Toward the end of the game, things have gotten serious, players are tightening up, or loosening up, depending on their standing in the event, and their overall skill-level and strategy, and the final table is a reality. The end stage begins when you’re in the money. That means you’ve won your buyin back, and are going to make a profit no matter how, or badly you play. Many players use this knowledge as an excuse to throw their chips around, taking unusual risks.
Putting this into perspective, if you’re the lowest chipstack, and you’re about to be blinded out, go crazy. You’re already in last place, so you can’t possibly do any worse. If you’re not sitting on the smallest stack however, keep in mind that the amount of money you’ll be receiving for the work you put into getting this far probably goes up for each and every person that you outlast.
When you do play, you want to play aggressively at this point, in fact, you don’t want to play a hand you didn’t raise, but, there’s also nothing wrong with sitting back and letting the other players take each other out of the game if that’s a possibility either. Successful late play revolves around attacking players that have fewer chips than you do. Do not challenge opponents who have more chips than you, unless you are certain that you have the best hand. Let the weak knock each other out. Let other players take unnecessary risks. Your goal is to protect and grow your stack by pressurizing weaker players, and to stay in the tournament until it is heads-up.
Once you get down to three players, you’ll switch gears again, going into ultra-aggresive gear. Show the other players that you’re there to play. Shove into them when they’re in the blinds. Steal any pot that you deem attainable without going out yourself, especially if you’re the shortstack.
Keep this up right on through the heads up portion of the game. You remain in charge and buy as many pots as you’re able. By this time in the game, the blinds are generally pretty high, and by the time your opponents realize that you’re stealing pots, you’ll either be out, or have a pretty considerable lead.