Won’t Back Down

Today I’d like to show you hidden information that pros will use to make an all-in move. Remember that professional poker players are not tapping into some unknown force to make money at poker. They are, however, very aware of the information that we will cover today.


There are 4 players left in this multi-table tournament (MTT) which was a $55 buy-in with about $5,000 going to first place. 4th place pays out around $1,200 so it’s a good day for me. The blinds and antes are $2,500/$12,500/$25,000. Player 122 has about 12 big blinds, Player 273 about 22 big blinds, Player 21 about 55 big blinds, and I have about 9 big blinds, making me the shortest stack at the table. Often times players will raise with weaker hands in an effort to bully the short stack. Key factors in this hand and others are previous action, stack size, table position, and hand strength. Simply put:

  • Previous action – What happened before my turn?
  • Stack Size – Do I have a short, medium, or large stack?
  • Table Position – Where am I seated relative to the blinds?
  • Hand Strength – Is my hand good, bad, or mediocre?

The action begins with Player 122……


Player 122 folds. Player 273 folds. Player 21 raises. The ESPN cameras are on, the lights are bright, what’s the right play?

When teaching poker, The Poker Model refers back to the variables above instead of leaving you to feel it out. Let’s answer the questions we asked.

Previous action – What happened before my turn? Action folded to Player 21, who raised.

Player 21 could be raising with any two cards. He is in The Small Blind and can apply pressure because of his big stack and my short stack.  

Stack Size – Do I have a small, medium, or large stack? Small

The Poker Model defines a small stack as having less than 20 big blinds.

Table Position – Where am I seated? The Big Blind

The Big Blind is always seated one to the left of The Small Blind

Hand Strength – Is my hand good, bad, or mediocre? Good

Action folding to The Small Blind (TSB) + Raise from The Small Blind (TSB) + I have Short Stack seated in The Big Blind (TBB) = A-7 is good = Raise all-in.

Because I’m in the Big Blind, have a short stack, action has folded to the Small Blind, and he has a big stack, I would make the move with any ace or any pocket pair over 44. This range of hands gives me the best opportunity to be called and dominating. While I can never know for certain that I’ll be ahead (because premium hands will always be in his range), this is an example where a seemingly average hand can be way ahead.      


I raise all-in and am called by Player 21. He shows A-3, which is a hand that I am mathematically dominating. As a poker player, I’ve already won regardless of what happens on the run out because I’ve made the right play. I have used the information available to me and found a situation that, if presented infinite times, would make me a very rich man if I repeated this action. Let’s not get too caught up in the logic and enjoy the ride of the Flop, Turn, and River.


The Flop comes 6c-Kc-Qh. Followed by the Js on the Turn and the 6h on the River. We cover basics like how to read your hand in The Poker Model training program. This is a split pot because we both have One Pair 6s, A,K,Q High. I can feel good that I didn’t back down from the big stack and am on to the next hand, even after splitting a pot that I had every right to win.


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