Seeking feedback on how I played an MTT hand


Thanks- I could have raised and seen how strong his hand was but his check bet threw me off and his open bet was not that strong so figured he had at best a K pair.

In other words he played that check well and I blew it.

I could have checked back and see if he bet the next and river and see if I hit another ace or maybe full house.

Lots of different ways I could have played this and like I said I got greedy and wanted to build up my stack instead of settling for what I could get. Something I need to work on.

But man I hate folding aces when all you see is K on board and no straight or flush lol!

Have a good one!


this question would make sense only when it comes to live poker


This analysis definitely seems great to me.


Thank you all for your replies. As we all know it is a game with practically an infinite number of considerations and situations. It is great to have many sets of eyes to see things from many angles…to perhaps see things you miss or would have never thought of or considered in numerous situations! Good luck and have fun.


@lad44 - First of all, I’m glad you are taking the time to reflect on your play. Hand analysis is a great learning tool when approached the right way. Its not a matter of having people tell you how they would have played the hand or whether your play was correct or anything of the sort. The point is to put forward your thought process and examine that so that you can refine the way you make decisions in the future. This hand is over and its never coming back. Its what you take from this hand for the future that matters.

Also in every thread like this one, we see some people make absolute statements on whether a play was correct or not. Sometimes they simply tell you how they would have played the hand. Sometimes we see reasonable sounding comments that contradict other reasonable sounding comments. It can be hard to tell which, if any, are helpful or “correct” because no reasoning was put behind them. If you want to learn the game and get the most from hand review, I would like you to both ask the right questions and to be able to identify the helpful responses.

One other thing I’d like to mention as a general concept is that the result is 100% irrelevant to the analysis. This is important to understand and accept. People will sometimes see a result they don’t like and try to reverse engineer their play to come up with a solution. Poker doesn’t work like that and it is harmful to your decision making process. I only began to understand this once I started working with someone who had me do the same exercises without knowing the result. I wouldn’t even get to see the result afterwards. It was hard to accept this approach at first because human nature wants to know if we were right or not. However, once I got over that need for gratifying feedback, I realized how beneficial it can be to divorce my emotions from the results. My decisions were good or bad on their own merits, period.

So, the only things that are important are the things you can control. These include how you arrived at your decision and what action you took based on that decision. From your post, it looks like you considered quite a bit. When the hand starts, you are in the SB with ~51BB, holding AKs. UTG+2 open limps and 2 others limp behind. Pot is 5.4BB when HJ makes a sizeable raise to 9.4BB. BTN folds and it comes to you with a pot of 14.8BB. Your options are fold, call or raise.

Your stated intentions are general but in the right direction. I’d like to see you focus more so that you have a methodology for making decisions in the future. Ask yourself the right questions each time so you can make the best decisions possible in the limited time you have. This thing is already a book so I’m going to speed through this (again, the hand isn’t important, the decision making process is). You should always be situationally aware so you don’t have to figure this out while trying to decide how to play your specific hand. Always know stack sizes and where you are in the tournament. Same thing with being observant about what the other players are doing. You know your cards and your position so you should already know if / how to consider playing them by the time the action gets to you. In your spot, I’d already know AKs is not in my calling range from the SB. Its a raise except for the extremely rare cases when a fold is called for (like on bubble with 2+ all-in already and I’d be at risk).

These are the thoughts going through my head if I was in your position. It kind of happens all at once for me as its reflexive at this point. You want to get a checklist and fill in the same info over and over until it happens naturally for you:

  1. 3 limps and 1 strong raise ahead of me and only the BB left to act behind. 14.8BB in pot
  2. What hands would he put that raise in with? I’m thinking all value at this level over 3 limpers so TT+, AJs+, AQo+, KQs (sometimes) so 51 combos
  3. How does my hand play vs that range OOP if I call? ~53% equity but going to be hard to realize unless I hit the flop pretty hard and he catches enough to continue
  4. Of those hands, what % would he continue with to a raise / shove (I’m blocking AA, KK and AK)? QQ+, AK so tiny range of 21 combos (58% of his range folds)
  5. How am I doing vs his continue range? ~42%

I’m summing all of up and since its not a fold here, it can only be a raise. The only raise size available to me is a shove because of my stack (52BB vs pot of 14.8BB). That’s good because I want maximum fold equity anyway. I’m not doing well vs his continue range. Frankly, I am not happy if I get called and ~15BB without a flop is a great result for AKs.

I’m sorry for the long response. If you take anything from it, I hope its that developing a thought process that lets you make consistently good decisions is the goal. We will never have perfect information and we will make mistakes. All we can do is make the best decisions we can in the time we have with the information we have. Improve your process.

BTW, the only part of the hand I thought was odd was the call with TT. That would go in my notes for the future because I think this is an extremely light call given the action.


Yep. Mine say: “calling station and bingo play”. I’m sure he would have called with just about anything. That’s why I wasn’t surprised.


