How can player's prepare/practice for the final table experience?

How can player’s prepare/practice for the final table experience?

I have one suggestion to hopefully, kick off the conversation.

When I first joined the Replay Community, I found myself luckily in a few final tables fairly quick. This obviously is the best way to prepare/ practice for the final table. I do believe, however there are additional ways to prepare before actually playing in the final table.

One way to prepare for me, was when I discovered a Replay Tournament called The Burn Out. It is a four seat MTT at 11:00 pm est. I played every table as it was the last table and did well, even ended up in the final table a few times. I found it is a great tournament to actually prepare/practice for final table’s.

I know the Great folks at Replay, have many other suggestions that will help all of our current and new members.

Please share your thought’s/ideas of how player’s can prepare/practice the experience of being in the final table:)

Hyper turbo sngs are a great way to prepare for the final table experience. The stack depths are similar and they are a great way to practice.


Prior to the final table, you’ll mostly be playing with deeper stacks relative to the blinds, and with more players at the table. So to prepare for final tables, I like to study short stacked play, and short handed play.

Heads up play in particular feels radically different than playing with 8 other players, but having 3 or 4 players at a table is also quite different than having 5 or 6. Opening rates go way up as you have fewer players that might have a better hand than you, and ranges accordingly become much wider post flop also.

Having shorter stacks changes the kinds of hands you want to open (high card value increases, and suitedness and connectedness matter less), and also means you’ll be playing for stacks more often. In general, with more short stacks at the table, you are more frequently making really small preflop raises or just shoving all the chips in the middle, with middling size open raises becoming less attractive in more spots.

So I’d recommend just getting some books or looking at some You Tube videos that discuss short stacked play and then some of the same for short handed play.


Great idea, @TeUnit & it would actually be the final table. Also one could track their success by their record on those sng’s. Thanks and gl wishes on the tables

I play at ring games and only put the minimum amount of chips up…I do this so when i am the short stack at a final table. I learned this from a guy who was a big player in cash tournaments and games but would play small games with the minimum amount and i asked what he was doing playing for small amounts and he explained this is how he practiced for being small stack in tournaments.


I have had a fair amount of success on final tables and have won many MTTs on RP.

Let me say first of all that you cannot win a tournament without a certain amount of luck. At some point you are going to be all in and you are going to be called and you are going to win the pot.

Having said that the knack of winning tournaments on the final table is usually to play as few hands as possible and let your opponents make mistakes and knock themselves out.

The hands that you do play it is much better to be the first into the pot with a raise, because you have a good chance to take down the pot without seeing a flop.

You should avoid calling other people’s raises unless your hand is so strong that you cannot fold it. If you are calling a raise from out of position, you will need to be prepared to shove the flop. If you are in position, you are likely to face a shove from your opponent on the flop.

You need high pocket pairs and very high cards.
Suited connectors are not much use in the latest stages of tournaments, because there is not likely to be much post flop play that is not for full stacks.

You will not be playing many multiway pots, but sometimes you can see pots cheaply from the blinds if opponents limp in, but do not waste chips playing complete garbage from the small blind. If the player in dealer position limps in it is often better to fold your small blind and let the dealer and the big blind destroy each other.

Sometimes you will get good cards and it will seem easy on the final table. Other times you will pick up absolute junk, in which case at some point you will just have to pick your spot and go for it. In such cases it is better to use hands that are probably not dominated. For example 54 will do better against opponent’s AK than a dominated hand like A9 or KJ.

When you get to heads-up, you need to be very aggressive preflop with all kinds of hands, but also try to trap your opponent to get his whole stack. For example you might limp in with AA and your opponent shoves, whereas if you raise pre-flop with AA, you might only win the blinds and lose the opportunity to win the tournament. Or if you flop a set, you might check it right down to the river.

Good luck


@Yorunoame , Great summation of the probable situation, when entering the final table as a new member or any member that needs these ideas for preparedness. I did consider books on mainly short handed play. Great idea, can you or anyone name a good one to read my friend? Thanks & as always GL at the tables!

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Thanks for your input and I believe it will help everyone, which is the intention of this topic. I just finished a freeroll, made final table and definitely changed my play style & strategy as it always does. Finished 3rd and short stacked at the time, but great ideas to improve my game and others I hope. Always have fun & enjoy the company in the process of the Win!!

You just have to have patience and play the long game. Bingo players drop like flies way before the paid positions, so that’s not the way to get to the Final table. Just do your best and call when it’s time to call or fold when it’s time to fold. Patience is the key.


Bluff-King, you are talking about basic poker here, it is about the final table, where play is different and yes, luck has much to do with it when down to a couple of players and all in


Agree @bill8888 , final tables are completely different play style & strategy for me & to @BluffaloKing 's credit, we must play well enough to make the final table to have a chance for the win.

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Agree @BeerEagle69 , and all, we have to play well and receive some amount of luck, to make the final table. However I am asking everyone for suggestions, to help players learn some familiarity’s while preparing/practicing in other ways or means. That experience may help them when they reach the final table for the first time.


No I would not agree. What I wrote there is specific to the final table.

Not so long ago I wrote a post that goes through all the major hands from the beginning to the final pair in a 5 million chip tournament.

You can review it here if you like.


Another way for a player to prepare for the final table experience could be to:)

Follow an experienced player, hopefully a friend that appears in the final tables often and learn how the final table is completely different than any other they have already played.

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I was just thinking, one way in theory that you could get the feel of a final table environment is to play some Sit & Go tournaments. Say most Multi-Table tournaments have 9 seat tables, if you play a 9 seat Sit & Go like Astral Pegasus for example, it’s only 9 players on one table. So in a way, it’s like a final table.


Lol, I don’t think it does because in MTT’s, 1) everyone at that point will have different bankroll amounts and 2) when you reach an MTT final table you really have to change your style of play.


I think, SNG’s are a good way to begin to a feel for a final table, but as @smooth99 suggested a MTT is the ultimate challenge to have the opportunity to play in the final table, IMO

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MTTs are the best way to prep for the final table. SNGs on the other hand you are already there.

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SNG’s is a great starting point and gives you the confidence to play the MTT’s and really have the feeling & learning what the final table is like. I believe the MTT’s is the ultimate challenge. I would still suggest to all new players and at time’s, it helps an old wore out player like me lol, this MTT. It is named The Burn Out. It is a four seat MTT at 11:00 pm est. IMO this tournament is the best way to prepare/practice for the final table experience. GL everyone at the tables

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The question here is “prepare/practice” for final table experience.

Just playing Mtts isn’t going to give u “practice” for final table. U are playing the Mtt to get to the final table lol.

The only way to get a “comparable” Final Table experience is SNG’s b/c u get to learn how to “clear” a table of fixed opponents that don’t change as they do during the prior play in an Mtt. The “Fixed” opponents is the key here b/c that is what the final table is. This is a No Brainer and the closest ur going to get and I encourage players to use this option as it is available and useful if that is part of ur game that u feel needs improvement. It’s not perfect but as I said it is the “Closest” thing u can get.

Good Luck, The Goat :goat: :slight_smile: