Running Bad


You’re going to lose most of the time no matter what strategy you use in No-Limit Texas Hold’em Multi-Table Tournaments. The key is to have this understanding and not allow losing to affect your future decision making. In today’s hand I’ll navigate a scenario and find a good spot to move all-in, only to lose in the end. Don’t get caught up in losing one hand, focus on making the play that in the long run will cause you to win more than you lose!


I’m holding Qh-8d in The Small Blind (TSB) with $11,000 in chips. The blinds are $500/$1,000 so I have 11 big blinds, a short stack according to The Poker Model. With previous raises, I will fold Q-8 because I do not have the luxury to call or raise with my short stack. With better hands, like A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J, 10-10, A-K, and A-Q, I would move all-in to a previous raise. I will wait until the action is on me before playing out these scenarios.


The Cutoff+1 (TC+1) and The Button (TB) both call and the action is on me. As mentioned in Cheap Date last week, I can call The Small Blind with any two cards with previous calls because I am already half-invested in the pot, even with a short stack. If I were in the big blind, I could make a free check with any two cards. I call.


The Flop comes Qc-10h-3s and the action is back on me. I’ve flopped Top Pair. Top Pair is a mediocre hand with a medium or large stack but a good hand with a short stack. Consider the amount of back and forth raises that must occur to get all of your chips in with a medium or large stack. With this many raises, your Top Pair will most likely not be the best hand. With a short stack, however, you will be all-in with only one or two raises, which puts you in a much better spot to double up. Ask a question here for more details on this topic. Remember that with good hands the goal is to get all-in right now.

If I bet, then I will only be all-in if another player raises. If I just move alI-in out of the gate, then I will lose value because there is only $4,000 chips in the pot. Either no one would call and I’d win a small pot or my all-in bet would more than double the pot and I’d most likely only be called if be behind.  If I check, I can move all-in over the top of another player’s bet and accomplish my goal of being all-in and dominating. I check, The Big Blind (TBB) checks, and The Cutoff+1 (TC+1) bets $3,000.


The Button (TB) folds and I move all-in over the top. The Big Blind (TBB) folds and The Cutoff+1 (TC+1) calls. I’ve accomplished my goal of being all-in with my good hand. At this point I am happy with the hand, win or lose.  


My opponent flips over Kc-10s. This is good news because I’m ahead in the hand (about 76% to win). Unfortunately my opponents makes Two Pair on The River and I lose. I’m out of the tournament.

Today you saw a “good hand short stack” get all-in ahead. Unfortunately I lost and was knocked out. The play was correct in that I was an overwhelming favorite when the money went in and will be most of the time in this spot. As poker players, this is all we can do. I have no regrets and take pleasure in knowing that in the longrun this is a winning play. The good news is that there is always another tournament. Remember that our goal is to make the money in 1 out of 6. Be sure to stay cool when you are running bad and eventually you will get a nice score.


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