Healthy Stealth

At any stage of a poker hand there are times to lay low and times to step on the gas. These decisions will become clear after mastering the pre-flop key variables. In today’s hand, I’ll show you how to make a stealthy call pre-flop in an effort to induce value from the players behind me.  

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I’m sitting Under The Gun+2 (UTG+2) holding Kd-Kh with $64,000 in chips. Blinds are $400/$800 which gives me a large stack according to The Poker Model (> 50 big blinds). K-K is a premium starting hand along with A-A and A-K. With premium starting hands my goal is to get all-in during the pre-flop stage.

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The player from Under The Gun (UTG) moves all in for $8,000, a 10 big blind all in. A 10 big blind all-in from Under The Gun (UTG) could be a wide range of hands. The Poker Model places a range of any pocket pair, A7-AK, and some others like K-Q and K-J. K-K is dominating all hands in this range except for A-A, which would be very unlucky to face at any stage of the tournament.  

Should I call or raise? If I raise then I will most likely isolate the hand and have heads up action in a dominating position. While this should give me great odds to win a nice pot, I may be losing out on some value. If I just call, however, I am still leaving the door open for the players behind me to pick up a hand and move all-in over the top of my raise given how large his range is. I do this because other players may think I called the raise with a hand that I may then fold after their all-in. For example, calling the 10 big blind all-in with A-J is a good call, but with an all-in behind it would be a fold. I invite this action with a hand as strong as K-K. For this reason, I make a stealthy call. 

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After my call, the action folds to The Button (TB), who moves all-in. My call worked in that it induced action from a player behind me. After folds from the blinds I can call an additional $20,000 and flip my cards over, getting my chips in with a premium hand in the pre-flop phase. 

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I make the call and we flip our cards. The player from Under The Gun (UTG) shows Ac-9s, a hand that fell into The Poker Model’s recommended range. Additionally, the player behind me had 10-10, another hand that K-K is dominating. If I had raised over the top of the original 10 big blind all-in, then The Button (TB) would have likely folding his 10-10 leaving money on the table. In the rare case that a player behind me just calls the all-in as well, then we’d have to see a flop to determine the best move. Remember to always have full awareness of what’s going on not only before you in a hand, but also after.

Brett

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