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You Decide #60

I'm in the process of writing up my trip report for my Saturday solo run to AC, but in the meanwhile, wanted to share a hand history that once again left me confused. The common theme of late is calling all-ins, and this is no exception. Please let me know what you think.

I am in a 27-person NLHE SNG, with a $20+2 buy-in at PokerStars. I am at the final table with only 8 players left and 5 places paying out. The blinds are still at a manageable 100/200, 25 ante and I have 4472, which is good for 4th place (against two players with ~3800 and one player with ~2700).

I am dealt 88 in the BB. The table has been fairly tight with the exception of the big stack, Wiser, who has over 15,000 with second place barely about 5,000. One ther player, Daisy, seems to have bursts of loose aggression, but otherwise appears tight. She is also the shortstack with ~2700. The PokerTracker numbers on all players except for Wiser suggest tight play.

Preflop, Daisy raises to 600 (3x the BB) from the CO. Wiser, in the BB, calls. I decide to flat call. Should I raise here? I didn't think so, preferring to see a flop before I make my next step. This would avoid getting into a raising war with AK or even AQ only to see a AKQ flop. It also avoids a raising war with dominating hands, but on the other hand, it also doesn't define my opponents' holdings. If I should've raised, what would be a proper amount? A min-raise doesn't push anyone off of the hand but may give me info (i.e., whether my opponent calls or raises). Assuming I am folding to a raise, that means I have to put 1000 into the pot, merely to define where I am at. If I raise larger (3x the bet to 1800 perhaps), then I run into the same problem and I am putting almost 1/2 of my stack into the pot before we even see a flop.

So, call, raise or fold?

The flop comes down 247, with two spades. I check, Daisy pushes all-in for a little over 2000 and Wiser calls. This is where the decision really confused me in the hand. The flop was all unders, which was great, but the push made me fear 99 or TT or even a flopped set. Even with all of that, I was inclined to call...until Wiser called. Once Wiser called, I assumed that he had a good enough hand to call an all-in for 2k given the flop. That meant at the very least a flush draw, which is something I want to avoid. We are very close to the bubble, too. So, I folded.

Good fold or bad fold?

And for fun, why not guess what my opponents held.

Eventually, I ended up bubbling in the tournament when my AK fell to KJ. Ugly, I tell ya, but I played well. After the loss, I thought about the bad luck on the end, but realized that the true fault lied not with luck, but with some of the decisions that occurred earlier in the game. That is probably the hardest part of this recent unlucky streak I have been on. I try not to dwell on bad beats here because (a) no one wants to hear it and (b) it always sounds like an excuse for bad results, but it has been a rough patch. Even so, its never luck's fault. Luck is going to do what it is going to do. All I can do is improve in those areas where I can accumulate more chips or save more chips.

Expect a long post about AC in the next few days. Even though it was just one day, it may warrant a few posts.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 7:37 PM,


At 3:28 PM, Blogger lucko said...

I think you overthink things way too much. Shove that 88 pre without thinking twice. You are ahead of their ranges big time and there is more than enough in the middle to warant a shove.

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would definitely not shove the 88 preflop.

I would probably call the all-in, though. You've probably got the shortstack beat - he/she is probably just trying to steal the pot without much contest, because of the weak flop, and even if she has something, you could still have her beat. The second caller is a little scarier, but I think it's worth the risk - you do have an overpair, and if you win a big pot like this, it could push you up to being chip leader, putting you in a great position to win the whole thing rather than being near last and fighting just to get past the bubble.

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Preflop, call is fine. If you are to raise though, you gotta shove. There's no good amount to raise and then fold. That's just bad poker because you're pot committing yourself and yet you're not quite getting the fold equity you are looking for AND you've just made yourself the short stack.

Post flop, easy fold. Sure if the big stack folded, it would be an easy call. But with the big stack calling, what do you do on the turn? River? Basically, you're about to commit 50% and you don't even know what card you want to see (besides your two outer and I'm not even sure if one of them would complete the flush or not).

Shorty's push could be anything even though it smells more like two overcards (middle pair like 99 or TT would seem to shove pre in this situation). The call from the big stack might be anything too. It could be a OESD or something with 5-6 or maybe a weak A. I don't necessarily put them on hands but on the same token, the SB could have like A5 both spades.

The more I think about it, I agree with lucko. Shove preflop. It's the most likely way to get it heads up against the shorty.

At 4:48 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I agree, shove preflop, but I can see why you just called. Since you didn't shove preflop, this still screams for a shove here. The short stack probably has nothing that beats your 8s, and the big stack is just calling because he's the big stack and is a huge stack idiot, so put the squeeze on and shove.

Do not just call. And it's still hard to do anything but fold here since it's just a pair of 8s, which is why shoving preflop is the answer.

At 5:59 PM, Blogger lj said...

i wouldn't shove every opponent in this spot, but given what you've said about wiser, i think his calling range is huge here, and daisy raising from the co also gives her a wide range. i think easy shove.

given your call, the flop comes, and there is a shove and a call. now, despite the flop being all unders, i think you have to fold. there's def an argument for overshoving wiser, who could be on a flush or straight draw, but i'm more nervous about my hand post flop when he calls daisy. i would also consider betting out pot here, and committing myself, which maybe keeps out one of the other two. someone could easily call with you a 7.

At 6:14 AM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

When a shortstack raises, unless they're uber-tight they're jamming the flop. The only reasons to raise (i.e. shove pre-flop) are a) you know that the shortie will fold or b) you think you're ahead of anything that the shortie would be willing to try a stop-and-go with.

I don't mind the call pre-flop or the fold post-flop. You're saving chips pre-flop and post-flop you're in a bad situation.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

Hey all. I just wanted to wrap this up by saying that the two players both had AK. I would have won the pot, putting me in great position to cash in one of the top 3 spots.

That said, I am not 100% convinced with some of the commentary that suggested pushing all-in preflop. If I do that, I run into one of three scenarios.

One is that I get called by 99-AA. That's a no-brainer call for either player, leaving me dominated.

Two is that I get called preflop all-in by AK/AQ or other overcard combinations, at which point, I'm coin-tossing for my tournament life when I am in the top 4 spots with top 5 paying and less than a full table left. I think that is a bad gamble here. AK and AQ are going to call.

Three is that I am dominating an underpair, but there is no reason to think that either player will go to war with 22-55, and a slight chance that they will go to war with 66. 77, maybe. So in most scenarios, I don't get in as a dominant hand.

Four, I push and they fold, netting me 1200. This is a good scenario, but its not likely given the preflop action.

Overall, I just don't think a push all-in preflop is the correct play. However, I suppose a push post-flop might not be a bad play, since, if I lose to the shortstack, I might be able to beat the big stack.

At 11:28 AM, Blogger 23skidoo said...

I'm not probably not pushing here, but would raise about 2-3x the initial bet, if you get a push and a call, then you have some decisions to make. Post-flop, I probably fold there too.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger lucko said...

If you never use your 'tournament life' as a reason to make a poker decision ever again, you will be better off. Just saying.


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