4-Bet Jam Range

I’m UTG in a 9-max tournament (250K buy-in, to give you a sense of the stakes). Of the roughly 40 entrants, 18 are still alive, and 5 spots get paid. I’m one of the larger stacks at the table with 32BB, and I raise to 2.67BB.

It folds to the HJ (starting stack: 11BB), who calls.
CO and BTN fold.
SB (starting stack: 21BB) raises to 12BB, leaving 9BB behind.

Do you ever flat in this spot? What does your 4-bet jam range look like?

Never flatting, this is weird that sb 3 bets to 12 bb’s off of 21. He’s definitely committed to calling it off. I would personally just look at this as a re-jam spot. I’m Shoving 77+ AQs+ AQo+ and AJs is really close, you could go either way with that combo.

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Say sb was in the co or on the btn instead, then I think you could consider stop and go with some part of this re-jam range to get a safe board. Example, call 77-QQ and shove all flops that don’t have an A or K. That’s kind of meh though, if the sb is good he shouldn’t fold AK high on the flop but these knuckle draggers have no idea how to play poker… REALLY!

I find it interesting how wide this is. My 9-handed UTG open range is only about 10% of hands (44+, A4s-A5s, A9s+, QJs, KJs, KQs, AQo+), and what you mentioned covers about 2/3 of that range. Considering the 3-bet size and SPR, just about everything in his range will have the equity to call my jam, and there are a lot of hands that I’m willing to see a flop for 2.7BB, but I’m really not thrilled about putting 21BB in the middle. Pocket pairs up to 99 are almost always either behind or - best case - a coin flip, since players at those stakes rarely 3-bet light. That said, I do want to make sure I’m defending frequently enough.

In any case, I thought it was an interesting spot. Thanks for the feedback, @dayman.

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…and for those who wanted to see how this played out: https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/546267625

It’s difficult for me to answer because Id need to know a little more about the player type but I don’t think Im ever flatting I would suspect he would jam anything (I heard someone mention stop and go) on the flop, I myself would probably do something like this as a 4 bet and put him all in and in a tough spot.

If I had no reads on the player at all I would tighten up.
I’m off to see the video :wink:

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I mean you could fold, never flat though. Simple fact is you’re still way off the money and you’re one of the “big stacks” at your table with 32 bb’s. That’s not going to improve, it’s only getting worse and 77+ AQs+ AQo+ is a pretty tight range at 6% (80 combos). Also I think your open range is a bit too wide from UTG with these stack depths, especially if you’re going to fold tighter than this range I’ve given. Honestly if the whole table is sub 20 bb’s I would probably just be shoving 77+ UTG pre as opposed to opening with it. Maybe open with AA KK and A5s is all.

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P.S. Great hand to watch, thanks for posting.
I wouldn’t be concerned with defense frequency in this spot at all, seeing as he over bet the pot against UTG and a flat which was more than half of his stack, I can see letting that one go and moving on (Im not being results oriented but if I don’t know much about the player… whats another hand ;))

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So like this guy is one of the knuckle draggers I speak of. Make a note on him and see him a few more times, he’s probably someone you can make tons on by over folding as an exploit. NH

I had guessed what the hand would be like before I looked at how it played out.

In these tournaments there are many very promiscuous callers who will call almost any preflop raise in the first hour of the tournament with anything like QT suited, any pocket pair, and any suited ace, so that is what I would put the cut-off player on.

To be in the blinds it is exciting, but also scary to look at a pair of Aces. You want to get it down to one-on-one for the best chance to win, but you only have a few seconds to make a decision, and you know that if it goes wrong you could lose a lot of chips. Many players like myself will simply shove with AA to get the maximum fold advantage and make the pot as large as possible, and if everyone else folds preflop, that is fine, as they often will since they understand the language of this game at this level.

To me a raise short of all-in suggests that the player has KK, QQ, or perhaps JJ, and wants to get one-on-one, but is prepared to fold if the flop comes Ace high, since the most likely opponent hands will contain an ace.

So I guessed KK, but was wrong. I do not think that TT is a good opening hand from UTG at this stage of a tournament and would play it cautiously. Your opening raise is small enough to fold in the event of a high level of aggression, especially in this case, since you do not know whether cut-off will call the jam. You do not want to be playing TT for your tournament life against two hands at this stage of the tournament.