Well aren’t you the speed-reader? lol


I’m just a big fan :wink:


That would explain the cool breeze


Breeze??? I said BIG fan. You should be flying by now :grin:


Absolutely no need to apologize for the long response; I APPRECIATE the long response. No disrespect at all intended towards any other person responding, as I was hoping for and appreciate any and all sincere input from each and eveyone of those asked and even those not asked, but your reply was the one to me most coveted. At the risk of sounding cheesy and gushy: The reason for this is because I have read a lot of things you contribute to the forum, and despite not having a fraction of the poker knowledge you and a lot of the others here or in the forum possess, I’ve nearly always agreed with the things you’ve said based on what I can understand. I have the utmost respect for your way of thinking. If I ever one day truly pursue studying and learning the great game of NLHE, I imagine I’ll look back on this post as possible motivation of a game-changing situation. It will no doubt induce a thought process both in my mind and general research. It gives me a lot to think about and fall back on. It was a perfect response and I didn’t expect anything else. Thanks very much.


I would just add that you can only change your own strategy and remember there is at least one other person in the hand and your change will also effect their strategy.

A poker hand does not happen in a vacuum and there are many factors that determines how you would play the same hand including your risk, tourney position, stack, and your opponents stack, position and the clock and blinds.

So just looking at a hand without considering all those factors is pretty pointless and you made a decision and sometimes no matter how good that decision was the other player beats you because poker has a luck factor built in that no one can predict.

As my old man and long time poker player would say to me- that is why cards have backs son!


OK, the check is in the mail and I threw in a little extra because you went above and beyond. Are you available for Yelp reviews as well? :wink:

I’m glad I can help in any way I can. There are people here who are far better in practice and in theory than I am. The players who learned the game from the ground up using the more mathematically rigorous approach are well ahead of me. I’m trying to catch up to them or at least keep them from increasing their edges over me. The people who are helping me improve have been more than kind about it. I like the thought of keeping that cycle going and so I try to help point the newer players in the right directions.

Last night I was watching some poker on TV (Super High Roller Bowl and US Poker Open). Watching the top players execute against each other is humbling. I’m watching a play and the commentators are saying something like “he’d be doing this with x and y and z so it makes sense”. I have Flopzilla open and I’m trying to figure out how y and z even got into the discussion. LOL. Seeing someone like David Peters extract maximum value with QQ while working a short stack reminds me of just how insanely advanced these players are. Its one thing to get full value from a calling station on a 1-pair hand and quite another to get paid off maximum over 3-streets by a top pro.

The bottom line is that we are all someone’s fish. We are all learning as we go and hopefully enjoying the game while doing so. Learn how to think about the game, not what to think and you will become a better player and enjoy it more.

GL ad TC


Haha thanks. I enjoy watching and to DVR poker on TV, so I can look at the numbers and take my time trying to get an idea of how they’re playing according to the numbers. That will likely always be the hardest part of the game for me, and for many, and it’s no sursprise it’s the most integral. The math never seems like the fun part - until the day you realize that it actually is. After you’ve put in the hard work and discovered that it is what truly guides you through the other countless aspects of the game Thinking about it is overwhelming to me, but the great thing is that it’s not a race in any sense; it’ll be there to learn when I’m ready…I know that to become a lot better, there’s gonna be a lot of work. I like that Michelangelo quote your profile mentions. You’re right - you have to have fun with it. It’s what keeps you motivated to work at it. If you keep thinking, you’ll keep learning, that’s for sure.


I am late to the party and most of what needs to be said has been said. I also like your shove because you can’t just call out of position, AK blocks AA/KK, and you have enough equity when called even by a strong range. The stack sizes are weird to 3-bet to any other size and folding is too tight (although one thing you should know about Replay is that a lot of people limp all hands except AA/KK and many limp those too, so AK can be fold in certain spots).

The substance of the hand has been analyzed, but I had a few notes from your original comment. Your thought process seems to be way ahead of most people on Replay and in that tournament, so don’t assume that players are better than you. Even as a novice, actually thinking about ranges and logic puts you ahead of all but some of the highest stakes players.

The next thing I would warn you against is trying to infer too much about the thought processes of your opponents or make assumptions about how they perceive you because frankly most people are not thinking that deeply. In general the way to win on Replay is to wait til you have a value hand and bet it and fold when it looks like the other player has a value hand because they are usually very obvious about it. And the last thing, which I eluded to before, is that most players on Replay, especially outside of the highest stakes will only raise a super tight range of say JJ+, AK and many are tighter than that. In general you can discount a lot of hands that most “real” poker players would raise from the raising range of most players on Replay, like suited connectors, weak suited broadways, suited Ax. Just keep being aggressive with good hands and you will win.


Thank you very much for the tips and feedback! I appreciate it.


I’ll agree with the others and say that I think your head was in the right place. With AKs, out of position, that’s a clear 3-bet. You’re blocking cowboys and bullets, and have strong equity against pretty much any other holding. For that reason, I’d call an all-in 4-bet, or evaluate check-folding or jamming OOP the flop if you catch a sizeable piece.

