Strict Call Behind

The Poker Model’s rules are meant to be followed as precisely as possible. This means that if your stack is on the threshold of crossing from medium to small, you must make folds where calls may seem harmless. Let’s break down an example.

I’m sitting in The Big Blind (TBB) holding Ah-7d with $400 in my stack. With blinds at $10/$20, $400 is 20 big blinds, a short stack according to The Poker Model. With 20 big blinds, I must be patient and look for a spot to put all of my chips in. Until then I’m folding most hands with my short stack. I cannot afford to just call, leaving my chance at winning up to a Flop. We choose 20 big blinds as the threshold because this amount is low enough for other players to call our pre-flop all-ins with hands that we are beating. Recall that I will only make One Pair on The Flop about ⅓ of the time. This means that most of the time my hand will not improve after the initial pre-flop investment.

The action folds all the way around to me in The Big Blind (TBB) after a raise from Under The Gun (UTG). This seems like a pretty harmless call to make. I can throw another $20 into the pot and see a “cheap flop”. But The Poker Model recommends folding here because it is unlikely that my hand will improve. I will have to check where my opponent can then make a continuation bet and win the pot, leaving me under 20 big blinds. In the unlikely chance that I make Top Pair, like a 7 for example, then I must commit my entire tournament to this hand because Top Pair with under 20 big blinds becomes a good hand and one that I want to get all of my chips in with. There is no guarantee that my 7 would be ahead, but because of my short stack I would be committed to make this play.

I make the easy fold for the reasons mentioned above. Remember that no matter the dollar amount, 20 big blinds is 20 big blinds. If I were facing a raise of $4M from Under The Gun(UTG) in this spot, then many players would see my reasons for folding $2M with my stack. But for some reason, when the tournament is beginning, players break away from the principle and toss the additional $20 into the pot. Stay disciplined and play the big blind amount, not the dollar amount. 

Brett

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