Poker Strategy Article: Battling Nerves at the Online Final Table -I was helping a friend in an online tournament the other night and as he reached the money with a decent chip stack, he mentioned that he was getting nervous. There were still 6 tables left, and he had never even been that deep in a tournament before from a field of more than 2400 players.For a lot of players in these 10 to 30 dollar tournaments, making it into the money could very well mean their poker bankroll multiplying by 10, 25 or even 100! So excitement, fear and greed are normal emotions that you will need to handle especially down to the final table. This is where 80% of the prize pool is at stake, and every elimination means hundreds or thousands more for the remaining players.
I have been at about 40 final tables in the last 3 months and still feel I have to consciously control these feelings in order to make the correct move given all the circumstances. The correct move changes in each situation from going all in with 74s and folding pocket Kings I have done both.Approaching the final table Dewapoker I always target 5th place as a goal. Yes, I know this is contrary to what pros tell you, but I feel if I have made it to fifth, I will be pleased with my performance and gladly take my profit. What this does is relieve you of a lot of pressure, which will be your demise otherwise. Give yourself a pat on the back at 5th, and then get very aggressive. You will be dealing with players who will be just as, or more nervous than you. They may also know you are pushing weak hands, but at 5 handed, everyone is likely to have a weak hand as well. It is critical to be aggressive at this stage because stealing the blinds will advance you to the top three.
I feel a lot of final table decisions should be based on your bankroll. If your bankroll is going to multiply by 20 or more no matter where you finish, I recommend a tight aggressive strategy whereby your objective should be moving up a position or two, as you watch others battle away. If you only have 40 bucks in your account and moving up a spot will mean an extra 650, by all means, tighter the better. For those with larger bankrolls where moving up means less than 20% of your account, then you should be playing more aggressive pre-flop taking as many pots as you can without seeing a turn, and better yet, without seeing a flop.