Amusing hand... busted by a lucky maniac

… but everything turns out alright in the end. This was actually a pivotal hand for me and I ended up finishing in second place in the tournament due to my usual bad play in the final pairing, and making a profit after entry fee of a whisker under 2 million chips.

I thought the hand was interesting, because looking at it from both sides, there are so many ways I could have lost.

Had opponent reraised all-in preflop, I probably would have folded then and there, as my opener was essentially an attempt to steal the blinds. Had he shoved the flop, I probably would have folded too. But with the flush draw and two overcards, he chose to check-call the flop with (probably) 13 outs on each street, so about a 50/50 chance of hitting his hand.

One thing we never consider enough in calculations, is which outs might improve an opponents hand too. For example any 6 or 4 would improve my hand on the turn or river, so five outs on each street, and there were some straight possibilities in my favor too and any five would fill my gutshot, except the 5 of spades, which would give him a flush. So actually 8 outs on the turn that could improve my hand beyond one pair, and and 7 on the river. Also, because I held the 4 of spades, he had slightly less outs than he might have thought.

So while the 4 4 on the turn and river was unexpected, there were a lot of unknowns.

Why did I shove the flop? I though he had missed the flop with Ace something, and wanted to fully discourage him from trying to continue. Having called my raise to 3BB, he had played his part by filling the pot, and if he folded here he would still be in the game. If he had hit something on the flop, or had a pocket pair over the flop, then surely he was going to bet here and try to make me fold.

If he thought I had a good pocket pair, so much the better. Even though I only had a low pair, at least that pair would negate any advantage that Ace high had over my hand, in the unlikely event he decided to call for all his chips.

Had the positions been reversed and he raised preflop from the button with me in the BB, I would certainly have folded the hand. And would never have known that there was a full house waiting for me on the turn and river!

So my opponent on this hand possibly felt that he was busted out of the tournament by a lucky maniac, but it could have been so different.

1 Like

Please explain the dynamics of open/folding off a 7BB stack. I have to hear this. The results are meaningless but the thought process needs some 'splainin. If you’d like to go into the hand selection, that would be great too. You are on 6-high and either stack should be shoving any Ax, pair Kxs or Broadways. Sorry mate but this is just horrible on every single level.


Simple. When you are in a MTT, you need enough heft in your stack to be able to intimidate, or at least give some concern to opponents.

At this point with position, a raise of 3 BB to 2400 is enough to discourage frivolous calls and to make a BB think twice about calling,and it looks stronger than a shove. This left me with 5000 chips, enough to have one last shove that players would think twice about calling. Never minds the BB size, 5000 chips is enough to hurt almost any stack’s chance of ending up in the money.

When the blinds get this high and it is close to the bubble, most players are pretty reluctant to make loose calls that could knock chunks out of their stack. Although my range could be pretty wide here, any hand with an Ace or any pocket pair could not be ruled out.

With 6 4 offsuit, I have three ways of winning the hand from the button. 1) Opponent folds preflop. 2) Opponent folds to shove on the flop, 3) I win on showdown.

In the case Plan A failed as the BB called. Plan B was to shove the flop, since BB appeared to me to have probably missed the flop with two face cards, which turned out to be correct.

Now the odds. Preflop, it must be considered to be at least 60-40 that BB will fold, assuming that he is calling with his top 40%, which takes us right down to A3, K7, Q 8 or J9, but probably he is only going to call with a top 20% hand, which will take us down to A9o or 55. So right from the start raising to 3BB here we are probably going to win at least 50% of hands preflop against these two opponents.

Knowing that opponent has A Qs against my 6 4o, I am down to a 33% chance of winning a showdown. So add that 33% to my 50% fold equity, and we are at 83%, which is almost like having Aces against any two cards, which is not bad, considering that we are facing imminent elimination from the tournament.

When the flop comes 6 7 8 with two spades, now A Q of spades is almost exactly 50-50 against my pair of 6s, which could be improved by any 4, 5, or 6 that is not a spade, but faces the danger of the Spade flush. When I shove the flop, opponent is calling a pot size bet for a 50/50 draw and it does not go his way.

To stay alive in tournaments, you have to be prepared to die and sometimes you will die, but it is quite different from playing in a ring game, and you will never win tournaments if you do not sometimes win pots with no cards. Sometimes when you are sinking towards the foot of the leaderboard, it is helpful to think in terms of how many pots you can afford to take a stab at with the stack that you have, which is usually either 2 or 3 pots. If you can take one of those pots, it may keep you alive long enough until the real thing comes along.

I don’t think that’s the right way to look at it. If he folds 50%, you will win 33% of the remaining hands. If you count this as the full 33%, you are double counting some of the wins.

If you play 100 hands, you will win 50 of them when he folds, and win 33% of the remaining 50 hands which is about 17. If we add up the wins, 50 + 17 = 67, not 88.

1 Like

Yes, that is correct, my bad, but 67% is still acceptable.

I think it is too!

SPG, you’re a tournament player so I’m a bit surprised at your analysis. 1st of all, there are 2 players to get through, not 1. The SB is the big stack and the BB is really short. So, you have to clear both players, not just 1. 2nd, you will not win 33% of the hands if you see a flop but not all 5 cards. The 33% number (assuming its correct) is for a shove only - you need the full runout. What do you do when you don’t hit a pair on the flop and see 3 overcards, which is the most likely scenario.

