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I play often at my local casino in Bristol, England and I constantly seem to find myself with around or over double the average stack when the tournament reaches under 30 players. With that said, I always seem to struggle to get to the final tables. How can I improve my 'end game' to ensure I don't end up blowing my big stacks when I have a genuine chance to take down the tournament? Is there a way I can utilise my bigger stack to stay on the front foot and continue adding chips to reach final tables? Thanks.

  • Good question. There are also 2 very good books on the subject, Harrington on Hold’em, Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments; Volume II: Endgame and Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time Vol. 2 – user1165 Apr 30 '15 at 17:52
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Often the reason you end up loosing before reaching a final table means you didn't put enough pressure or you pressured randomly. Knowing your opponents is the key to success in poker.

You should maybe try to learn on playing against better players(it's called leveling yourself). You're really good playing against bad players but late stage most of the bad players are gone and that's when the tricky part starts.

Since you're playing at local casino i'm guessing you already know a lot of the players there. At that point you can see who goes far in tournament pretty often and analyze them. That way you might learn something or some tells they have and you might play against them someday.

Pressure

Normally at that stage of the game you should already know your table/players so you should only pressure when you think you are most likely to win the hand (by bluffing). When you know your opponents it's a lot easier to get even more chips (apply pressure to them).

Gather information to make the correct move

There are a lot of ways to gather information. (Anything a person does can be considered a tell) The only difference in the end is that you understand what that person did and if it was usefull for current/later hands.(moving chips,the way they bet,the way they hold cards, something they say, breathe, etc...) everything is important.

People read you, try to be unpredictable

Maybe when you play, you do well early stage but you are predictable. Some better players than you, can read you and play agressif against you. To avoid that, change your playing style. (I sometimes do some stupid thing even if it costs me some chips, trying to steal or just simply fold after a check raise and show my hand. People either think i'm crazy or stupid and will either avoid me or try to play more hands against me.)

Sizing your bets

Your betting pattern shouldn't be readable and you should try spending less chips when stealing in late stages(Don't use a 4Big blind bet in late stage). Choose your spots effectively(know your opponents), don't randomly pick one.

Fast game(turbo) vs Slow game(normal)

If in casino you're playing 15 min games. You can divide live time with online time by 3 to know how fast a game is.

15 min is realy turbo so you have to gamble most of the time. If you're playing a slow game (>=30min) you can choose your spots wisely and even fold double pairs sometimes without even thinking too much. In slow games normally you don't loose your stack because of not playing but most likely because of bad play.

Use new strategies

Try using more check raising and 3 or 4 bets against people you have information. If they don't counter attack when you 3 bet, you should keep doing it. Steal blinds. Don't be shy and steal the most you can from people who don't protect their blinds.

Be friends with people but destroy them ingame

Normally when playing local casino you get to know people. Try to be friends with them. Depending on the person he/she might avoid playing you or want to play against you even more because you're his "friend".
When you're ingame you should have no friends. Everyone that has chips is your opponent, so you should crush them.

Some things i mentioned might seem stupid as a strategy but every single bit of help can get you to win a tournament.

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The most common way to blow up a big stack is to get in a confrontation with an aggressive opponent who also has a big stack. If you enter a pot with such an opponent, make sure you either have position on him or a very strong hand.

Your chip advantage is put to much better use pressuring small and average stacks. Make small bets and raises that could threaten their entire stack on further streets.

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