It might be theoretically good in a ring game, but I think that in a tournament, you will bust out early too often for it to be profitable if you play TT big from UTG.

I would rather raise from UTG with junk and take the pot with a bluff on a ragged rainbow flop, or a lucky flop–it is safer!

I played one of the 250,000 chip entry tournaments tonight, perhaps the same one, and finished in 3rd place. The night before, I played a 50,000 buy in tourney with 70 players and finished high in the money.

Interesting. Could you define what your UTG open range would look like if you were in my spot at that table? If you think 2.67x is too large for an open, what size would you use? Which hands would you defend against a jam, and which would you fold?

I thought TT was a no-brainer as an open, but borderline to defend. Then again, I’d never open here with “junk,” even sending some of my lower pocket pairs into the muck.

Discussions about ranges never seem to take bluffing into account, but any time a player makes a bet they are on a possible range or else they are on a bluff (or steal), which by definition falls outside of the range. If a player eliminates all bluffs from his range, he/she becomes much more predictable for opponents.

At any time determining the “correct” size for a raise is at least partly a function of knowing what size raise is likely to intimidate opponents, particularly the blinds into folding. If a large stack is in the BB in these tournaments, they will tend to call with any two cards unless the raise is large enough to make them think they are up against a premium hand and stand to lose a significant number of chips. On the other hand, a small stack may shove with any two cards simply because they need to double up or become increasingly irrelevant. A middling low stack with a garbage hand like Q 5 o is more likely to fold to aggression.

One of the commonest reason for raising from UTG is that the player is next to go under the BB, and if the blinds are increasing and the stack is low, they need to win a set of blinds to be able to go through the next set of blinds without being increasingly depleted. If you can win one set of blinds per circuit, you can just about stay in the game, but you become increasingly vulnerable. If you can win two sets of blinds per circuit, you are ahead of the game and your stack will rapidly grow. If you win no sets of blinds per circuit, your stack will exponentially decline.

Hence as the large stack you are under much less pressure to play than the smaller stacks, and have much more to lose if you get into large pots involving whole stacks, as you can quickly go from being a leading stack with bully points to a middling stack.

This with the largest stack on the table UTG and looking down at a pair of tens, I would probably try to raise enough to make the BB fold, but fold to a shove from any reasonable sized stack who does not HAVE TO double up.

After all, if a mid size stack shoves or even puts in more than half their stack, the hands they are most likely to hold are AA, KK, QQ, JJ or some other combination of cards that contains at least one card–most likely two cards–higher than a T. Sure, you might win the slugfest, but can you afford to lose it?

I will occasionally bluff/steal from UTG by raising with a hand like 6 8 s. Here is the logic. I can win the hand if everyone folds. If I have a single flat caller, most likely he has two unpaired picture cards. If he is in the blinds, he must go first. If the flop does not contain any picture cards and he checks to me, I can probably take the pot with a meaty bet. If he check-calls, then what does he have? A set, two pairs, a pocket pair, a flush draw, a straight draw? If he has trips he will tend to be excited and check quickly hoping I will bet again. Then again, if the flop comes with two of a suit, he may be fearful that I have a flush draw and fold to a bet. If it goes to the river, I may have to give up on the hand. Another possibility is that I hit something on the flop, maybe top pair, two pairs, trips, etc.

If I have more than one caller with picture cards, then there is an increased possibility that they will block each other and I can take the pot if the flop come low, middling, and ragged.

Even if I have to give up the hand, such bluff/steal raises prepare the ground for when I really do have a premium hand and the whole table thinks it is just Mekon King trying to steal the blinds again.

You don’t always win with such a play, but you can win often enough for it to be profitable, and it does not put your whole stack or more than half your stack at risk, so is better than getting into shove fests with TT, because in tournaments the name of the game is grinding down your opponents with relentless aggression and occasionally backing off.

Look at the relative stack sizes on this hand. Note the largest stack and the size of the BB stack.

Now look at the relative stack sizes later in the tournament, both before and after this hand. Usually I will fold A 8o, but in this case it was good enough for purpose. Note that I felt my shove on the flop was relatively safe, because most likely one of the blinds would have led out with a Jack, and being large stacks were relatively loose callers. Also the fact that I held the Ace of Diamonds made it much less likely that either opponent had a diamond flush draw.


