It is a tough one. I think I might fold, especially if in a high entry tournament, because my aim is always to get into the money first, then try to win. For example tonight I played a tournament in which I finished 3rd, made 4 million chips profit after paying for entry, and hit a new chip count high and RP high as a result.
Last night I played the same tournament and went out early when BB called my large raise with AK suited and the flop came ace 4 6, with a 6 on the turn, and a blank on the river. Villain shoved the river, and I foolishly called, being under the impression that he did not want to be called, and he turned over a pair of 4s. He went on to win the tournament, but I had the pleasure of eliminating him on the bubble tonight.
AK suited as two unpaired cards is an UNDERDOG to any pair, slightly more so if that pair blocks possible straights for the AK. My view is that given the situation there is a lot of merit in folding. On the next hand you might shove yourself from the SB with complete junk and still have a better percentage of winning the hand if you add together fold equity plus card equity.
In the situation in question, at the time of calling you do not know if the UTG limper is also sitting on a small pair, and might call the shove. If you are playing AK against TWO pocket pairs, your odds are much worse. Against a pair of jacks alone, which are of different suits to your cards, you are at 46%, but if we add a pair of 2’s into the mix, you go below 40%.
Nobody could really say you were wrong to call in that situation, but I can tell you that I have been eliminated from tournaments many times with AK, but have never been eliminated with any hand where I shoved and nobody called.
I start playing shove or fold once I get down to anywhere close to 10BB’s preferably keeping my stack above 10BBs, because once you go below, your shoves become increasingly less scary.
But, it at all possible, in MTTs I prefer to always win pots that I raise or shove, rather than calling other people’s shoves unless I have AA or KK, which I think you have to call, and given that you are a 2:1 favorite over AK and AQ if you have KK, and better with AA. QQ is a good call when the shover is a small stack and desperate, but even then he/she will often have an Ace in the hole cards.
Remember that in a tournament, you only have to win one set of blinds in each circuit to win, so why put you entire stack at risk if you don’t have to. One of the biggest differences in cash games is that you can lose your entire stack, and then buy right back into the game. In a tournament, you may have played beautifully for an hour, or two hours, or more, and just losing one pot puts you out for ever.
The other factor that cannot be underestimated is that as long as you are still in the game, there are other players making errors on every hand, the the more hands they play that you are not in, the more likely they are to eliminate each other.