Originally Posted by TriggaLos
Your girlfriend might tell you that size doesn't matter , but in poker stack size is everything. Especially when you get short handed on a final table or in a one table SNG.
You need to start looking and paying a ton of attention to your stack size with five players left. You want to keep your stack size in the top three. The blinds should be getting big enough to make stealing profitable. Concentrate on stealing to maintain and grow your stack.
Don't call shoves from short stacks that have a stack half the size of yours, unless you have a monster!!! By monster, I mean QQ+. Depending on the player shoving, I might call with AK, AQ. But you don't really want to risk half you stack on a coin flip. At least I don't. I see too many players with big stacks end up not even cashing in a one table SNG, due to calling too many shoves from the short stacks.
It sounds like you don't have a problem getting to the money, but now that you are there, you want to win the tourney not be the brides maid. If you were aggressive, you should be chip leader or second in chips with three players left. I'm never the short stack at the table, unless some idiot sucks out on me. By this point you have an idea of who is tight and who is loose. Three handed is all about being aggressive.
Now, I hate it when I have two nits that wont make any moves. Because, you can only steal so long three handed, until they start to play back at you. It's easier when you have someone else that will be aggressive there with you, cause he is your ticket to first place. The key is to be aggressive, but not over aggressive, you want the other aggressive player to look like the aggressive one. Don't be afraid to fold your sb or your button. If you are chip leader you don't need to steal non stop, same with second in chips. What we want is a hand like AT+ or TT+ in the sb or bb. And we want to three bet the steals, and slowly accumulate chips. It will become obvious if you have someone stealing on the button, non stop. You can three bet here with ATC after awhile. All the time you are gaining chips.
Now you either have the chip lead, with two small stacks at the table or you are second in chips and the short stack has about 2k or less in his stack. At this point you want to make sure the short stack doesn't get a walk when he's the bb, you want to keep pressure on him non stop. This is easy to do, if you are the sb when he is the bb. Not as easy if you are the button when he is the bb.
If you are sb when he is bb. Fold to steal attempts, from the button, unless you have AT+, TT+. If you have a AT+, TT+, three bet shove the steal attempt from the button. This will put pressure on the bb to have to call for his tourney life. We want to put pressure on him, in hopes he calls with a wide range and we can take him out. Or he folds and loses his bb. Now if we are chip leader the button is calling for his tourney life and he's usually stealing with a lot wider range than he'll call a shove with, so more times than not he folds. If we are second in chips, we have a ton of FE against the button raiser, he doesn't want to tangle with us, because our stack is the only stack left that can cripple him, so again in most cases he folds. If he calls, we are usually a coinflip at the worst.
If you are the button when the short stack is bb. This is where it can get hard to keep the pressure on the short stack, if the sb keeps giving the bb a walk. Here you might want to open up your range a little and steal as much as possible on the button. The idea is you don't want the short stack getting any walks in the blinds. If the guy in the sb is aggressive, let them battle it out. The sb will either make a mistake and become the short stack or he'll take out the short stack.
If all goes to plan, most of the time you'll be heads up with the chip lead and in a great position to win the tournament. If you are not the chip leader, the stacks should be close to the same size, which also gives you a great chance to win HU. In rare cases you'll be a two to one dog or worse HU.
HU play, you want to be aggressive. Keep the pressure on your opponent. You want to be rasing or folding HU. You don't want to be calling that often. Feel your opponent out, if he's calling your button raises and checking the flop, fire a c bet, if he folds, keep doing it till he plays back at you. If he's aggressive, wait for your spots to push back, make yourself look passive. When faced with a very aggressive player tighten up your range a little, but DO NOT CALL his bets, either raise or fold. You want to put him in a position to make a mistake and pot commit himself so you can take the tourney down. Avoid calling AIPF, unless you have AJ+ or 88+. When I'm HU I try not to get AIPF unless I have 3/4ths to 5/8ths of all the chips in play.
It's early, if I didn't make much sense, I'm sorry. Fell free to post any questions or PM me. The point I was trying to make is winning a one table SNG or winning a final table in an MTT, starts long before the final three players are left. I know Snow has said this before, but one table SNG's are the best place to learn how to play final table poker. Also, HU SNG's are a great place to learn how to play HU. To keep your game sharp, you should be playing One table SNG's and HU SNG's on a regular bases.