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Playing 88 at the final table.

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  • Playing 88 at the final table.

    This hand came up a couple weeks back at a $200 buy in No Limit Game and I have been thinking about it ever since. It was the final table 10 or 9 players left and I am sitting with 56k. Blinds are 2k-4k. Third seat left of the blinds I have 88. The big stacks are to my right and fold. With only smaller or equal stacks left to act I make it 16k to go. All fold to the SB who goes all in with 36k. I have seen this player move all in, and double up twice, on previous hands with Q10s and an A5o. I really was not giving his raise much respect until the BB put his 28k in with out much thinking. In the short time that I have been at the final table I have not seen the BB get much action to get a fix on him so I had to take time to think this one out. It will cost me 20k to play against the two players that are all in. I have 40k left so if I call and lose it will still leave me with 20k and I will become the low stack at the table. To top things off the blinds and antes are rather steep and only two spots off. For the big blind to call and nice size raise from an early/mid position player, me, and an all in reraise I came to the conclusion that he may have a made pocket pair that beats mine. After hitting the time button a couple times I told the table that I was going to lay down my 88 and did just that.

    When the two blinds revealed their cards SB had KQo and the BB had AKo. To top things off the flop was rags that included an 8. BB takes down the pot and a couple players at the table remarked “ouch”, referring to my “would be” flopped set. This hand brings up three questions for me:

    1. How many of you would call with AK in this situation as the BB did? Keep in mind that there was a pot size raise from and early position player followed by an all in from the SB. I did state that I didn’t give the SB much respect so I guess that the BB felt the same way about him. When I am in this situation I have to figure that I am up against a PP and very possibly another AK. Not only does this reduce the odds for drawing out but also if you make your draw you tie. And giving the position of the original raiser my AK may move from a slight dog to a huge dog if he holds a very possible AA or KK. I will usually pass here if I was the BB in the exact situation (stack sizes/position of raisers) that I have described.

    2. How many of you would call the 88 here? It is a big pot if you should hit your set and you will take out two players in the process. The call will not leave you broke but you will definitely be hindered with your choice of cards to play in the next couple hands. Even though I was ahead preflop in this situation I would still have to give considerable thought of one of them having a better pp and unless I had a real good read on the other players would still lay it down. Am I wrong? Does the larger pot with no further betting and my stack size make the call right?

    3. I remember reading that your odds of having a pocket pair are slightly better than a player calling with two over cards. If I remember right the odds are 11/10 in favor of the made pair. What are the odds of having a made pair vs two players holding three over cards to you as in this situation (AKQ)? That leaves 8 cards in the deck that can hit the board that will beat you. Well not really when you factor in straights and miracle flushes. Can someone with Wilson’s Texas Hold’em software plug this in and see what the outcome would be after a few thousand hands?

    Appreciate your input,


  • #2



    K,Qo = 22.2% wins, 1029 draws
    A,Ko = 35.83% wins 1029 draws
    8,8 = 41.97% wins 307 draws

    This is run as all hands all-in to the river for 100,000 iterations.
    The 8,8 pair against two hands of overcards with a common card in both hands of overcards. They have 2-K's + 3-A's + 3 Q's a total of Nine outs to pair up and beat you assuming you don't catch a 8 to make a set or better.

    Does this help? You would have to read your oponents well to determne they are both on only overcards. Your a slight favorite and you can't go bust in this situation. But you made a prudent laydown to keep from being crippled (sometimes you must dump the close ones to have a better chance to advance for a win).


    • #3

      The blinds and antes will only take a bit over 10 percent of your stack; your hand, as you saw, cannot stand a reraise. This points up the inadvisability of bringing in this (very marginal) hand
      for a raise from early position, with this kind of money in front of you. If you had had, say 15K, it would be worth it to move in, since the blinds are coming,and you probably won't see a better hand,but the money's too deep here.

      In this spot, I don't like the BB' s call at all.He can easily be in big trouble if you also call, though may be a favourite or only a slight dog facing only the SB; moreover, unless he believed he picked up a tell that you were intending to fold your hand, really doesn't know what you're going to do. He was fortunate indeed, IMO, the outcome notwithstanding. The BB's call was, I assume, based on his observation of the SB's previous weak play.

      The pot is indeed large, but your concern in this spot should be minding your chips, not trying to break a short stack. That job falls to the big stacks.

      Hope this is of use to you, and good luck!



      • #4


        • #5
          Hi SheWolf - interesting problem.

          My gut feel is that your substantial preflop raise, out-of-position, has in in fact created this bad situation. It just looks and feels wrong to invest a high %age of your stack on a hand that doesn't really want heavy action behind it. Then at the end the pot seems to be offering you around 9-2 for the call ...

