure, everyone would like to take first prize - but there are many players whose first priority will instead be to move up the payment scale. A valuable part of your final table strategy is to identify who is ‘playing to win’ and who is playing to move up the payment ladder. If you do identify timid opponents who are less likely to take risks then you should ensure you play many hands with them. Conversely, those players willing to 'gamble' in order to take the first prize are candidates for big bets only when you have premium holdings.

Poker Tournament Final Table Strategy: Tip #3 - Learn Basic ICM

ICM is an acronym for the 'Independent Chip Model', this formula works by taking into account that tournament chips change value as the game progresses - and that jumps in the prize pool at the final table mean that chips lost are worth more than the chips won in individual hands. I have explained this concept using examples in a dedciated article here. While you will not be able to do the complex calculations required in-play, simply having an idea of this model and the changes in strategy associated with it will give you a mathematical edge over new opponents. Even if you choose not to use it yourself, experienced opponents will know about it - so having a basic understanding will give you a better understanding of their play.

Poker Tournament Table Strategy Tip #4: - Awareness Of Stack Sizes.

By the time you reach the online final table players will have a wide range of stack sizes. Awareness of each persons stack size will help your final table strategy in many ways. Some examples include:

  • Small Stacks might be desperate enough to go all in with medium strength holdings, and may shove 'any two' when folded to in later positions. Note that some small stacks will desperately try to survive, hoping to move up the payouts.
  • Big Stacks may raise without strong hands to 'bully the table', this is a great strategy when there is a short stack around, since people are often reluctant to bust before the short stack does.
  • A medium stack who raises after a small stack has already entered the pot usually has a stronger hand than when that same person is first to raise. This is because players who expect to be called do not usually raise without good hands.
  • Stacks of 12 to 17 times the big blind are ideal for re-stealing (re-raising over an opponent's raise to steal the pot). If an aggressive opponent has a 'resteal stack' you can often 'induce' them to go all-in over the top of you when you have a premium hand.

Your own stack size, especially in relation to the blinds and antes, is also a significant factor in your final table strategy. Calculate how many times you can go through the blinds before your stack disappears and use this to decide how tight or loose to play... Dan Harrington's 'M' gives a great framework for judging the flexibility you have in your play with various stack sizes.

Planet Mark's Final Table Experience Tip: Some online tournaments are so huge, that your chances of making the final table are tiny (even though the prizes are big!). I recommned choosing a site that hits the sweet spot with smaller tournaments, and easy to beat games. 888 are my strong recommendation for both of these factors, you'll clock up some final table experience in no time - and hopefully you'll be able to do it in games with guaranteed prize pools too. You can try out the tournaments at 888 without needing to deposit, they give new players up to $88 free bonus in tokens and cash game buy-ins (terms do apply). See and see how easy those tournaments are for yourself!

Poker Tournament Table Strategy Tip #5:- Practice Heads-Up Play!

To win an online NL Holdem tournament you have to beat your last opponent heads-up. For players who are used to full tables adjusting to this can be a big challenge. Practice heads-up poker play in advance, either with a friend or at an online poker room. Experience in the relative strength of hands in heads-up situations will greatly assist your NL holdem final table strategy… remember that the jump from 2nd to 1st prize can be several thousand dollars!!

Final Table Tournament Strategy - Bonus Tip #1 - Deal Making

Especially when you get short handed, the jumps in payments mean it can be beneficial to make a deal to share the prize money. This is especially welcome when the chip stacks are shallow compared to the blinds and antes - meaning the chance fall of the cards will make a big difference to who gets the money. If the money makes a big difference to your bankroll (it often will!) then you should go ahead and negotiate a deal. 'Chopping' is automated at some sites including Party Poker and Full Tilt. PokerStars allow this, though you will need to write to support to get a moderator to assist you, other sites are more tricky - leaving it to the players to transfer the money. The simplest chops are based on chip-counts, though the prize money can also be divided using ICM or you can haggle over a custom deal to take skill differences into account. My advice for newer is to make a deal when the jump in prize money is big enough to affect your play. Depending on the skill of your opponents, it might be more profitable in the long-term to play the game to the end - but when the money will make a big difference, I would go right ahead and deal.

