Is there any way i don't make this call?

Ah Kh

the min raise was to try to keep chips coming in.
i still can’t weigh all the math involved in the space of the timer, but i had a good feeling about the call. i kinda thought he was on the same flush draw i was. i guess 85 or 35 could have beat me but to be honest, didn’t even think about it.
regardless, you always make that call, right?

Yes, always make this call.

Generally if you have two overcards plus the nut flush draw you’re at least a slight favorite getting your chips in now if you think your overcard outs are good. For example, in this specific case you were a 54:46 favorite when the chips went in.

For a worst case scenario, say Villain only jams with 8x (top pair) plus all their sets and 2 pairs, you would only be about a 47:53 underdog versus their range - and you’re still getting the right pot odds to make a breakeven call. Your odds get much better if you think Villain is ever bluffing (for example if they might do this with some of their own flush draws that you’re way ahead of).

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Well, you did win the hand, so that’s always good. I think it was a bit gutsy to call here. Even as the favorite, you’re going all-in on an unmade hand with only 2 streets left to try to hit something.

The flush draw made it a reasonable call, but if you were just looking to pair one of your overcards, I’d say forget it. AK can be a sucker’s hand, precisely because it’s nothing more than Ace-high yet preflop, and yet it has such good odds against “any two cards”.

I don’t mind shoving AK, if the situation is a shoving situation, but calling a shove with AK, I need some kind of edge. Usually that means a big dominant stack that can sustain getting called and beat, but in this case maybe the flush draw gets you there.

If this were a big money (or play chips) tournamnet and you were right near the bubble, I’d recommend folding and waiting for a better hand, where you definitely have a strong hand made. But sometimes when I play like this, I end up folding marginal cards that would have ended up matching well with the board, giving me the nuts or at least the best hand that shows at the river. Sometimes I play too tight and end up bleeding out when I should have been able to finish better.

If on the other hand, this is the final table, blinds are too high, and you’re not going to be able to survive long if you don’t win the hand, then those are good reasons to stay in, kindof an “all or nothing” situation where the worst thing isn’t necessarily busting right then and there, it’s giving up a lot of your stack and then having to make your way somehow with a cripple stack for however long you can before you go bust eventually anyway. The reward for taking the big hand and knocking out an opponent is well worth the risk of going out then and there, in that case. If you win the hand, you can have a pretty good chance at a deep run into the money, maybe even pulling out the win. And if you do bust, at least you’ve finished in the final table, in the money somewhere, and ended up pretty good.

Then again, if it’s the final table, and there’s 1-3 players who are just barely hanging on by their fingernails, and you could have held on long enough to outlast them, you could see yourself going up in the money considerably more by folding, hanging on, and outlasting them, rather than busting then and there.

So, really, a lot depends on the situation, and I would not call this an “always call” situation, but it’s not a bad call. There are still times when it is not a bad decision to drop the hand, though.

In an all-in situation it doesn’t matter whether the hand is made or unmade - what matters is the equity that you have and the pot odds that you’re being offered.

Note that the posted hand was a ring game not a tournament. In a ring game if you can get your chips all in with any edge (even just 1%) then you’re making money in the long run.

The only time you would have to worry is if you didn’t have a sufficient bankroll to tolerate some losses - in which case you should be playing a lower limit anyway.

You’re right that in a tournament you need a bigger edge due to survival concerns. My question for you is how big an advantage would you want in order to make an all-in call on the flop in a tournament? Is 60:40 enough? 80:20?


Just one tip, raise AKs bigger pre there (don’t try to make it small just to have callers, can be a tell), around 2.5-3x atleast. Good call on the flop, you can raise bigger there too, 3.5-4x (wouldn’t have changed anything though)…

Nice hand, nice outcome !


I guess there is some complex math involved related to the size of the blinds, the prize structure, the relative size of the stacks, and so on.

Bottom line is that if opponent has a pocket pair, you do not want to call him unless a) you have a larger pocket pair, b) your stack is at least 3:1 larger than his.

Whether he has a larger pocket pair depends on a) which pair you have, b) what hands the opponent has been shoving with before, if known.

However if there are only 3 left in the tournament and stacks are more or less equal, and this might be your best chance to eliminate an opponent and get heads up against a smaller stack, it might be worth a shot.

I posted a hand today in another thread in which I was large stack on a final table and raised with a pair of 3s and called a shove back by BB (a top 500 player) who had a pair of 9s. I made my set on the flop, but he rivered his set.

