I’m on the Big Blind holding 8h-8d with blinds at $50/$100. I have $2,675 in my stack which is about 26 big blinds, a medium stack according to The Poker Model. 8-8 has potential to be a playable hand depending on what previous action occurs. All other players at the table have over 20 big blinds so I can expect more min-raises and 3-bets than all-ins. Not to say that all-ins will not happen at this level, it’s just more likely that the deeper stacks will not be all-in pre-flop. I don’t need to analyze too much or make any calculations until the action is on me.
Follow the action:
- Under The Gun raises to $200
- Under The Gun +1 and Under The Gun +2 fold
- Cutoff +2, Cutoff +1, and Cutoff call
- Button and Small Blind fold
The action is now on me. Notice that there are four other players in the hand and only one previous raise. On the surface, I can assume that the player raising from Under the Gun has a stronger hand (although not always) and all of the callers behind have average hands because no 3-bets have occured. While it’s possible that some of the callers are slow playing a big hand, like A-A, it’s more likely that these players are looking to see a Flop. We should be aware, but not change our action solely on the chance that a player may be slow playing.
Many players use the idea that the players in the hand are not very strong (except Under The Gun potentially) to justify making an all-in move here with 26 big blinds and 8-8 from the Big Blind. This play is made because they can win a large pot right now if all players fold. If they happened to be called, it’s possible that they will face two over cards where they will be 50/50 to win and double up. One cannot know the odds of being 50/50 here, however, as pocket pairs 9-9 through A-A are within the call range. Additional factors like stack size and aggressiveness of players in the pot will contribute to this as well. For example, an aggressive player with a big stack and 7-7 from Under The Gun may call this all-in, while most other players will fold 7-7.
I don’t like risking my entire tournament by making an all-in move here. My goal is always to be all-in and dominating my opponent. If I had J-J or better, then it’s possible I’ll be called with 9-9 or 10-10 and be winning. With J-J, there are only 3 hands that dominate me (A-A, K-K, and Q-Q) but with 8-8 there are 6. This range is determined by The Poker Model all-in formula. For this reason, I will simply call the raise like all of the others and see a cheap Flop. My goal in making this call is to have the opportunity to make a good hand on the Flop, like a set of 8s (Three of a Kind). Although unlikely (about 12%), if I do flop a set I’ll stand to win a large pot. I can also flop mediocre hands, like open-ended straight draws, second pair, or an overpair and use blocker bets to make it to the River and flip my cards over. I expect to Flop a bad hand, like 3rd pair or worse, as this is the most likely outcome. My $100 investment with little to no risk, makes this call worth it. My stack will only drop by 1 big blind and I’ll have 25 big blinds instead of 26 big blinds, no biggie.
The Flop comes Ad-Kc-Js and the action is on me. I’ve flopped a bad hand (3rd pair or worse) and am out of position so I must check. The original raiser from Under The Gun bets, Cutoff +2 calls, and I must fold.
Even though I didn’t hit a homerun on this hand by putting my money in pre-flop and doubling up, I stayed in the tournament with little risk and was able to see a cheap flop with a playable hand. Many players will put all of their chips in here pre-flop and see their chips go up, up, and away.