Badly played SNG win on TT

So, long(er) story short(er) :

I’m in a 9-seat SNG, where one player ends up on a monster stack of 9000, with 5 players left in it, all of us are between 1500-2500 chips. Two of the small stacks commit suicide shoving 22 and 33 into the big stack, which bloats him up to about 15000 chips. I get the right hand at the right time to take out the 3rd place finisher, and about double up so that when I’m heads up with Monster Stack, he’s got about 15:7.5 chip advantage on me.

Despite his stack advantage, and his luck in getting those chips, he’s not particularly good heads-up, and being ranked in the 30,000s range, I’m not necessarily fearful of this player, although the stacks being what they are, I certainly don’t have a lot of room to make an error, and need to hit a strong hand and get a big payoff with it quickly.

I receive a gift when, in the BB I’m able to limp 72s, and flop a flush draw, which hits on the turn with a Q to fill my opponent’s straight draw, we get all-in, and I double up. Scary hand for me, as he could have had a better flush, and the river card paired the board, which could have filled a boat, but those were the only hands that could have knocked me out, and it was the only play I could make to hope my baby flush would stand up.

Now the tables have turned, and I have the big stack only just, the ratio is about 12:10. A few hands go by, and I’m looking at TT in my pocket, in the BB. My opponent raises, I re-raise him, he calls. If he raised again here, I would have jammed, and if he had jammed I would have called.

We see the flop, Jc3c9s. One of my Tens is a Club, so I’m 3 to a flush, and 3 to a straight, with a hidden 2nd pair. Not exactly where I want to be, but as soon as I saw TT I felt like this would likely be my best chance to win with these cards, and enough chips are in the middle already that if I lay down, I’ll have lost the lead again and will have to rebuild.

I resolve that I don’t want to lose the hand through folding, and try to take it, semi-bluffing a half-pot bet. Now, in retrospect I think if I was more serious about winning this hand I should have went all in right here, and this is what I’ll say is my first mistake. At the flop, looking at a possible overpair, even with backdoor flush and straight possibilities, this is a situation to either check-fold, or shove hoping to close the hand. I’m betting here not that my 10s are good, but that my opponent isn’t holding a Jack. He calls.

The turn card is the 9c, and I’m not sitting on two pair, with 4 to a club flush, the straight possibility is no longer alive, and the Jack still looming big over me. If my opponent is holding a Jack or a 9, he’s got me, and my only hope would be to hit a club or a Ten. That’s 11 outs, or 22% to improve my hand from middle two pair to a flush or full house. If my opponent is on JJ or J9, though, a Tens full of 9s isn’t going to help me, and neither is the flush. If he’s on 99, he’s sitting on quads, and I’m drawing dead there too.

I have an instinctive understanding of this, that I could be way behind a lot of hands in my opponent’s range here. But again, I have too many chips on this pot now, and I decide that if I’m going to lose the game, I’m going to lose. I again let out a half-pot bet. This time, my opponent raises me. I feel like it’s all but certain that he has either a J or a 9, or J9 now. But what can I do, to fold here, I’ll be left with about 3000 chips, and it’s not likely that I can recover from an 18.5:3 stack differential – to do it, I’d need to double up immediately, and then again within a few hands, or else I’d bleed out too quickly. So I call. If I’m wrong here, I’ll still have some chips left, but it’ll be all but over.

We flip up, and my opponent is air bluffing with A5. His only out is to hit a river Ace. But instead the river is another club, filling my flush, and I knock him out.

Despite winning, I still feel like I played this hand terrible. Just, my opponent played a much worse hand even more terrible. I’m really just lucky that he missed the board entirely. The river flush wasn’t necessary, and as we were both all-in before the river, didn’t influence anything, and my TT99 under Jack didn’t feel secure in the face of the calls I was getting to my bets. If I lose this hand, I did it to myself.

What do you think of my analysis? Should I have shoved TT preflop, as many do with any pocket pair heads-up? If not, would you have laid down on the flop, or would you have tried shoving there? How would you play out the Turn and River?