Final Table Tournament Strategy - Bonus Tip #2 - Look Up Your Opponents Stats

Some of your opponents may be experienced small-stakes pros, for whom this is just another day in the office. Others will be brand new to the game and at their first final table, or long-term losers who have just got lucky. You can find out by looking up your opponent's win / loss statistics at services like Sharkscope or the excellent Poker Pro Labs. Knowing which type of players you are up against will help you decide how to play against them. Is that pro making a move to put pressure on you, since he knows it is your first final table? What hands will a losing novice player call with that a more experienced player could fold (suited cards and aces with bad kickers come to mind). Player stats might even give you information on who is playing above their normal buy-in level.

Planet Mark's Strong Rec: Since getting to a final table unprepared could end up costing you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in missed profits - it is vital that you gain some experience before you hit the 'big one'. 180 player SNG tournaments are ideal for this. You'll reach the final table in under 3 hours in the turbo games, and will have a chance to understand the dynamics - as well as make a nice profits from these soft games! With buy-ins between $2.50c and $15 super-busy, you will never have to wait for a game.

You'll get $88 free to try out the tournaments (and some cash games) at the super-soft 888 poker. You'll find the games so easy, that picking up final table experience is only a matter of time. Take a look at for yourself now!

More Cool Tournament Articles

  • US Online Poker Tournaments (the offshore sites)

Playing Tournaments: Final Table Deal Making

A really important skill in tournaments once you get down to the final table is deal making. This is where players at the final table unanimously decide to stop the play, and cash in their chips. An obvious advantage to deal making at the final table is that you can make a really big pay day equitable to everyone at the table. Final table deals payout cash on a much fairer egalitarian manner – rather than regular tournament payouts which are very top heavy. The typical first place prize is usually twice that of the second, and four times the fourth and so forth…

In conclusion final table deals give you an advantage by removing the risks of playing out the rest of tournaments under very skewed payouts.

Sites that Allow Deal Making in Tournaments:

Poker Stars – Go to PokerStars + $600 Bonus

Party Poker – Go to Party Poker + $500 Bonus

Tips for Making Final Table Deals

Who Benefits?

The most common method for final table deals is the “chip count”. The tournament prizepool is distributed to players according to their remaining chips. This method favours the big stacks, because in many ways they receive more than the real prize-equity value of their chips. For example, having 80% of the chips and getting 80% of the prizepool is better than coming 1st and only getting 30% of the prizepool. Short stacks on the other hand benefit from this method, because their chip value is usually worth more than where they would likely finish in the tournament.

Negotiate Effectively

Poker Final Table Deal Making Skills

In live games and sometimes online you can negotiate with players on how much you receive for your chips in the deal. By pretending you don’t want to deal however you can usually coax more money out of your chips. Bluff that you’d rather play on, and other players will be happy to give you a premium so you accede.


Poker final table deal making conference

Deal making is not for everyone, but regardless of whether or not you want to make one you can benefit. Playing tournaments to make money is all about increasing your expected EV. Final table dealing is just as an important skill as playing your way to the final table in the first place.

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Poker Final Table Deal Making 2017

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Poker final table deal making skills

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Poker Final Table Deal Making Conference

  1. […] presents both the upsides and shortcomings of deals, and also provides some powerful advice for those who find themselves in this fortunate position. The very performance of making it to the final tables in a MTT is worth celebrating, but many players fail to make the right choices when they are needed most. Given the fact that very few reach the final table in a major tournament, players don’t have the necessary experience to adjust to the situation quickly. […]

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Poker Final Table Deal Making 2018

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