Where I differ from the others is the 3-bet sizing. I’m thinking somewhere in the realm of 2.5x the initial raiser. 9.4BB is a very large open. 3-bet jamming more than 5x that open - over 50BB! - particularly in a fairly early stage in a tournament, is too aggressive. If you’d gone with a 3-bet of ~23BB, that’d still leave a bit over a half-pot-sized bet behind.

With this particular board, you’re going to bust. Between the flop and the turn, the chips are going in the middle. That’s okay - doesn’t mean your strategy was wrong. You put max pressure on an opponent who’s opening way too large and calling way too light. He could have folded off his tens and left you with a nice little pot, and as it was, you ended up in a coin flip situation. That could just as easily have doubled you up, and put you in a very healthy situation to make a solid run at the leaderboard. Luck reigns in any given tournament, which is why there’s only been two players to make more than one final table at the WSOP Main Event in the past decade. However, over time, play enough tournaments with solid strategy and that variance will even itself out, and you’ll find yourself atop a lot of leaderboards.


Great to hear from you on this! Thank you! I liked your way of looking at it, and it definitely makes a lot of sense. So great to get different views on a play from people who really know how to think about the aspects of the game. Thanks again. Much appreciated.


Hey @WannabeCoder - good to see you posting again. I wanted to talk a little about the 3-bet size because it was an awkward spot. You stated that a 2.5x raise would have been better but IMO, all this size does is guarantee a call against a range you aren’t doing well against and leaves hero with no fold equity post-flop. To me, this is a worst of all worlds situation and I would actually consider a call before a raise of this size with this hand.

Pot of 14.8BB when it gets to hero after villain raised to 9.4BB. Hero has 51BB to start the hand. If he raises to 23.5BB (2.5x villain), the pot is now 32.9BB when it gets back to villain. This assumes that all the limpers fold. Villain only needs to call another 14.1BB here so only needs 30% raw equity to call and play the hand in position. Assuming he makes a pretty easy call, the pot is now 47BB and Hero has 27.5BB behind.

My point is that by taking the line you suggested, hero has nearly no fold equity either preflop or postflop and will have to call off his stack on most flops to realize his equity anyway or fold a ton of equity on the flop and lose ~half his stack in the process. If AK takes a flop, it needs to see 5 cards right? If so, then you agree that all the chips are going in the middle regardless. However, by breaking the bets into 2 pieces, hero loses all fold equity. The only way hero wins the hand is if he’s best at showdown. In the line I suggested, he folds out nearly 60% of villains range preflop and pockets the 14.8BB. Basically, your line means playing for stacks against a range you have 54% equity against vs a scenario where you win 14.8BB outright 60% of the time and play for stacks against a 42% range 40% of the time.

Interested to see what you think of this. This is exactly what hand reviews should be like to be beneficial to everyone involved. Challenge each others’ thought processes and assumptions and see hands through other players’ eyes. Good stuff.

It is a huge shove but I didn’t see stack sizes sufficient enough to 3-bet without the shove. Maybe 3-bet small with KK/AA to make sure you are called and shove the flop regardless? That’s doable but the plan gets all messy if any of the limpers call behind. In general, when I am in a spot like this, I want to maximize my fold equity and handcuff the other guy. I want him making exactly 1 decision, is the hand worth busting over? Really make him think he could be calling off his tournament into KK/AA. I still can’t believe the call with TT there but that’s another issue.

ADDED: If this reads like someone sleep-deprived wrote it, then I’ve hit my mark. Sorry about that. Lots of poker these past 2 days and I’m exhausted. Sorry about that. Hopefully it makes enough sense to decipher. If not, tell me and I’ll try again tomorrow.


@WannabeCoder @1Warlock I am so glad to see those who have a such a better understanding of poker mathematics dicuss the possible outcomes of this hand. I am very limited in what I am able to understand at this point, but by having someone break it down I can look at it in hindsight and make much more sense of it. Fold Equity is something I know only very little about, and despite that, I think it is what (possiblly unintentionally/by fluke) contributed most to the shove. I did consider a smaller 3-bet, but I figured he would call regardless, and I did not want anyone else in the hand post-flop. I thought my AKs would fair well against his QQ (at best, assuming likely he didn’t have AA or KK) heads up. At that moment, to me, it just appeared to be the best opportunity to take everything I could from him to gain a ladder climb and some breathing room in the early stages. I did want him to throw his stack in to make the call because I thought him doing so would match what I anticipated him having and I felt fine going heads up against that range. I just wanted the limpers out of the equation. With a smaller 3-bet I think it would be harder to get him to fold after the flop. What inititially made sense to me regarding the smaller 3-bet was leaving the bit over half pot sized bet behind. It seems if I missed the flop I wouldn’t have had the fold equity like 1Warlock said, however. I’m not sure at this stage - you guys are…I just appreciate tearing apart the thought process of the hand in this manner. It really is great.