Give and Take


I’m sitting one seat to the right of the Button (the Cutoff) holding Jd-10d. The blinds and antes are $100/$1000/$2000. Remember that an ante is a small fee that every player must pay to the pot, while the two seats to the left of the Button (the small and big blind) must pay larger fees because they also pay the blinds. I have $135,985 chips or 68 big blinds which is the biggest stack at the table. According to The Poker Model, having over 50 big blinds is a large stack. With a large stack our model dictates that I have more flexibility to make plays without putting my tournament at risk. With less than 50 big blinds, one unsuccessful move can make me a short stack, which I’d want to avoid.


Both players to the left of the Big Blind fold (Under the Gun and Under the Gun+1) and Under the Gun+2 makes a standard raise to $4,000. The two players to his left (Cutoff+2 and Cutoff+1) fold and the action is on me. 10d-Jd is not a call behind hand according to The Poker Model, so folding here is perfectly okay. But The Poker Model gives you flexibility in a situation like this when you have a large stack over 50 big blinds. We want you to use our core strategy and build upon it by giving you choices of your own in certain spots. This is one of those spots for a number of reasons:

  1. UTG+2 made a standard raise, implying that he may be raising with a wider range of hands. If he had raised to say, $8,000, then I would not want to play against him in this spot because he’s showing strength. A raise to $4,000 doesn’t necessarily do that.  
  2. UTG+2 has left himself with about 22 big blinds. This means that he is more likely to shut down on the Flop if he doesn’t make a hand, where I can steal it. Remember that players don’t want to bet below the 20 big blind threshold and fold the hand.
  3. I have a large stack. As long as I keep myself over 50 big blinds, then I am still in great shape in the tournament. I never want to throw chips away, but with a large stack I can look for spots and take advantage, without risk of my tournament ending.
  4. Players behind me have good sized stacks. In the event that a player behind me picks up a hand and raises, I can easily fold. If they had shorter stacks, this would not be a good time to make a play because then I’d be priced in to call the all-in and I’d most certainly be behind in the hand.
  5. I’ll have position on the Flop. This means that I’ll get to see what he does before I have to make a decision.

After considering the above, I decide that I can manually add 10d-Jd to my call behind hand range. I make the call.


The players on my left fold and the Flop comes Kc-2h-8d. My opponent checks. I have flopped a bad hand (worse than 3rd pair and no flush or open-ended straight draw). Generally speaking, his check indicates that he did not improve his hand on the Flop, which opens the door for me to make a bet and win. After my bet he really only has the option to move all-in, in which case I can make an easy fold, or fold his hand because of the size of his stack. I make a bet of $5,000.

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My opponent folds his hand and I win a nice pot. He must have missed this flop and shut down to conserve his short stack. It’s possible that he had hands like A-Q, A-J, A-10, 7-7, 6-6, 5-5, 4-4, 3-3, Q-J, J-10, Q-10, or other hands that didn’t make Top pair or better on the Flop.    

In today’s hand I expanded my call behind range for many reasons but most importantly because I had over 50 big blinds which is the lower bound of this rule. I was then able to take the pot away from a shorter stacked player.

With over 50 big blinds, you are able to expand your range of play because you can afford to lose a hand without losing your tournament in many cases. Today you saw an example of how I was able to play J-10 after a raise, I hand in which I would fold with under 50 big blinds. I recommend looking for spots where many of the variables above are in your favor. Do not play too many hands or overlook other parameters with 50 big blinds, as you may find yourself losing chips unnecessarily. Make sure to give alittle and take alot.  


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