As an intellectual exercise I thought it would be interesting to look at a single, pivotal hand of a tournament from the perspective of all the players involved. To accomplish this I will first lay out the situation from an먹튀검증 먹튀폴리스 point of view and then proceed to go into depth on each players’ options as we follow the action around the table. I will also comment on the decision of one player at the other remaining table. In total there will be six different views of the same hand.
You are on the final table bubble with ten players left in the $3 rebuy on Pokerstars. Both your table and the other remaining table are currently five handed. At the other table the short stack has less than one small blind left and will be forced all in next hand. The blinds are at 5k/10k with a 500 chip ante. The chip counts at the table are:
Small blind – 175k
Big blind – 750k
UTG – 400k
Cut off – 350k
Button – 225k
1) You are UTG with a good stack and are fourth overall out of the remaining ten players. You were just moved to this table a few hands ago and have not seen any of these players before and have no notes. Your hole cards are one of your favorite hands, 9T suited in spades. Action is on you.
In your favor, you have most of the table covered and you have a decent starting hand. Also, with only five players at the table and the assurance that everyone wants to make the final table, a bluff is likely to work if nobody else picks up a hand. Against you is the fact that you have no information about your opponents’ playing styles and that you are out of position should anyone but the blinds call you. I’d say your two best options are to either fold or make a standard raise to 30k with the intention of folding to a re-raise. Since I don’t like putting myself in a position where I will fold to a raise I would choose to fold and wait for a better time.
2) You’ve been at this same table for over two hours now and you have spent most of that time avoiding the aggressive play of the chip leader who is now in the big blind. Your stack is solidly in the middle of the pack both at your table and also in the tourney as a whole. You are a conservative player and your bankroll could really use the boost you would get from a finish at least in the top five. Your hole cards are an ace of spades and a jack of hearts. UTG folded to you.
In your favor, an unsuited AJ is not a bad hand to get five handed and you have good position to continue after the flop if you get called. Still, your nature, your goal, and your awareness of the nature of the chip leader who is yet to act, all compel you to fold. As with the UTG player I believe your best option here is to either make a small play for the blinds or fold. I am not a fan of flat calling in a five handed game anyway and it’s not as if your hand is strong enough to warrant some deception, so calling is out. Since your goal should be of the utmost importance in determining your actions, I lean towards folding.
3) You take good notes and use an information gathering program so you are well aware of the big blind’s tendency towards aggression. You play every tournament to win and want to give yourself as good a chance a possible to win this one, even if it means going out in tenth. The action is folded around to you and you have the two red kings.
In case number two, I mentioned the value of deception, and I said that an AJ is not strong enough to warrant playing deceptively. KK certainly is strong enough. And your attitude and goal fit the bill for you trying to double up with this hand. In the extreme, this would mean flat calling here and trying to look weak. I believe that making a standard raise here is a better play all around. First of all, if the blinds really have nothing at all then you win the pot without giving them a free chance to outdraw you. Second, raising on the button is so standard these days that not doing it is more suspicious than doing it. This means you are more likely to trap an opponent into making a reraise than you are likely to get an opponent to just raise your call. Lastly, you are unafraid to lose here. Since every starting poker hand is vulnerable, you certainly can lose, and although the odds are likely to be in your favor, that does not guarantee a win. Go ahead and make a standard 3x or so raise.
4) You feel trapped between a rock and a hard place here facing a raise and having the most aggressive player at the table yet to act behind you. You know you need to chip up, but fate has placed you in a bad spot to do so. Every step up the pay scale is important to you, but you’d rather go out in a blaze of glory than just fade away. You are dealt the AT of diamonds.
In many other spots a push here would work and you would pick up a decent uncontested pot. You are smart enough to realize that this move is unlikely to work now, and you are probably going to have to play if you raise and either of your opponents has anything at all. I don’t like calling an extra 25k here, even with the intention of pulling a stop n go and going all in on any non-threatening flop. I think it is still better to put the pressure on now as opposed to later as you would have no idea where you stand otherwise. Even so, folding is another good option and you can afford to wait out what will likely be only a few more hands until you get moved to the final table and hopefully into a better position.
5) You are an aggressive and confident player. You feel good about your game and are glad that you watched those videos from Todd and Chad at RPT. You have no fear about losing and have been up and down a few times so far in this tournament. Every time you see an opportunity to grab some chips you go for it. You have been watching your opponents and you think that the raiser is good enough to be making a play for the pot and would likely fold to your repop if he was. You look down and find pocket eights.
This is where the great players are separated out from the just good players. A good player might blindly push here since aggression is good. A great player tempers his aggression with reason and knows that a repop to 70k or so is as good as an all in for the purpose of gathering information about your opponent. If they were indeed on a bluff, they will still fold and you get the same number of chips. If they even flat call your raise, much less push, you know you are likely beaten already or at best racing an AK. Now you can fold to a push or see a flop against a call and try your luck at sucking out. I like either making this raise to 70k or so or even just flat calling and trying to flop a set.
6) You are the short stack left in the tournament with only 4k in chips, not even enough for the small blind. The difference between tenth and ninth seems like a lot of money to you and you are hoping to hang on for as long as you can. You are on the button at your table and the action has been folded around to you. You are also watching the other table and you see the button raise, then the big blind goes all in and the button calls. As your time bank starts counting down you see you only have 5 seconds to act.
Your cards are almost irrelevant at this point. Although, a pair like jacks or better should still almost always be played, especially when fate has already limited the field down to a maximum of three players if both blinds play. The problem is that smart tournament strategy at this point is for everyone to play, and then check it down, when you finally get your last chips into the pot. If you can move up to at least ninth place without having to play the hand then you should take that every time. Fold and hope that the big stack at the other table sucks out and wins the hand.