That’s good general advice for when I get to that point in the game.

I don’t call all-ins from small stacks on a bluff, exactly. Preflop, everything is a bluff but a pair. But high cards are often good to win. And small stacks are prone to shoving a wider range, oftentimes. So I’ve been calling them. And getting killed with A3, dominating the Ace with AK, but they pair a 3 and I blank the board. Crap like that. All day long. It’s infuriating that the variability doesn’t break my way more in hands like this.

I mean, I should be happy to play players who play plays like that, right? Because sooner or later I’m going to get all their chips. Well, it can’t happen when I’m eliminated and don’t get to play them anymore. But in the long run, theory predicts that I will win more than I lose!

In looking back at the last week, the games where I did go up to a big stack with 4-5 up, and then tightened up, letting finishers 2-5 knock each other out, have been the games where I make a 2nd place finish. By playing too tight, I end up letting #2 catch up to have a stack equal, nearly equal, or just ahead of mine, and then heads-up is tougher.

I also have a lot of success with a big stack when I am 3-4 up and catching cards I can raise, and the blinds and their stacks don’t allow them to call very much. It’s bullying, sure, but sometimes the cards are big enough that they require I raise, and I bleed everyone down get up to 14-15k, and then players start eliminating each other, or I’ll get them, but when it gets to heads-up I have like 17-18k and they have 3k. I like those games. Who wouldn’t? It’s a great way to win. But if I were better heads-up, I’d be winning more of these even-stack HU contests.

Then there’s hands like this, where I play as well as I can, and just get beat.


3-up, I’m the small stack. AdTh, from the BB. Button folds, SB limps in, I open to 3BB.

Flop: 8s9cJs. I have an OESD. Villian min-bets, I call. I’m not going to bluff it here, and then miss my draw and get knocked out.

Turn: Ac. I have a pair of Aces. Villain min bets again. I reason that if my opponent had top pair on the flop, I’m over him, and if he has better and is trying to trap me, he’s done a good job. I shove. He calls. He flips up Jc6c. I have him!

The river: Qc. I improve to a Straight, he improves to a Flush. Knocked out 3rd. FURPP!

I guess AK can win sometimes, but only when you call all-in with just the river to go.


You gotta have some luck, and luck tends to go in spurts and runs. I am sure you see hands that you are not playing in, having folded, where players who are behind on the flush suck out again and again in all-in fests.

And sometimes you are the winner.

From a tournament tonight two crucial hands that were turning points, where, has I lost the pot, my tournament result might have been quite different.

In this one, I hit the nut spade flush on the turn (actually a semi-royal flush) and cripple the stack of the player who had been the long time tournament leader until a few hands earlier when the King of Spades on the turn brings him top pair.


In this hand, I suck out on the turn when I am outkicked, and eliminate a very tough opponent who had made several Houdini-like escapes.


Here are 3 successive winning AK hands, played a variety of ways.




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