About a week ago, I found myself deep in a SNG with most of the chips at the table. On three or four separate occasions, I either failed to win, or in one case, failed to even money. With a stack between 12,000 and 18,000. I could not win the table despite an overwhelming stack advantage, because just as the bubble collapsed, and the blinds crept up above 400/800, I found myself drawing very cold for an extended period of time, probably a dozen or more 3-handed orbits where the typical hole cards were unsuited rags, and the very best hands that I was dealt over the stretch was A6s, Q3, and J7.
And literally every time I had the button and therefore would have been first to act and could have possibly raised a hand to steal, I had the worst junk hands of all, the 72, 83, 62, good for nothing but a naked bluff or to give away a big fraction of my chips if I got called, so I would have to fold.
Normally when you’re “card dead” it doesn’t last very long, and the remedy is to simply wait it out. At a full table, it’s only 1.5BB to see 9 hands, but 3-up it’s 3x as expensive to see the same number of hands, and that’s not counting the increases due to the blind structure of the SNG format.
In one of the three games that this happened to me, I had close to 20k in front of me, and two short stacks with about 1800-2k each took turns shoving preflop every single hand, rarely if ever playing each other for a pot, just stealing blinds from me and trading theirs back and forth with each other. It felt like a collusion situation, where both players were clearly ganging up on me while playing each other soft.
I expected that sooner or later, I would get a pair and could shove back, and knock one of them out, and then deal with the other, but by the time one of them had busted, the other had a stack close to mine. I ended up calling their shove quickly once the 3rd place finisher busted, expecting to see garbage in their hands, but on the hand i called they actually had it, AQ, and I was beaten, lost it all, and had to settle for 2nd. I think what I called with was J9s, nothing great, but the best two cards I had seen in about 15 minutes, by far – I had gotten A6s on the first shove, and had thought about calling there. But of course, the first time someone starts desperation shoving, you tend to give them credit for having a high pair. But they only had 1800 chips, I had them stacked about 10:1, and it would have been a relatively safe call for me. If I has known that I was about to go card dead for 25 hands, and would be facing a shove on every single one of those hands, I would have called.
This isn’t a hand review question, but rather a question about how to handle this type of situation, strategically. I felt quite helpless due to the lousy cards, but should I have gone for a naked bluff from the button to stop the bleeding, if even for just a hand? I can’t think of what else I could have possibly done, other than call with the one or two hands where I had a weak broadway hand, and pray I was up against absolutely nothing.
I asked this question last week, and the moderator merged it into the “Today’s ridiculous hands” thread, which has now been closed. I never got an answer to my question, so I am re-asking it again here.
How can a big stack handle this situation: being deep in the SNG, card dead, facing muck or shove strategy who is shoving every other hand, in concert with the other short stack who is doing the same, when you’re seeing nothing higher than 93o for 20 hands straight? With 10:1 stack advantages, how wide do you need to call your villain when they shove any two cards?