After fighting like a true Spartan you made it into the final table of a tourney, but your stack is rather short and the blinds are rather high. According to the payout structure only the top 5 players will get paid in this proportion: 40%, 25%, 15%, 12%, 8%, and it looks like you will be able to scramble into 4th or 5th position at best. Suddenly, someone at the table says “The blinds are pretty high, and we’ll be tossing coins soon. What about we work a deal?”

That should sound great to you: a five-way split would give you 20% of that money rather than the meager 8% or 12% you were hoping for, doubling up your profit. Should you go for it? Definitely!

Most situations where you make a deal will not be that straightforward, and deals will often not be as simple as an even split of the pot. What you have to do when the occasion arises is think carefully on how to maximize your profit out of the tourney, and if it looks like a deal is better than playing to the end then bargain hard for the best pay you can get.

Several things have to be into consideration in order to make the most of a tournament deal:

     Stack size: if you have a lot of chips, try to get a division proportional to the chip count – that means more money for you! If you are the short stack, however, you should oppose this proposal firmly, and try to make the distribution as even as possible. 

     Position relative to the blinds: if you have not paid the big blind yet, you are in a good position to accept a deal. But if somebody tries to make a deal before they pay the big blind, demand compensation for it. 

      Tourney points: if there are points for tourney winners, make sure to take them into account when negotiating. If you have the biggest stack, you may want to ensure all the money is split so the tourney ends there with you as winner. If you’re short stacked, demand more money from the big stacks, arguing they will get the tourney points. 

     You can get a good edge for negotiating a deal simply by saying “I do not want to make a deal”, as often the player who most wants the deal will be willing to offer you more to help you decide. Even if you really want to make a deal (like in the example above), it can be worth your while to “bluff” and try to get more.

Party Poker is an excellent place to practice your deal-making skills, as they now offer improved deal negotiation features in their software. Deal making is available for most real money, multi-table tourneys except those who have prizes beside the money, such as entries into other tourneys. The software at Party Poker is very easy to use: once all players have agreed to discuss a deal and clicked on the deal option, the tourney halts and a payout window is displayed. This is the moment to drive a hard bargain and use all your negotiating skills. Once an agreement has been reached, the chip leader will submit it for everyone’s approval, but it can only take effect if all players accept it. At this point the money will be instantly deposited into your account, and if there is any money left in the pot the tourney will resume.

Even though nobody makes headlines for their deal-making abilities, negotiating a good split is a very profitable poker skill, and one that can really benefit your bankroll. If you play poker for money, you should know by now that your main goal is not to win-win-win but to maximize profits and minimize losses, and deal-making is a fundamental part of tourney play in this respect. Party Poker is an excellent place to develop and hone these skills so get out there, play hard, and – if the situation arises – get the best possible deal and profit from every tourney you enter!

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