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Poker Lessons and Articles by Tom McEvoy
Poker Lessons and Blog by Tom McEvoy
Poker Lesson #5 - Strategies on making the final table
Sun August 2, 2009, 7:28 pm

Here are a few key strategies that are necessary to get to the final table:

1) You must be patient and can't continually try to force the action; you have to let the game come to you. By that I mean, rather than trying to constantly mix it up all the time like the super aggressive players do, you wait for them to come to you. The reason I say that is that most players don't have the experience or expertise to play alot of marginal hands aggressively in a successful manner. Players see Gus Hanson or Daniel Negrauno on TV making alot of plays and try to emulate the player. Plays like that will more often than not get you broke.

2) The art of the bluff... ok bluffing is important and you will need to make bluffs from time to time. Most people however overrate the bluff and overuse the bluff. So how do you successfully use a bluff...you have to be very selective about who you are using a bluff against and what the situation is. Raising a tight player while they are in the blinds is a good bluff. A bad bluff is using the same play against a loose player while you only have a marginal hand yourself. I also see most people try to bluff the river when they have missed their draw and will quite often get called by weak hands and loose valuable chips. The most successful bluffs are done on the flop; it's hard for players to call if they missed the flop which they will do about 70% of the time.

3) The luck factor... the luck factor is very high in tournament poker, however the skill level does transcend the luck factor in the long fun (believe it or not). That is why you see so many of the same players making final tables in major events because they have developed a highly skilled tournament strategy. So what makes those players skilled? One factor is psychology, the ability to manipulate players into doing what you want them to do...be it raise, bet, fold or call. Now it does not always work but more often than not it does and that skill comes with experience.

Start applying some of these skills and you will start to make more final tables.
Good luck on the felt!
Tom

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