MCU poker tip: How much chips worth in tournament?

Don’t be discouraged if you only have as many chips as you started with late in a common “proportional-payoff” poker tournament. Most players think it’s necessary to gather chips early, but it isn’t.

If you have the same $500 you started with after three-quarters of the players are eliminated, the same amount of money is out there against you as when the tournament began. It hasn’t gotten any better or any worse. But what has gotten better is that there are fewer players contending for the cash prizes.

Better off

Mathematically, your prospects of profit have increased. So, you’re always better off with the same amount of chips later in a tournament than when the first hand was dealt.

A common piece of poker advice is that you must strive to keep pace with the average chip stack remaining in the tournament. You don’t need to do that. If you cherish your chips, that short remaining stack might grow suddenly toward the end of the event, when the stakes are high. But if you get desperate, you may never get a chance to see that eventual good run of cards.

Survival matters

As your chips get fewer, their value increases. Survival matters in typical proportional-payout tournaments. Stay the course. Many players think it’s a disgrace to get blinded out of a tournament. It isn’t.

Often, you’re giving yourself a better chance at the money by remaining patient. You’ll probably be eliminated, but you’ll also probably be eliminated if you get desperate and play bad percentage hands.

Best chance

Whether you get blinded out slowly or go out suddenly, broke is broke. Give yourself the best chance.

Remember, the trick is to survive. Don’t panic if your stacks don’t grow. You’d rather they would, but you’re still better off, even if they stay the same. — MC

Published by

Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.


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