Apology of an all-in

It has come to my attention that not only people play horribly in tournaments when they’re short-stacked, but also treat those who take the standard approach with mockery and disrespect.

When you’re short-stacked in a tournament, and here we’re talking about fifteen big blinds or so, the standard play is to go all-in or fold in every hand. Here at replay, you see every one limping, losing their fold equity, and sometimes getting lucky in the last moment.

What does losing your fold equity mean? It means your “all-in” amounts to such a small raise that everyone is able to call it, and will gladly do so in the hopes of knocking you out of the tournament and getting closer to the money.

Make no mistake: Tournaments involve a lot of luck, and this becomes much more evident when you’re short on stack. Furthermore, replay tournaments are fast-paced, and thus winning them involves more luck than, say, winning Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure. Once you’re in the danger zone, you need a big hit of luck to win the tournament. You can wait for it, and make it harder on yourself, or start looking for it while you can still take some blinds and antes without having to see a flop.


Well if you don’t like it, don’t play tournaments!

How was that for an honest suggestion? Still think it’s not disrespectful to say that to someone giving their opinion about something? :wink:

I guess the difference between “mockery and disrespect” and “an honest suggestion” is the intent behind it and the tone used to deliver it. It’s also possible for the person making the honest suggestion to be dead wrong.

OP’s main observation is accurate. Many players limp when they should instead be jamming when short-stacked in a tournament.


I agree completely.

My comment was in response to another post in a different thread though :slight_smile:


I think the better players adapt to the feel of the table and circumstances in general. It’s not my style to play poker in a way others think I should play. I think it would be wise for anyone reading the advice of others to check the profile of the player giving the advice. If their bankroll, experience and rank are questionable, their poker advice will likely be dubious as well.

Your statement is illogical. My rank and personal performance should have nothing to do with whether what I say is right or wrong.

Apart from that, this post is about tournaments. Not only have I done pretty well in a good number of them, but I also mention here the luck factor.

Maya, I still think saying someone plays bingo at a poker table isn’t just giving your opinion, and yes, telling someone to play something else can be an honest suggestion, depending on the context, like love2eattacos mentioned.

Now, my post isn’t a complaint, really, but more like a defence of a strategy that had a bad reception here. People limping at a tournament table when they have three big blinds left doesn’t bother me in the least.

My statement was and is completely logical. Bankroll, rank and personal performance has EVERYTHING to do with it. Players advice/opinions are more likely to be well-received if they can demonstrate their strategies are effective. Bankroll and rank are prime indicators of whether someone is prospering or languishing.

I posted that you Bingo a lot but was polite. At the time it was you with the chips. If that was mockery then I apologize. You replied I needed to learn the rules plus other advice. To all others I apologize also. Here to have fun.

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Tournament poker requires a good push/fold strategy if you want to do well in them. Yes, it ticks people off but so what? You need to steal and re-steal to give yourself chances to win. Once in a while you shove into a monster but that’s part of the game. If I can pick up 3.5BB with J9s and not see a flop, I’m thrilled. If I can steal a 6BB pot with a small pair because there were a bunch of limps ahead of me, that’s pure joy.

Another advantage of being active all through the game and showing the ability to shove is that people start to leave your BB alone. It also allows you to shove your big hands and get a loose call here and there for a big double-up. Every BB you beg steal or borrow when stacks are getting short is important. I’d much rather get folds with a pretty mediocre hand than have to try and hit a flop with a really good one. Poker is about taking pots, not just about out-flopping people.


this thread would irritate me if I thought anyone would learn from it…

Bankroll and rank are tied together on Replay… Someone could purchase 10 million chips and have a high rank and still be a bingo player, persay. Advice should be weighed on an individual basis, whether it helps the reader or not.

Shoving with a 5 to even 15BB stack is a better GTO play in the long run because of fold equity, but it’s also valid that GTO is not always going to be great on a unique table.

There is no always, and there is no never…


LOL. It seldom pays to do things overly quickly. I just read the blurb that shows when clicking your image, Alec. I read it as saying you came “to learn and growl.” I read the exclamation point as an “L.” We have to pay attention ALL the time, i guess. I’ll get it right, someday–but not today.

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haha, all good.

People just need to accept that the proper play doesn’t always work out. That’s life. I was in a tournament a little while ago and had built a decent stack - was just on the bubble line with ~40 players remaining (top 9 of 147 runners pay). Then a few lost hands put me in the danger zone with about 13BB left and ~30 players remaining. I’m now looking for a spot to steal or re-steal when the perfect setup happens.

UTG+1 limps in and then BTN shoves his ~4BB stack. I have TT in the BB. There are 95,000 chips in the middle so I shove over to isolate the small stack all-in. Even if I give him a really strong shoving range of all pairs and Ax with a few suited Broadways, I know I’m about a 2:1 favorite. He should be shoving wider but that’s another story. If he was, I was in even better shape. Initial limper folds so I’m heads up playing for a 145K pot with only 57K of my chips at risk. These are the exact types of spots you have to look for and take advantage of if you want to win tournaments.

I get a clean flop and turn but he hits a Q on the river to further dent my stack. That’s not important to me though. The important part was seeing and then seizing the opportunity. I’ve seen a lot of people just flat call here and price other players into the hand. I guess they think they are taking the conservative route when in fact they are doing the opposite. A hand like TT is going to see over-cards almost 90% of the time by the river so you don’t want to let people with Ax or Kx into the hand if you don’t have to.

Here’s the hand if anyone is interested: https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/467631086 I think it was a good play with a bad result. I’ll take that anytime rather than having it be the other way around. You cannot get around the luck factor in poker, especially in tournaments. People who don’t understand what you are doing may call you a bingo player. Who cares? If 95% of all players in raked games lose money, why would you care what they think?

As a bonus view, here is my last hand in the same game. https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/467630616 Similar setup as before where 1 limper comes in and I have KTo on the BTN with 8BB left. That’s an easy shove. Turns out the BB had ATo and I was out but its still the proper play. I gave myself a chance to pick up about 3.5BB if everyone folded and still had equity if anyone called. You can’t always wait for a premium hand when blinds and antes are eating into your stack. Its better to shove an imperfect hand than be blinded out waiting on the perfect one.


That’s a heads up hand between Idi0tpLaYer and folding4u :grin:

@Comicguy I’m gonna have to disagree with you on that last play, since it’s definitely true that generally shoving 8bb with KTo is a decent play, the tournaments on this site don’t go deep AT ALL. As a result, in that case, everyone was very short, and its probably better to fold and wait for pay jumps. Sometimes its good to not make the most optimal play in situations where you can win more from a tournament.

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Hey @john456852 - If this was a regular MTT I may have been more reluctant to shove in this spot but it was a satellite and I was well outside the money bubble. I needed to beg steal or borrow as many blinds as I could to have a shot at it. Some people tighten up in these types of situations. I open it up exactly for that reason. By this time everyone had a decent amount of time invested and the bubble was within sight, if not really close. In the late-middle stages of MTT’s, I find that people get tighter. If I’m on the outside looking in, I try to attack the stacks that don’t want to be hurt with a pretty wide range. This time it didn’t work but in the satellite I played earlier tonight, I was stealing blinds right and left and went from 12th of 14 left (5 spots pay) to being at the top when we reached the money.