Achieving Poker Tournament Goal Three: Making It into the Money

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When you survive in a poker tournament long enough to be in a prize-paying position, you are in the money. The most critical time in any tournament is often when you are a few positions away from getting paid. There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than seeing a player who was all-in win a hand without knocking someone else out when you’re low on chips and have to pay the blinds for the next two hands. When there only need to be a few players eliminated before the remaining players win money, all remaining tournament tables will go hand for hand, meaning each table starts a hand at the same time and waits for the other tables to complete the hand they’re on before beginning a new hand. Going hand for hand prevents a table from playing more slowly than other tables, resulting in fewer hands and less risk of a player being eliminated from that table. If the tables didn’t go hand for hand, eventually no one would make any moves and the tournament would not progress.

When only a few more players need to be eliminated before all remaining players are in the money, and you have more chips than some of your opponents, you can often pick up pots from them by raising. Raising opponents with short stacks forces them to decide whether they want to risk being eliminated out of the money. Many opponents will want to guarantee that they get some money out of the tournament, especially when they’re so close to getting paid, so they will often fold and let you pick up a relatively small pot. If you have a short stack and another player raises enough to put you all-in, you need to make the same decision. In most cases it’s just fi ne to fold, based on the premise that you should secure a guaranteed prize and fi ght to improve your position afterward.

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