I did go on to win the tournament, but I now regret calling that hand. I think when you are the largest stack, it is best to let opponents eliminate each other when possible, even though a stack merger may demote you to second place, and not to try to play the table cop. I prefer a more cowardly approach, which is to raise and invite opponents to fold without unpleasantness, and this way I can win a lot of chips with garbage hands, and reserve top hands like AA, KK, to give them both barrels if necessary when they want to put up a fight.

I do not mind finishing in 2nd place in a MTT if someone else does the dirty work of eliminating dangerous opponents, and even so, if you get to the final 2 with a smaller stack, a couple of lucky double ups may put you in the bird dog seat and enable you to resume bullying operations.

Incidentally, although I do not attach too much importance to RP rankings, if someone in the top 1000 reraises you all-in with a stack smaller than yours, they most likely have a nongarbage starting hand of 99 upwards, or AK or AQ and are hoping to double up, rather than just playing a game of chicken.

This is a tough one. The math is simple. On both the turn and the river your outs are any heart (9 outs) and any Ace or King that is not a heart, (6 outs), so total outs is 15, multiply by 2 for 2 shots =30, so your odds are are 15/47 plus 15/46 = 30/46.5 so about 62% in your favor.

However that is assuming that opponent has top pair and does not have 2 pairs or trips, and does not make 2 pairs or better on the turn or flop. Even if you make a flush, it is possible he could make a full house. So all that takes you down to around 54%.

I think a ring game it is a good call here, but in a tournament I might let it go as you do not have a lot invested in the pot and you may have time to make further observations on the opponent (like is he liable to shove on the flop with top pair?). Such an opponent might serve as a valuable chip repository while you wait for a really good hand and then make a withdrawal when you make a set or two pairs on the flop and take all his chips.

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How much of an edge you need in a tournament is a hard question to answer. i think it depends on a lot of things, and will be different at different stages of the tourney.

This may seem backwards, but I will accept a smaller edge when I am short stacked than when I have a ton of chips, Short stacks don’t have the luxury of waiting for the ideal situation, and kind of have to make something happen. Big stacks can wait, and don’t have to accept undue risk.

Of course, you will never really know how much of an edge you have until after the fact,

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Yes, and no. If you’re only considering the math, then yes, it’s a good call. I still wouldn’t call it a must call or an always call.
If you’re playing ring games, and are only playing the math, then any +EV call is a call you would always make.

I recommend taking into consideration more than just the equity and pot odds, though.

If you have history on the player, then you may be able to get a better read on their play here. Consider what they could be doing here:

  • A naked bluff. If that’s what they’re holding, probably they’re shoving because they are short-stacked, and can’t bear to lose what’s in the middle already, and the shove is their best way to protect those chips. This isn’t the case here, I’m not sure what the buy-in is on this ring table, but it looks like they’re plenty healthy, this is not a must-win pot for them. If it’s a naked bluff and not a must win hand for them, then it’s an out of the blue sort of thing, where they’re counting on you to go “huh, wtf?” and fold your hand, assuming they either suddenly realized they were holding AA, or flopped a set. (But really, though, only an idiot would play a set like this; flopping a set, you want to get value for it, you’re going to make a bet that is likely to get a call.)

  • A semi-bluff. This would include most draws, or Pair + draw hands.

  • A strong hand. On this flop, that would be any set (33, 55, 88), two pair (especially top two, 85), or a hand like pocket 9s, where they weren’t willing to raise big preflop, but once they either hit a set of 9s, or no overcards on the flop, they suddenly felt like they wanted to close the hand right then, rather than risk losing it on a later street.

What they actually had, Top Pair, with a moderate kicker, no other draws, is a weak holding. 889 is not a great hand, very beatable if they take it to a showdown. They’re only drawing to the remaining two 8s in the deck, which isn’t a lot of outs for them. There, you could certainly bet on two overcards + a flush draw.

Their play on this hand is just nonsense. You raised modestly preflop, they called. You raised again to their min-bet on the flop, and all of a sudden they shove almost 5500 chips at you, on a pot of just a few hundred.

Now, late in a tournament, with the blinds up to around 1000/2000, and holding 5-6 BB, I can well see shoving on top pair, moderate kicker. Here, though, it’s what I’d call a stupid-shove, like you see bingo donkeys make all the time. This is a pure “wtf” shove. There’s no call for them to do it on this holding, it’s almost like they’re begging to be called, and counting on the obviousness of that to be offputting enough to get you to fold instead.

