How to chop like a poker pro


Michael Laake poker strategy

Often, when you get six players or so at the final table, people start to get nervous and uncomfortable. So, rather than play short-handed, most of the time they would rather just chop. I think chopping is wise and responsible, as long as you’re taking a careful and calculated approach to it.

  • The strengths and weaknesses of opponents should be a factor.
  • Be polite and respectful in negotiating because it’s helps get an agreement.
  • Be sure to use an Independent Chip Model cruncher.
  • Most pros will chop if you meet their minimum.

So, let’s examine my first prerequisite: analyzing the skills of opponents. If they’re passive, uncomfortable, too tight or easy to play against, then those styles can be beaten with low variance tactics and careful consideration. I’m less likely to want to make a deal with these opponents because they don’t cause much of a threat.

Being polite and respectful in negotiating is critical. Often, the quasi-short stack is the first one to pipe up to ask for a deal. Sometimes this player will demand even shares despite his statistically reduced chance of winning. The best way to achieve this is to just focus on presenting what your number in the deal would look like and try not to concern yourself with where this scavenger is going to pick up his extra equity. “Well, if I’m able to get X, then I’m willing to make a deal.” Usually, they will try to find a way to accommodate.

You need to learn and get familiar with the ICM cruncher tool. You want to use this or chip-chopping software to determine the approximate changes to your stacks equity as you progress at the final table. Usually just putting in the final-table payouts into the calculator and giving it an estimation of all remaining stacks is enough to give you a reasonable idea of what your stack is worth.

Having been on the rail for more tournaments than I’ve been in, I can say most people, pro or amateur, will be willing to make a deal as long as their number is met. It’s up to the others to decide if they’re willing to move up or down to accommodate that request. Being confident, respectful and prepared is half of the battle at the final table. I’ve seen far too many players completely blow it because their focus was somewhere else. Don’t be like those players and best of luck with your next deal. – Michael Laake

Chris Cosenza

Chris Cosenza