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StrategySit & Go

Tournaments - Deals


In this article
  • The different type of deal methods
  • Deal or no deal?
  • Which deal goes with which stack?

Instead of playing out the tournament, the remaining players of an MTT final table are able to agree upon dividing the money amongst themselves. The option for a deal appears as soon as the final table has been reached, but mostly it's only used when only two to three players are left.

The fact that the blinds and antes are relatively high compared to the average chip stack at the end of a tournament, makes a deal rather attractive. This article discusses the pros and cons of deal makings in MTTs.

The different possibilites for making a deal

The Chip Count Method

A popular method which has been deemed fair is to divide-up the prize pool according to the chip counts. The remaining prize money for the open places is added up, the minimum amount for each player is subtracted and the rest is proportionally paid out to the players depending on the amount of their chips.


Three players are still sitting at the final table. The payouts for the remaining open places total up to:


  • 1st place: $ 50.000
  • 2nd place: $30.000
  • 3rd place: $20.000

Total: $100,000

The chip counts of the players are:

  • Player A: 200.000
  • Player B: 120.000
  • Player C: 80.000

Total: 400,000

In proportion to the total number of chips in the game they have:

  • Player A: 50%
  • Player B: 30%
  • Player C: 20% of the chips.

As the third place receives a guaranteed $20,000 prize money share, this is used as the base for the deal as every player receives this amount in any case. So first of all, $60,000 will be subtracted (3x$20,000) from the $100,000, divided amongst the players, and the remaining pool of $40,000 will be split according to the chip counts. Player A receives 50%, player B 30% and player C 20% of the money.

The bottom line looks like this:

  • Player A: 40.000$
  • Player B: 32.000$
  • Player C:28.000$

As seen in the example, the chip count method offers every party a fair distribution. This is only the case, though, if the players' stacks are very even. In the example, player C wins more as a short stack than if he dropped out immediately, and the chip leader receives less than he would for a regular tourney win.

This changes, though, as soon as the chip counts of the individual players become more imbalanced.

An example on the basis of the PartyPoker payout structure:

$11 ($10 + $1 Fee) Regular tournament with 500 participants, 3 players remaining

Prize pool: $5,000

  • 1st place receives $1,250 (25%)
  • 2nd place receives $700 (14%)
  • 3rd place receives $413 (8,26%)

The players have:

  • Player A: 80%
  • Player B: 10%
  • Player C: 10% of the total chips in play.

The remaining prize pool amounts to $2,363. As the third place finisher receives $413, they're subtracted from the prize pool. Thus $1,124 remain ($2,363 - $1,239), which will be divided according to the amount of chips. So player A receives another $889.20, and players B and C receive $112.40.

The bottom line looks like this:

  • Player A receives 1312,20$
  • Player B receives 525,40$
  • Player C receives 525,40$

In this example, the chip leader fares better than the two short stacks. While in a normal payout he'd receive 25% of the prize pool, he now receives 26%. This proves that the chip count method, so dividing the prize pool according to the chip counts, is more profitable for the chip leader if the stacks aren't even.

The ICM Method

You calculate the value of the chips with the help of an ICM calculator and divide the remaining money accordingly. These values are fairer than with a chip count deal. You can visualize what is fair and try to convince the opponents to go in the direction which is more profitable for yourself. Because generally, only a few opponents actually know what would really be fair.

For the previously mentioned examples it would result into:

Example 1 with 50%, 30%, 20% stacks (chip count deal in brackets):

  • Player A: $38,392, ($40,000)
  • Player B: $32,750, ($32,000)
  • Player C: $28,857, ($28,000)

Example 2 with 80%, 10%, 10% Stacks (chip count deal in brackets):

  • Player A: $1,133, ($1,312)
  • Player B: $614, ($525)
  • Player C: $614, ($525)


You can clearly see that the big stack gets worse off, the middle stack better off and the short stack clearly better off than with the chip count deal.

The Post Deal Method

Another method, the post deal method, entails evenly dividing the prize pool amongst the remaining players and to continue playing for the rest. This method is often used with evenly big chip stacks, as everybody receives the same share of the prize pool and the rest will be played off. The players are left to take care of who will receive the money – only the winner, or the remaining places will be paid extra.

$11 ($10 + $1 Fee) Regular tournament with 500 participants, 3 players remaining

Prize pool: $5,000


  • 1st place receives $1,250 (25%)
  • 2nd place receives $700 (14%)
  • 3rd place receives $413 (8.26%)

The remaining prize pool amounts to $2,363. The players opt for the post deal method and divide the pool into three equal amounts with a portion remaining. Thus everybody receives $700 and the remaining $263 ($2,363 - $2,100) is attributed to the winner.

The bottom line looks like this:

  • 1st place receives $963
  • 2nd place receives $700
  • 3rd place receives $700


It shows that this method is more profitable for short stacks. The third placed finisher would at this time receive the prize money for the second place. In addition there is still the opportunity to win the $263 for first place. If you were chip leader at this point though, this deal method is not the best as you are worse off than with the chip count method, even if you win.

The Seat + Chip Count Method

This method simply combines the post deal and chip count methods. First of all, every player receives a fixed amount for his seat, for still being at the table and having some chips, as with the post deal method. On the other hand, the remaining amount will not be played off, but divided via chip count deal.

This method was created because short stacks often didn't want to accept chip count deals for the reason that not only their chips have a value, but also the seat they sit on. Because with this they still have the opportunity to win the tournament. (“All you need is a chip and a chair.”)

ICM calculations are fairer, but only a few people understand them, let alone being able to work them out in their head. The shorter your own stack, the more you profit from a big share for the seat. As a super short stack you should suggest such a deal.


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Comments (1)

#1 mouse89, 06 Oct 08 15:07