I know I have not totally answered your questions, but I think the points made here are somewhat relevant to the original issue.

Finally, and this is a bit off topic, I would like to present a very interesting hand that I posted elsewhere, but seem to have lost and would appreciate any comments on the play:



2x is fine when you’re playing with short stacks in tournaments where players must protect their stacks for survival. Also allows you to defend more profitably vs 3! from out of position. At these stack depths though you’re either calling (I don’t expect many players to put in half their stack and fold) or folding to 3! so save the .5 blind for a better use. 2x is going to the same job as 2.6x 15 bb’s effective.

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What? I’d absolutely include bluffs in any range when I bet. It’s best to be explicit about what bluffs you’ll have in your range - for example, if I’m 100+ blinds deep I’d use the four combos of AKs as a 5-bet bluff to balance out my 12 combos of AA and KK, which would be bet for value.

When I asked above what your open range looked like in that spot, I don’t just want to know what you’d open for value. I want to know your full range. Maybe you’ll include all offsuit 9-high hands with a 1% frequency as bluffs - best to know the full gamut of what is in your range than “I could have anything, at any time!” If you don’t know and can’t say what you have in any given spot, you won’t be able to figure out where the weaknesses are in your game and improve those areas.

Against players who know what they’re doing, I’d generally agree. However, 2x opens were still seeing a flood of callers with 3-betting fairly rare, so I titrated up a bit on that table in order to avoid playing multi-way postflop with players that could have a variety of random face cards.

In that particular position with the largest stack on the table, I would probably open with AA,KK, QQ and AK, limp in with other pocket pairs down to 88, and limp in with suited Aces A 8 and above. I would also play a small number of bluff raises, maybe 10%–I cannot give an exact percentage, because it would depend on various factors like the size of the stack in the BB and how long before the next increase in the blinds,and the situation relative to the bubble.

With the strong hands I would be looking to raise the pot enough to get one caller, with the others, which are essentially drawing hands or set mining hands, I would be looking to get into the pot as cheap as possible, and might fold if reraised, however if there were multiple entrants to the pot, I might pay more to see the flop.

With a medium to small stack I would cut out the drawing hands and pairs <QQ from the range. With medium pairs 88 to JJ I might shove depending on other factors such as blinds level, stack sizes, etc.

In general I will be looking for opportunities to steal aggressively or shove and double up if my stack goes below 15BB or if doubling up my stack will not put me in the money positions.

Although the conventional thinking is that UTG requires a very strong hand to open, it also has some use as a bluffing station because you will always be the first player to raise, and many players who will limp anything will fold to a raise from UTG whereas if you have two limpers ahead of you, it tends to be very difficult to push either of them out of the pot preflop.

I think where we’re parting ways is in our different ideas about what a bluff is. If it folds to you in MP2 and you open A5s, that is a bluff. If it folds to your button and you open KTo or 54s those are bluffs. Think about the bluffs in your opening ranges not as pure bluffs but in a sense they are semi bluffs, hands that are not very good right now but can improve to very strong hands later.

I get what your saying, I just think these players (the not good ones) don’t think in terms of blinds and effective stacks but rather what cards the hold and how emotionally attached to them they are. The odds they’re getting do not occur to them, the frequency at which they should defend to avoid being exploited does not occur to them. At 150/300 they’re just as likely to call or fold whether facing an open of 600 or 780. They’re basically inelastic when it comes to bet sizing so we should be giving ourselves the best price possible. Sizing up from EP is something I would do with good players on my left. On a table full of fish we should just tighten up in EP and play our LP’s very aggressively with raises and 3!. Still though, opening to 2x or 2.6x from UTG off of 15 bb’s is a mistake. Cheers. Oh, and by the way, I’m still looking forward to our first on the table interaction… get ya some, :wink:

That is exactly what it is. That is why if there is a limper with, let’s say, A 9 hearts and you are in the big blind with AA, there is a good chance that if you shove preflop, then the limper will call off his entire stack, which, in tournament play, is pretty much where you would like to be.