          Some rough simulations with your 88 vs a few plausible hands (figures are ev)

          88 - 18%
          TT - 45%
          AK - 36%

          88 - 44%
          77 - 18%
          AK - 38%

          88 - 16%
          99 - 18%
          QQ - 68%

          88 - 30%
          KQs - 35%
          AJs - 35%

          With the pot offering 9-2 it looks as though the call is right. Even in the worst possible case of 88 vs 2 overpairs you're not far short of the correct odds. In many other plausible scenarios you're getting very good odds, especially if your read of the SB is right.

          In fact I'd probably have laid that hand down too, the way it played out (but poker maths has never been my strong subject :wink: ). However, I'd have been tempted originally to limp with it at a passive table, or just fold it preflop if the table was notably aggressive.

          But it raises another interesting point - If you start with a mistake (assuming your preflop raise was a mistake), should you follow the hand through according to correct maths, or give it up as a bad job? My vote would probably be for the latter




          • #6
            i would prefer to know how many started and how many paid first but IMHO once you made the raise with 88 you basically committed your self to the pot after the sb and bb both went in you were odds on to lose on this hand but were getting pot odds to make the call only way i would fold would be if the next player out was the bubble you basically still had enough to make a big money finish and folding would nearly give you a 100% money seat from which you can gamble to make in a bigger pay day if only 5 or 6 seats paid take the pot odds and go for it


            • #7
              Hazy, You think my mistake was the preflop bet of 16k. I would like to say that I would not make a bet of this amount if there were big stacks left to act behind me or my stack was 30k-49k. Smaller than 30k I probably would take an all in shot and hope for the best. 30k-49k I would just double the blinds. The only way to read a player online is through betting patterns. If I was playing in a B&M game I probably would not make such a big raise either. But to me, Pot size raises from this posistion tell me three things,decent to great PP, AK, or at the very least AQ. I wanted to let the players left to act that I had a hand, marginal as it is, that I wanted to play. With half the players left to act after a small raise you run the risk of callers with hands such as KQ, AJ, small PPs and maybe even a QJs or a AXs. I did not want to create a mutiway pot holding 88 and being first to act on the flop then find out that I had the best hand preflop. I also did not want to create a steal opportuninty. No, I had to tell the players that I had a hand and with 56k I had the chips to convey that message.

              However after just stating that this hand did make me gun shy for the rest of the game. I managed to rebuild my stack to over 100k. UTG I had AKo and made a minimum raise. The player to my immediate left (who has been kind of quite till now) with a stack 3/4 of mine moves all in and I lay down the AK. I few hands later I was on the cut off with KQs made a minimum raise and the same player, now the button, moves all in again on me. Again I lay it down. He really put a hurting on my stack which is now about 80k. I managed to rebuild my stack a bit by winning the blinds going all in with 99. A few hands latter I was in the BB with KK. This guy who has been reraising me is UTG and makes a minimum raise. I firgure he had at least an AX and I wanted to win more than was just in the pot right now but didn't want to chase him away with an all in. I forget what the amount to call was but I reraised him 40k over that, about half my stack. He moves all in again on me, which I was happy to see and I call. He shows AKo and an A hit the river to bust me out in 4th. He had a commanding chip lead now and when I checked the bust order the next day I find that he went out in third. That really makes me wonder if he was stealing from me on the previous all ins he put on me and I had laid down.

              My point from all this is that a minimum raise does not get much respect here which is why the I made the pot size bet when I held the 88. I probably would play that hand the same way and lay it down again when similiar situations arise. What really threw me off was the fact that the BB who was not in a do or die situation after just paying the BB and still had 28k left called the SB's all in after I made a serious raise? I really think that is a horrible play to take AK into a very possible three way pot where there is a good chance that you can be up against AA or KK to boot.



              • #8


                • #9
                  Now I understand what you are saying Haze. If I make a raise for a hand that I would release if I get played back at then I shouldn't make such a big raise to begin with. With the stack I had relative to the others I was ready to call an all in from any of players left to act if the hand was heads up. It's when it went three way after an all in reraise that the recording, "Warning! Danger Will Robinson," began to play in the back of my head. To be honest to myself I more than likely would have called if I had QQ or JJ. I was worried about the BB having 99 or 1010 more than anything. I guess I will have to factor this possibility in when I make such a move from an early position. I did learn something from this.

                  Thank You



                  • #10
                    Re: Playing 88 at the final table.

                    Originally posted by SheWolf
                    This hand came up a couple weeks back at a $200 buy in No Limit Game and I have been thinking about it ever since. It was the final table 10 or 9 players left and I am sitting with 56k. Blinds are 2k-4k. Third seat left of the blinds I have 88. The big stacks are to my right and fold. With only smaller or equal stacks left to act I make it 16k to go.
                    I think one question you should have asked yourself before deciding on the amount of the riase was what you would do if someone played back at you for all their chips. That would have gone a long way to pointing you in the direction of a raise that's maybe only the big blind, or a much bigger -- even an all-in -- raise. I think your raise came out of that vast, gray "can't hold on, can't let go" middle area, and deciding precisely how mcuh you liked your hand would have gone a long way to deciding on the amount to raise.