Thursday, June 2, 2011

Poker Quiz Question #3

Q#3: You're in a $25/$50 Full Ring cash game with a $5K stack. You're on the button with TT. A tight-aggressive player in MP raises to $200. You choose to call. A relatively short stack with $1500 in the big blind pushes all-in. You've only seen him do this with TT, AK, and AQ so far.  The MP player thinks and then folds. What should you do?
  1. Fold?
  2. Call?

Because you will close out the action, the answer to this resides simply in the math; specifically, determining whether the play is plus or minus EV. After the shove, there is $1975 in the pot. It's going to cost you $1300 more to make the call. You've seen the shover do this squeeze before with TT, AK, and AQ, so if we put TT+ and AQ+ into poker stove against our TT, we see that we're a 60% to 40% dog in this race. Our EV calc is therefore:

EV=(40% x $1975) - (60% x $1300) = +$10

Therefore, at first blush it's a marginal call. But as the late night infomercial ad men say, "Wait, there's more!" Because we were conservative in our estimate that he'd only do this with TT+ and AQ+, there's probably some additional EV that is on the table; i.e., if he's actually doing this with, say 88+ and KQs+, our EV is more like +$272. There's also some meta-game reasons to call this shove and show the rest of the table that you're willing to get it all-in PF with a pair of tens. Ergo, this is an easy call.

[Note: In a tournament, things are quite different, and, depending on the stage of the tourney, the payout structure, your stack sizes, etc., the answer could be different. But this is a cash game. Whenever you're plus EV to do something, you should do so... unless there is an even higher EV play that you can make.]

All-in for now...

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