ClubWPT™ Poker Strategy Corner
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Final Table Play Out of Position Vs The Chipleader
This week we're playing a common final table tournament spot where we are defending the Big Blind as a medium stack against the chip leader at the table. Due to the presence of final table pay jumps and 2 shorter stacks, there is significant ICM pressure on us in this spot. We are highly incentivized to avoid getting stacked while the 2 shorter stacks are still alive at this final table.
Because of this, the chip leader in the Cutoff seat can open raise preflop with a much wider range than normal. Our defense range in the Big Blind is narrower than it would be if there were no pay jump considerations. This final table spot changes not just our preflop ranges, but our post flop play as well.
Like most Big Blind defense scenarios, we typically start by checking to the raiser. Our play will often continue to be passive against the chip leader in many spots in an attempt to play smaller pots in general. One exception to this general rule is when we hold high equity but vulnerable hands, such as a medium ranked top pair or overpair. These hands are almost certainly best at the moment, but often suffer greatly from slowplaying. Check-raising all-in on the flop should be part of your toolkit at this stack depth with these types of hands.
Also, even though we typically play passively in this spot, do not be afraid to value bet the river in spots where we are very likely to have the best hand against Villain's calling range. You can also successfully block-bet very small for a cheap showdown at times, especially when holding nut blockers.
To see more examples and test your skills, you can play through the five (4) FREE solved hands from this scenario.
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Use this weekly series of articles to practice the strategies you learn on LearnWPT™ (or at the table) and test your progress by playing a five-hand sample each week.