Books: ‘Final Table’ Review and Gareth James Interview

Books: Review and interview with Final Table autho...

Player and coach Gareth James published his second book “Final Table” with publisher D&B Poker in July this year. The book provides a detailed analysis of a very important topic: various strategies. , this can be applied at the final table of a tournament based on the players still participating.

It is surprising that so few books have been written on the subject, since the biggest prize in a tournament is that it is the key to the final table. So, one mistake can cost you a lot of money, and in the long run you will be on the podium at events more often if you make the right decision.

Book Review

Seventeen-time gold bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth wrote the foreword and some of his words were: “The first thing I loved about this book was how Gareth gave how to play at the final table Long, detailed examples of hands. The second thing I love about this book is that it focuses on the most important moment in your poker career: the final table.

The book is divided into 7 main Sections:

This separation helps a lot because the strategies used for each strategy vary greatly depending on the number of players at the final table. Additionally, people who want to reread a specific chapter can go directly to that chapter to review it again Concepts.

The author does an excellent job of explaining each hand very clearly. You can tell he is a coach and has students because he takes the time to explain why he makes the decisions he makes and by showing What the solver would do in any case to verify these decisions.

One of the highlights of the book is the number of hands that need to be read, 131 hands in total. Because there are so many, he does not limit himself to pointing out Which hands are suitable for going all-in preflop, or where your opponent can go all-in – in. He discusses various scenarios such as limping, blind defending, 3-betting, card grabbers, board structure, short stack strategy, blind fighting, Three-barrel bluffs, hero calling, floating and how to deal with the chip leader are just some of the topics covered.

Towards the end of the book, Gareth discusses continuous improvement and describes what can be used to improve finals Six ways to play table games. He also has a few words on adjusting for weak players, software advice, fixes, different types of chops, what the solver won’t tell you, and the PKO tournament final table.

Who will benefit from this book? Players who regularly play online and use tools like Pio Solver will benefit greatly from reading Final Table. However, the concepts will also be useful for those participating in live tournaments, as many of the concepts Also applicable to live tournaments. This is undoubtedly one of the best books of 2023 and I highly recommend reading it.


Author Interview

We: How the idea came about The idea of ​​writing this book was born. Did D&B also think about similar ideas?

Gareth: My wife and I talked about it. I came up with the idea for an ICM book and realized there was a gap in the market for a solid side table book covering simulations, how to analyze simulations, and how to use logic to understand what’s going on. The next day I emailed Byron Jacobs (of D&B) and had received an email from him asking me to schedule a meeting. During the meeting, he asked me if I wanted to write a book called The Final Table. A very strange 24 hours.

We: I think this is a very important topic, but very little has been written about it. Do you think so too? Why are the decisions we make at the final table so important?

Gareth: Yeah, I think it’s crazy that there isn’t more coverage of probably the most important stage of the game: This is definitely where the most money is won and lost. . Poor decisions and misunderstandings can lead to disasters worth thousands of dollars.

We: I think you did a great job analyzing the hands, there are over 100 hands – how did you choose them, they were given to you by your students of hands or do you have a large database of online tournaments?

Gareth: I review a lot of final tables for my students because it is such an important area of ​​focus and therefore there is a lot of resource material to draw from. I also watched a lot of tournament defining videos with trump cards. Examples in the book come from tournament definitions, my students’ hands, and my own database.

I am reading your book set against the backdrop of the Mendoza landscape.

We: What do you do? Do you think these are the most common mistakes made when the table is full with 8/9 players?


  1. Opening too many hands, especially in early position when covered by the chip leader.
  2. Pay too many out-of-position 3-bets, and the risk premium is high (this doesn’t just apply to the table as a whole, but it’s an important principle to understand). at the start of the final table).
  3. Go all-in and pay too loosely.
  4. Without assessing the situation and understanding who you have the highest risk premium on (note: this is always the case with the chip leader) and finding out where and when they are in the blinds, to Guaranteed post-flop position.
  5. Defend the big blind and gain equity.

We: What are the most common mistakes in three hands and heads up?


  1. In a three-handed table game, there are only ante bets for 3 players, so unless you play the big blind ante of tournaments that would otherwise have less content to compete for. This can lead to the big blind player defending too much, especially when they also factor in the risk premium.
  2. In HU: Fold too much against small bets because you have to defend very far against a minimum bet from a clean pot. Any type of backdoor will do! Ha ha.
  3. To HU: There is no ICM in heads-up, so you should only play with chip EV.

We: Why? Recommend players to read “Final Table”?

Gareth: This way they can understand the intricacies of final table strategy and be prepared for regular and ongoing improvements outside the table. You’ll learn the most important strategies and learning principles for this. PKL: I think you are a good teacher and have a clear understanding of your concepts. Do you like teaching? what do you like the most? Gareth: I am a qualified music teacher and I absolutely love teaching. I like to break things down and make them easier to understand, and I practice this every day in training.

Books: Review and interview with Final Table autho...


  • I think the text provides a positive review of Gareth James’ book “Final Table.” It highlights the importance of strategies at the final table of a poker tournament and praises the book for providing detailed analysis and examples of hands. The reviewer also mentions the book’s division into sections, making it easy to navigate and reread specific chapters. The inclusion of a significant number of hands (131 in total) is also appreciated. The text suggests that online players using tools like Pio Solver will benefit from reading the book, but the concepts are also applicable to live tournaments. Overall, the review highly recommends “Final Table” as one of the best books of 2023.

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