I am just spitballing here but my estimate of clearing both players and winning the hand is almost certainly -cEV and therefore almost certainly -$EV. I don’t even want to run the numbers if the SB reshoves and the BB comes along for the price. Now you absolutely can’t fold and you are almost certainly out of the game.

I really don’t want to do the math and look more at this hand than I already did but IMO, either the OP knows it was a mistake and is trying to justify it or he doesn’t know its a mistake and may be embarrassed to learn why. We all make mistakes. The key is to learn why they were mistakes so we don’t repeat them. There are times when shoving 3/2o is correct and times when folding AQs is correct.

If anyone wants me to run the numbers and show why this is a giant steaming, creamy equity-dump, I will. A shove would have been a better play but probably not in this spot with these cards because the BB really should be calling very very wide with only 7BB behind. Better off to shove against the big stack who can fold and still coast into the money rather than take a risk of losing a decent chunk of his stack. Don’t attack the small stack unless you are willing to play for all of it.

I agree that there can’t be an open with the intention of folding to a re-shove. You’d need only 30% equity to make the call, plus you’d be down to a stack with zero fold equity remaining. I didn’t look at the bubble line or where any of the players were in relation to average stacks. I can do that if necessary but I don’t think it is here.

If anyone wants to get better at tournament poker, please spend some time with push/fold trainers. If you do, you will be one of the only people in low stakes with that knowledge in your pocket. It will improve your results a great deal and you won’t have to be guessing in important spots. If you are doing well already in these games, you’ll do even better once you learn this material.


I didn’t look at it either. He said 50% fold and 33% to win, I pointed out that that doesn’t make it 88% total, then agreed that 67% is enough to go with. I made no claims as to the veracity of the numbers provided.

My bad - I read it as if you were in concurrence with the play. Right on queue I make an embarrassing mistake. There’s karma at work for you, :slight_smile:

1 Like

No worries buddy. I make mistakes all the time, but I’m too bone headed to ever be embarrassed by them. It was easy to assume I checked the equities.

1 Like

LOL - gee, thanks for the tip. At least his is a correct view of tournament play, as opposed to the rest of the post. I’ll try to keep it mind as I continue to run through the MTT’s and SnG’s here with an ITM, win% and ROI that I’d stack up against anyone’s.

Nice comment Warlock!

1 Like

You have half the chips I do, in double the time on the site. Admittedly I do not work full time and may be able to play much more often than you as I have usually played on at least 7 days out of every 14.

Neither of us are in any of the MTT Toplists for monthly or yearly tournament points.

OK, so after school, meet me behind the bleachers and we’ll whip 'em out and measure. Sound good? LOL

1st of all, I play here very irregularly. After joining, I played for a little bit and then took more than a year off. When I came back, I played infrequently. I go through periods of not playing for weeks at a time.

2nd, aside from a few ring game sessions, mostly to get badges or hang out with friends, I play exclusively SnG’s and MTTs. In my limited ring game hands, I averaged well over 1BB per hand. That’s over 100BB/100 average over all my hands. Not the top of the ranks here but not shabby either. This includes the times I was just pushing chips back and forth passively while spending time chatting with friends.

3rd, I play mostly lower stakes games because I like bigger fields and because of the times I’m able to play and game availability. I want to play in fields of at least 50 players and preferably 100+ players. These are the only games that interest me in the slightest for MTT’s. I’d say 95% of my MTTs have been at 20K or below. In fact, I have accumulated 26 50K tickets because I’m never around to play one I like (along with 46 15K tickets for the same reason).

4th, in the SnG lobby, I’ve played almost all of my games in Medium stakes because those are the ones that run most frequently. Of those, I mostly play the 10K ones because that’s where most of my friends play. Even with playing the lowest buyin games available for more than half my total games, I’ve won the Medium monthly leaderboard every time I’ve had enough games in for the month. I’ve also won every Astral League weekly board any time I’ve played one. Well, maybe I had a 2nd somewhere long ago but I don’t recall.

So, my results speak for themselves. I don’t give a rip about how many chips I have since there’s no chance I could even use up the ones I have already. If I wanted 100 million chips, I’d play some rings and have them very quickly. If I wanted to grow my bankroll faster, I’d play the higher buyin MTT’s as well. Since I’m more interested in having fun and experimenting, I play the games that I find best for my purposes.

I wish you GL in whatever you want to get out of this place. I’m here for fun, though I don’t get much of it most nights. If you really want to compare notes, I’ll ask @puggywug for one of his programs to extract MTT results and we’ll let the numbers talk for themselves. I’ll put up all my chips as a wager that my winrates, ITM finishes and ROI are higher than yours and in the top 2.5% of everyone on this site.

Not that it says much but I just won another 89 player MTT. Low buyin but the bigger the field, the more dancing you have to do to win them. 2nd time in the last 9 times I’ve played it that I’ve won it, plus another 3 top-10’s. Doing about the same in the 15K’s (without the outright wins in the last few). Several final tables and top-3’s in 125-160 player fields.