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OK, well that is what I do. However there are certain preferred bluff hands. For example A 8 o is a hand I nearly always fold, but if you are in the small blind in a blind over blind situation, it is quite a strong hand, and if you are in the BB and SB is a habitual limper, it is a fairly good hand to raise them off the pot. The reason I would not use it for a raise from UTG is the obvious one, that the hands most likely to call that opening raise include A9, AT, AJ, AQ, AK, and AA, whereas a hand like 8 6 s or 9 7 s is more likely to fly in under the radar when the flop comes dry or with a middle pair.

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Tonight’s tournament was a 250000 chips to enter and I finished in 2nd place out of 36 player for a prize of a little over 2 million, so not too bad.

I’m going to give a little story of this tournament showing how it was nearly all done with bluffs and showing most of my winning hands.

I started 14 minutes late and here is my first hand that I played:

Bluff 3 x BB from the button with K 6 hearts. SB calls, BB folds.
SB checks, I bet the pot with nothing, he calls, so he has something.
At the river my king beats his pair of 3’s, so I know right away what kind of player he is.


Very next hand:

In cutoff with A 2 spades, same dude calls 3 bb raise, others fold.
Flop misses, opponent makes a weak little bet, I call, it goes to river and I win on a bluff, so that is another 450 chips gained, plus more information about my opponent.


On button with 9 7 o, attack limper with 3bb raise and all fold. 375 chips profit.



I limp with suited AQ from UTG (I know, I know–a risky play) and make top two pairs, but opponent in SB has flopped a straight. He shoves the river and I call, expecting the worst, but just to show him he cannot bluff me.

I am starting into the abyss of elimination.



I shove and two helpful opponents allow me to treble up and get back into the game as my 9 blocks both their nines and my King carries the day when no one makes a pair.!


Now I play a bunch of hand like this:

I have 8 6 off suit, big blind calls my 3 bb raise, he misses, and so do I, but a continuation bet takes the pot, With an Ace on the flop, he does not have one and takes my raise to mean that I do. (Relatively few players in these tournament will check- raise with top pair.)


Finally I get a decent hand. I raise it up with KK, am reraised by a blind with JJ, and shove all in. This is do or die. First card on the flop is another Jack, so it looks like curtains, but I make a flush and I double up and suddenly the hunt is on. Although I was lucky after that flop, KK is a better hand than JJ for a reason and I don’t think you can fold KK here since AA is the only hand you really fear and there are plenty of other hands in the range.


Now I pick up a pair of 6’s and make a set on the flop. With 3 limpers at 600 chips apiece, I am happy to take the pot at the flop, unless anyone wants to fight for it. I thought not!


Now I pick up another pair of Kings and raise the pot, but it comes Ace high. I play cautiously, as does opponent with Ace 5. Runner, runner on the turn and river and I have a broadway straight and take down a big pot. I should have bet a bit more on the river.


And here we are on the final table and in the money (5 places).


I just sit tight while the eventual winner knocks out the rest of the players, and I soon end up in second place. I cannot pick up any cards at all and eventually shove with King something and I am out.

I would say this was a pretty typical tournament. Yes, I had a bit of luck, but I picked up KK two times and AK on one occasion and had no other starting hands better than J T of diamonds and the 66 that won a pot for me, and finished in second place mainly on the basis of regularly winning pots with nothing.


@MekonKing, one consistent theme I see is that your raise sizing is pretty awful. You’re often opening 3-3.5BB regardless of position, even when you’re sitting on just 10-15BB.

Then, when you c-bet on the flop, you’re often clicking the “pot” button. On very wet boards that may make sense, but in the below hand, the J63-rainbow board is very dry. Very few draws are out there (45 is unlikely unless from the blinds), and you block so many of your opponents’ potential value hands with middle set. I would have chosen a much smaller size - closer to 1/4 pot - to keep some of the weaker draws, like backdoor flush/straight draws, in the pot. Instead, you drove off any potential value you could get from them. A smaller sizing would also allow you to work more of your preflop range into your flop bet range, making it less expensive when your bluffs get called.

Additionally, in the below hand, your pot-sized flop c-bet leaves you with less than a big blind behind. Either use a much smaller size that will allow you to go two streets, or just ship it all.

It’s sad that chip inflation has resulted in play at the 250K chip tourneys devolving to the level that characterized 50K tourneys only about a year and a half ago. Your experience shows that even at these high-buy-in tournaments, the field is still very beatable.