Sunday, August 21, 2011

Poker Quiz Question #24

Q#24: It is late in a large field multi-table tournament. Blinds are T1000/T2000. You have T118K and are one of the chip leaders. It is folded around to the cut-off, who goes all-in for his last T10K. He is a good tournament player. SB folds. You are in the BB and hold Tc-5d. What should you do?
  1. Fold
  2. Call


A#24: Read: your opponent has T10K and the blinds are T1K/T2K, so his M is a little over 3, which is just another way of saying he is desperate. He's a "good tournament player" which means he's not shoving with just any two cards, especially given that there are no antes and the blinds just passed him; i.e., he gets to see 5 more "free" hands before the blinds hit him again. That said, we can still probably assume he's shoving a pretty wide range, as it has folded to him in the CO and he only has to get past three other players. The longer he waits for better cards to come, the more people he has to get through. He also must realize that he has very little fold equity with such a small stack, so he's not going to shove with just any two cards (ATC). So, let's call his range something like: all pairs, all broadways, all aces, kings, queens, and jacks, and any two cards combos that total more than 16 using blackjack rules. Here it is in 'stove format: TT+,A2s+,K2s+,Q2s+,J2s+,T6s+,96s+,87s,A2o+,K2o+,Q2o+,J2o+,T5o+,96o+,87o

Estimate: There is T13K in the pot, and it will cost you T8K to call. This means you're getting 1.6:1, which means you have to have at least 38% equity to call. If we run poker stove with our T5o against his range, our equity is only 35.5%.*

Decide: we're not getting enough return on our money to make this call, so it feels like a fold line is appropriate.**

Implement: muck.

All-in for now...
*If we change his range to ATC, then we would be getting enough odds to call his shove with our T5o. But it's really hard to put him on ATC, as he knows we're a big stack and can gamble more-- ergo, he knows that we're capable of calling with a very wide range ourselves, which in turn narrows his down somewhat.
**There is some "meta-game" things to consider here before deciding on the fold line. For instance, if we do call, the other players left in the tourney might think we will use our stack to gamble with them, and potentially knock them out, so it will affect how they play. They may tighten up and wait for 'better' spots, leaving us to steal more blinds while their stacks shrink to a level where we don't mind racing against an all-in. If we maintain pressure on the shorter stacks, it is to our advantage.


  1. I disagree with this answer; I think it's a pretty easy call. Some very strong tournament players recommend calling with any two cards in this situation as long as its for under 10% of your stack. This is closer to 5% of your stack and 10 5 off is far from the worst hand you could have here. I think you put him on too small of a range and meta considerations need to be a larger factor. Snap calling with 10 5 off sends a clear message and you can expect to get a decent number of walks because of it. I'd instant call here with 3 2 off and I think most strong tournament players would agree. I took this test recently and got a 132 so I must have gotten a few wrong, but I don't think this was one of them.

  2. Having won some small stakes tournaments, I think it depends on the title one is going for, the prize structure, etc. Though both answers are correct in certain places.