But just consider for a second, if they don’t have top pair, but instead have any set on the flop. Now, that flush is your only hope. Without the flush draw, at best you could hit runner-runner Ace, Ace, and it’d only give them 8s full of Aces, while you’d have 3 of a Kind, Aces.

Likewise if they’re flipping up two pair here, your AK is the longest of long shots, you’re drawing to 6 outs and need to hit 2 of those 6 to beat 2 pair. It’s about 75-80% likely you don’t win vs. 2 pair.

Maybe I’m just too cautious from playing tournament poker all the time, or maybe I’ve just been burned way too many times on AK. Admittedly, AKs, four to the flush is a different situation, but I have no problem dumping this hand without the flush draw. With the flush draw, knowing you’re drawing to the nut flush, it’s reasonable.

If they’re holding any set here, they’re 75% favored. If they’re holding two pair on the flop here, 65% favored. Top pair, only 46%. They played top pair with the confidence of having hit a set, and it was a bad play on their part. If they actually had the set, you’d have lost to a full house, 88855, vs A-high flush.

So really the question to me is: That shove is telling the story “I have a set”. Did their pre-shove actions agree with this? I think if they had 33, it could have been a plausible way for them to play the hand: try to limp preflop, call a small raise, hit the set, lead out with a small bet hoping to keep you in the hand, and then pounce when you raise them with a big re-raise. The shove’s kindof overzealous, more likely to get a fold than to get value, but it’s plausible.

I wouldn’t have put much likelihood of there being a 2 pair flop for this person, 85 or 53 or 83 probably just folds (although, you do see players play them sometimes, even stupidly calling huge raises preflop with them, and then getting the lucky flop of a lifetime or sucking out on the river with it, on replay all the time, so you never know.)

Bottom line, if they were on a set, then you’re calling, drawing really only to the nut flush, and can forget about even runner-runner Aces or Kings helping you out. Does that change how you think about the hand?

In a tournament, I consider a few things:

  1. Player history. Are they shoving nonsense a lot? What hand can I put them on?
  2. How healthy am I/How much do I have them covered by? If I lose here, can I recover?
  3. If I lose here and go bust quickly thereafter, am I deep enough in the tournament that I’m OK with that outcome?
  4. What’s the best hand I can make from this board, what are my odds of hitting that hand, and what’s the best possible hand someone could have already with this board?
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I like how you broke down the different kinds of hand that they could have. This is a good way to think about their range.

If they specifically have only a set then we’re absolutely a big underdog and should fold. But like you said, with the way this was played it’s much more likely that they DON’T have a set because if they did they’d likely raise smaller to try to get more value.

We can use Equilab to evaluate our equity vs their range. A good way to do this is to look at the worst case scenario, and then to compare with what we think they might reasonably have making different assumptions.

For example, if we think the worst case scenario is that they are jamming here exclusively with what you noted as strong hands - overpairs (QQ-99), top 2p (specifically 85s) and all sets - then we are a 45% underdog and we are getting very close to the right pot odds to call (we need about 46%).

Now, if we’re close even in the worst case scenario, if we think that they’d do this with any other hands, then we’re going to be good enough shape to make the call.

If we think they sometimes raise smaller or just call with their sets, our equity is going to be better since we can remove some sets from their range and those are the hands that we’re in the worse shape against. For example, if we think they jam here with just overpairs plus 88 we’re 50:50 flipping and can call.

If they also do this as a semi-bluff with open-ended straight draws (76s, 43s) and gutshot + flush draws (e.g. 9h7h, 9h6h) then we are a 56% favorite and should call regardless of pot odds.

If we think they ever have a naked bluff then we’re obviously doing even better there too. Even adding a few combinations of these into their range will significantly improve our equity since we’re ahead of all of these right now.

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Argh, I shouldn’t even be looking at HH threads without access to my computer. Can’t watch replays from my phone.

should have added villain’s play to the first post. very aggressive, quick bets, most pots won without showdown. i was playing tight. buying a flop now and then, IP, but not playing a lot of hands. i noticed that in the small blind, pot odds demanded a call, with just about anything, most of the time. am i looking at that right?

If most of the table is limping, they would since it’s 0.5BB to win L*BB. But keep in mind that you are still first to act, which is limiting. I will generally fold most of the time, playing only my top hands if the table is full.