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What should I have done???

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  • What should I have done???

    Playing in a tourament that payed to 6th place - at final table (10 players) with below average stack of 33,000 (average 48,000). I'm in the blind (blinds 2500/5000 with 500 ante) with 30,000 behind and holding pocket 8s. UG+1 pushes (36,000) making pot 48,500 - all fold to me - should I call all-in or fold?

    As it happened I called and the big blind folded pocket Js but UG+1 had pocket 9s and I was done.

    In retrospect, had I folded the BB would have called and won the hand with a full house.

    If UG+1 had limped in his 9s I would have shoved at any rate and probably been called by the BB and have been finished at the point anyhow.

    Did I make a bad call or just got beat by the percentages?

  • #2
    A lot of your decision here is going to be dictated by stack sizes of the OTHER people at the table.


    Even tho you are under average stack, and even though your stack in relation to the BB amount is very small, are there players who are even SMALLER than you?

    If so, there is a good chance that you can make it ITM by letting OTHER PEOPLE make rash actions first. After you get ITM, and after you have at least locked up a small profit, you can widen your range to start trying to accumulate chips for a deep run or a win.

    In reality, an MTT is largely about picking the right TIME in terms of tournament stages, to look at making chip ups...

    Early stages, when the money is at its deepest, you want to try picking up some smallish pots in order to start building your stack. You really want to avoid BIG POTS in relation to your stack (unless you have a really strong hand), as a big loss right now will tend to hurt your deep run chances more than a big win will help.

    The early stages run until the average stack size is around 50 to 60BB or less.

    Middle stages, when a lot of the chips have sorted themselves out into various size stacks, is a prime time for picking up chips. Ideally you have gained enough chips from your early stage play to be able to "pick off" some of the shorter stacks at your table who are on stacks under 30BB and do not see that their stacks have limited post flop play, and will put chips into the pot then fold. You are also looking to take your better hands against the 10 to 20BB stacks who may be getting desperate enough to make somewhat weak stands. This stage is characterized by more frequent 3 and 4bets pre flop, a lot more re-steals, and other tactics designed to either create BIG pots, or take down much larger pots pre flop than were seen in the early stages.

    The middle stages tend to run from the time that the average stack falls below about 50BB, right up until bubble time.

    Bubble time is when people begin to feel the money approaching. there are multiple ways of approaching bubble play, but my prefered method is to guage the size of my stack in relation to the rest of those in the event and determine my tourney "Q" number (this is a number defined in "Harrington on Hold 'em", and it is the ratio of your stack to the AVERAGE stack left in the tourney).

    If I am below about .6 Q, I am not really set up to make the money at all (unless the bubble is VERY close to busting), so I tend to really amp up my risk acceptance levels in hopes of chipping up for a deep run; if I bust, I was probably not going very far anyway. The closer I get to the bubble busting though, the LESS risk I want to take. If it is a 100 player MTT paying 10, and we are on 25 people left, I'm pretty much at max aggression/max risk. If I am still on a small Q stack when we are down to 15 though, I start to see possibilities in milking my stack to at least a cash and THEN I will amp up the aggression to run deeper.

    If my stack is a very large Q number, say around 1.5 Q+, I have already accumulated a "big stack", one large enough to give me a possible deep run. I really do not want to risk LOSING that advantage simply by banging on short stacks willy nilly, although I will remain open to targets of opportunity to keep growing my stack.

    If I am somewhere between .6 Q and 1.5 Q, I am going to choose my targets wisely. I am looking to test other middle size stacks strongly, and I really want to avoid much larger stacks AND much smaller stacks, at least those who still have enough chips to hurt me. In my view, it is other middle stacks who may tend to be the first to go into "lock down mode" in hopes of ladder climbing to a cash, and I want to exploit that. also, in this range I feel that if I add chips, I increase my chances of a deep run, and if I LOSE chips and we are really close to the bubble, I can probably ladder climb my way to a cash still.

    Your situation here is one I would liken to a bubble situation. The key thing then becomes what is your stack in relation to ALL the other stacks at the table. in large part, that is the determiner of whether you can ladder climb to a cash by folding here, or whether you have to take risks just to make any money.

    If you are on the 5th or 6th stack, and the blinds are approaching 2 shorter stacks after they pass you, I am going to be quite risk averse and fold the 88 to a shove even on your tiny stack in relation to the blinds.

    If you are the 8th 9th or 10th stack, then I am insta-calling that shove. I am the one likeliest to see my stack fall to near un-playability if I keep passing up chances, so I really have to call and just HOPE I am in a race and that I win that race.

    For more information, check out this link:

    There is a technique useful at final tables and in single table SNGs called "Independant Chip Model" that can help you determine your optimal decision in terms of your tournament equity. I've just given you a rough sketch of what I consider in those situations, and ICM thoughts may help you to see them in a new light.

    I'm sorry I cannot address your question here in terms of your situation, but you really did not provide quite enough information for me to make a more situationally specific answer.

    Hope it helps.

    Last edited by JDean; Mon Dec 05, 2011, 09:31 PM.
    Double Bracelet Winner


    • #3
      at that point, I would not care about the avg stack at all. Goal # 1 is to get ITM, Goal # 2 is to get to top 3, Goal # 3 is to take the tourney down.

      How many stacks were lower than you? What reads did you have on UTG+1? Were they playing loose or tight? Did they try to steal many pots? If so, how often?

      Those would be the questions that I'd need to answer in order to form my decision.

      If the opp was playing extremely tight, then I may consider folding... IF AND ONLY IF... there were 3 really short stacks that would be blinded out very soon.

      If the opp was playing loose or stealing, then I'm calling it in a second (unless 3 opps would blind out within the next orbit.. then I'd think about it for a second and still call).

      If the opp wasn't playing to either extreme, then I'm calling it and hoping they don't have me dominated.

      The only way that I don't make the call is if there are 3 stacks that would be blinded out in basically about 1 orbit or less (to get me ITM). Otherwise, i'm taking my chances, as I need chips to get ITM and to start for a top 3 run.

      6 Time Bracelet Winner


      • #4
        Thanks for the insight. I don't recall how short the short stacks were but will make a point of including that information in determing my action in future hands.

        UG+1 is a tight player who doesn't bluff (as far as I know) but as long as he didn't have an over pair I figured I was in a race.

        All I know is that if I fold I would have had less than 5BB remaining after posting another cylce of antes and the blind level would have increased before I posted the next BB.


        • #5
          Hard to say. Would need reads. Probably folding 88 to a UTG shove and just looking for spots to shove myself.

          What hands is your 88 ahead of? You're flipping vs. overs and crushed by a bunch of bigger pairs. Unless he has a lot of 22-77, Axs, etc. in his range, I prefer a fold here as I think you can do better finding your own spots to open shove with fold equity. You still have a few hands before the blinds hit you again. Surely in one of them you will have the option to open-shove. Do it.
          Last edited by oriholic; Mon Dec 05, 2011, 09:59 PM.
          4 Time Bracelet Winner


          • #6
            something else i would check out is folding wars



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