I've written in the past that you estimate how an opponent might bet on the last few hands - especially the last hand - of a tournament round by observing their tendencies. You can also estimate if your player is a studied player or not. I like to name my players in my head during a round as follows: Biggie Bettman Chip Titehold Ace Sharpe You can probably surmise the player types by the names I've used for them. I've also more recently added Max Baysic to my player profiles. Max is a reg who manages his bankroll effectively. But he behaves predictably on the last hand; i.e., betting the maximum and doubling aggressively even if there are better bets and actions available. What is the single most important player read you can make? If you make no other reads, ask yourself the following question: Is the player on my immediate left a studied player? Identify that by mid-round so you can adjust your mid to late hand strategy. You will either be acting last on the last hand and not need any reads at all, or your left-hand player will have position on you for sure. The player two to your left has only half the probability of having position on you as the player to your immediate left. If the player to your left is a studied player, you will have to take significant risks to have any lead on the last hand. That is because he will have identified you as a studied player and will exploit his positional advantage to target you. He will treat your chip stack like an Olympic archer treats a target down range. On the last hand the studied player on your immediate left will have a formidable arsenal of weapons to use against you. If he has any lead over you, you will need a small miracle to overtake him. If you're lucky enough to have a small lead over him, he will know how to use his positional advantage to neutralize the benefits of your lead, or even turn the tables on you. You will need to take even bigger risks in order to get a safer lead over the studied player on your left. A small lead out of position even heads up against this player is barely better than a race. That's because you have to hold back more unbet chips than his chip stack. He will bet big and beat you if he wins his hand. If unstudied players are still threats on the last hand, you will have to overcome odds that are against you even if you have a small lead. That is the effect of the studied player on your immediate left. How do you identify a studied player? First of all, you yourself need to be a studied player. It takes one to know one. If that player seems to be observing stack sizes and does things the way you would do them, that's a studied player. If a player does something early to mid-round that raises your eyebrows, that's an unstudied player. Use that information. The unstudied players you can classify as Biggie Bettman, Chip Titehold, or Max Baysic. Max Baysic is harder to identify. The vast majority of the unstudied players will bet the max on the last hand. However their profile can be used in the late hands before the last hand. There is a possibility Max Baysic will take a low while keeping the option to double for the high, but he often won't play the double-down decisions correctly on the margins and so won't capture most of the benefits of the double-downs. The Biggie Bettman and Chip Titehold profiles are for the mid to late round before the last hand. They will likely bet the max and double aggressively on the last hand, though Chip might not double aggressively enough. Biggie is more likely than Chip to do it when he doesn't need to. Chip might bet the minimum or not double aggressively enough.