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Hey puggywug. First of all, I wanted to tell that I see many posts of yours on this forum, but which are often very, very long :sweat_smile: … Maybe try to shorten them a bit (just my opinion haha)… Anyway, how I would have played this hand.
Pre flop : he raises 2x, here I like to re-raise and sometimes just call (depends on the info, if he’s a tight player etc, but your opponent seems to be loose). I would go for a 2.5-3x re raise to exploit him, a min raise of 2x seems too small for me.
Post-flop : J39, with two clubs… Doesn’t hit your opponent’s range here often, small c-bet seems good here, you’re often in front. I would go for around 40%. He calls.
Turn : another 9, of clubs, which completes the flush. So the question here is : if you barrel a second time here, he’s mostly only going to call you with stronger hands than you. AJ, KJ, QJ, A9, AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 33, and all the Ax suited of clubs. So, here I would go for a check-call (which changes everything of course. And therefore I’m not really able to tell you what I would have done on the river…
But with your bet here, you’re only get called by people who have you crushed, while you’re sitting with a few outers. But here he goes for a weird shove… And then your call seems okay, but yeah the play on the turn changes it all of course, so difficult to judge it…

I hope this helps, cya!

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At the turn I only had two pair, TT99. I made the flush on the river, but it didn’t effect anything because we were already all in by that point.

Could you please refer to the sentences in my comment, because I think you misunderstood what I have just said… I’m talking about flushes in your opponent’s range, no idea what you’re saying…

P.S. When I say “completes the flush”, it means that there are 3 cards on the board from the same sort… As you know, you can’t have a flush if there are less than 3 suited cards on the board…

P.S. I would appreciate it if you could answer my comment, and say me what you think about my point of view, because it feels like you didn’t like my reply or …?

Oh, I misunderstood. Yes, if my opponent was suited clubs, they would have filled out a flush on the turn, and could have been shoving that.

Basically I think my play in this hand is terrible, and I only won because my opponent’s play was worse. Their bluff failed because I couldn’t lay down TT, not because I had an uncanny read on his holding.

As to the rest of your hand analysis, I think it is good. Re-raising 3x with TT might have been a better play preflop. And I think you’re right, that when I bet on the Turn, any hand that can call here is likely crushing mine. I kinda just gave up when he shoved, and resigned myself to 2nd place, when I called it. I wasn’t thinking I would win. I wasn’t thinking flush. I was thinking I had over-committed to TT with an overcard on the flop, and I was about to lose the game. I would have had some chips left if my opponent had doubled up here, but I would have given him a near-insurmountable stack advantage and bled out through the blinds in a couple of hands. Laying down at the turn, I still would have had a very hard time making a comeback with what I had left, and I just wanted to see the cards that beat me, so I think it was OK to call here – I wasn’t expecting an air bluff at all. That was my luck.

I think with effective stacks of ~25BB, facing a 2x open from the button, I’d be looking to open to about 7x, folding to a jam. You’re going to be playing this out of position the rest of the hand, so you’ll want to go a bit bigger than usual, but you’re still a bit too deep to go all-in yourself here.

Also, while I don’t mind the c-bet, I’d recommend going a bit bigger than half-pot on the flop as well. This is a somewhat connected board, and with only one overcard, you’ve hit this flop harder than your opponent. You want to deny a bit more equity from flush draws and straight draws - particularly inside straight draws, which may have the implied odds to call a smaller c-bet. By sizing up, you also give yourself a more natural opportunity to jam on a later street.


You are too hard on yourself. You played this absolutely fine. I would either go a little bigger or smaller on the flop. Smaller you can still get it in by the river and you maybe keep his range a little wider, obviously this V is wide enough having A5o here with no draws… LOL. I also see merit in sizing up on the flop to set up a pot size shove on the turn. Hell you can even x turn and allow him to bluff, I especially like this having the club blocker. The only thing that you can not do in this hand is fold and you didn’t.

Shoving TT here can’t be horrible but I do think you’re a little too deep at 25 bb’s effective. It is a little better being out of position but definitely wouldn’t even consider it in position on the button. I just think shoving this deep you’re really only getting called by JJ+ AK and maybe AQs. I rather like the 3! stop n go, as long as you never fold to a 4 bet shove. You can however get away with your tournament life if A’s K’s hit the flop.


You should be defending your BB pretty wide HU like 80%. 72s isn’t in there, just fold pre.

Thanks again @puggywug Cheers and good luck at the tables.

P.S. I’ve been kind of busy and I ran a little absent minded and forgot I was going to respond to your real money vs play chips topic. I’ll get to it, I swear.