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?