Lousy luck and poor play make for bad outcomes

Went out 6th in a 9-seat SNG today. Took a couple big beatings on hands that I felt were questionable – either I had better starting cards, and someone called where they had no business calling, and sucked out, or they had a weak hand that shouldn’t have sustained a bet, but called anyway, and came out on top.

I have A7o UTG, limp in, the flop hits my 7, but with a pair of 4s on the board. I bet, and get called to the river by the SB. I fail to see the obvious, and am beat by trip 4s after pairing the Ace on the river, and feeling confident enough with two pair to call a shove from my opponent. This was purely a bad play on my part, limping with A7o from an early position, and then thinking that having top pair with an underpair on the board was favorable to me. I had no business joining this hand, and no business staying in it, and thought that I might be able to take it, and if my opponent didn’t have a 4 I could have, and this was one of those times when he had a 4. I just didn’t see that he would have limped in with a 4. To be sure, here I’d be folding to his river bet if the river wasn’t an Ace to give me a better 2 pair, and the reason I called here when he shoved was I figured it was a bluff, and that he either had just paired an Ace for an AA44 hand, and I didn’t put him on a 4, figuring he would have folded preflop with a 4.


Here, I have A6s, raise up from the SB, button is the only caller. I hit nothing on the flop, other than the idiot-end of a runner-runner straight draw, but my stack is low enough so I shove, and am called. My Ace High holds up and I eliminate my opponent. This was purely a desperation shove on my part, and I lucked out.


Dealt TT on the button, Cutoff raises up to 3BB, I call, and then the BB shoves. CO mucks, I call. The BB is holding 33, and I think I’m OK, then the Turn comes up with a 3 for him, and I’m down to my last 60 chips. What do you have to say about this one? I would acknowledge that calling a shove with TT is likely to lose, given that most players shoving have AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK and of those I’m only not behind AK. But shoving those 3s? Apart from trying to steal the hand, why? When you have two players who are repping a big hand, why would you shove threes? You’re only 55% to win against any two random cards, and those either of those big hands you shoved into may call.


So, on my very next hand I’m dealt KK, am all in, and win, 6x-upping my crippled stack, which I shove in again the next hand, holding KTs, and happen to win again, with a pair of Tens. Now I’m back up to 1340 chips, and starting to feel like I might be OK, although my back is still to the wall.

My last hand, I’m eliminated holding K7o. I’m the SB, and the entire table folds. Hoping to get the BB to fold, I raise, moving about half my stack in. BB calls, I miss the flop, I shove anyway hoping the bluff will get him to lay down, but expecting that if he does call, I’ll be beat having made no hand yet. BB has meanwhile hit bottom pair, holding A4, and decides to call my all-in with his pair of 4s, and ends up with trip Jacks on the board for a full boat to knock me out. But even without the 4, the Ace in his hand would have outkicked my King anyway. Still, why would a good player call a raise with A4s, and why would they sustain a pot-sized all-in bet holding bottom pair, top kicker, with none of their suited cards hitting the flop to deny their flush draw? In rethinking this hand, I think I should have either folded K7o, or shoved it all in, and maybe that would have gotten a fold. Betting half your stack, getting called, then betting the other half as a bluff just doesn’t work.


I feel like the advice I’m likely to hear is “Quit playing those garbage hands” and yes, point well taken. And probably also, “Don’t bet a board with a pair a second time if you bet it once and get called and you don’t have trips.” And then, “Never shove a small stack into a big stack and expect them to fold when they’re 4-5x bigger than you.”

But am I missing anything? What else you got?

1 Like

Other advice:

Don’t limp. Raise it up to punish limpers before you, and to make it less likely players after you will call.

React to flop texture. Don’t always c-bet, especially with air, or people will get wise to it and call you off with bottom pair when you need them to fold.

Don’t be afraid to 3-bet. Tens are super strong preflop, but the flop will often bring overcards which could scare you off a pot. On the button, facing a cutoff 3x open, I’d look to 3-bet to 8x 88+, A4s, A5s, AJs, AQ, and AK. You do that, and the big blind probably doesn’t shove his 3’s. It’s always better to make a bet than to call one. Of course, in this case, when your opponent is willing to 3-bet shove his threes facing a cutoff open and a button call, tens are high enough in your range to call.


I was limping less maybe a month ago… When I started out, I seemed to do a bit better, but after a while I was losing more chips than I was winning, raising and then dumping hands after the flop.

I tightened up my opening range, but ended up having to raise too much when I had a hand I wanted to open with, and got called only by premium hands that would beat me, or otherwise get sucked out by ridiculous hands that had no business calling, but won anyway. Raising 3-4BB + 1 per limper ahead of me was most of my bankroll in most hands, and not playable with less than QQ for me.

I’ve backtracked to a style that includes some limping, but mostly in specific situations, such as in the BB where I don’t want to raise because my hand isn’t worth raising. (Not that the above hands are good representation of that.)

Have a look at this hand, if you would: https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/460356919

I had posted it earlier in this thread, but it was taken down due to the new forum rule about posting only 1 Hand Review thread/day. So I had to wait until midnight to repost it. In the next 9-seat SNG after this one in the first post, I got eliminated holding AA, in a 3-way pot vs. 77 and J4s, where the guy holding J4 tried to steal pre-flop, resulting in a 3-way all-in situation, and was lucky enough to hit trip 4s. It was essentially the only hand I played at this table. I was UTG, got my Aces, raised 3BB hoping to get some calls (this table people were betting big and not at all afraid to call, so I felt confident that I’d get raised and have a chance to 3-bet). The next three players snap-called my 3BB raise, then it came around to the Button who raised the size of the pot, around 1000, I raised, the player shoved, raising slightly, the Button and I both call. I was close to all-in at the flop, which gave me a wheel straight draw, and as it happened paired the Button’s 4s, so I put the rest of my chips in, Button called, Turn gave him trip 4s, and I’m out.

I wouldn’t play J4s from the Button, ever, with my usual strategy, except maybe in heads-up late in a tournament when the blinds are so big that I have to open my range, and if someone raised 3BB ahead of me, especially not then. I don’t understand the attempt to steal from the Button in this hand. It’s a bad play that paid off. But there’s the player with the chip lead after making several such plays.

Never shove a small stack into a big stack and expect them to fold when they’re 4-5x bigger than you.

If I am a big stack in the BB, it will depend on the stage of the tournament. I want to eliminate small stacks so as to get deeper into the money, but I don’t want them to have the chance to double up and escape doom.

If I raise preflop from early position with a bluffing hand and a small stack shoves from a later position, I might fold. However if it is a microstack, I might call with anything, so that when my 7 3 offsuit beats their AA, they can come to this forum and demand justice!

As a big stack in the late stages of a tournament, one of the most lucrative moves you can make is to fold your cards and let your opponents destroy each other, as they always do. If it costs you a few blinds, so be it.


It is early in a tournament, it looks like each player started with 3000 chips, and one player has been eliminated and one player has more or less doubled up. No one is very short stacked. The player in the cutoff has two suited cards and makes a wild bet, possibly trying to steal, or maybe just to build a massive pot, since an early raiser and two callers must have something. He/she hits a low pair on the flop, plus one card of his/her suit, so any heart, 4, or J will improve his/her hand on the turn. He/she gets lucky.

You could have limped from UTG, and then reraised all-in when the Cutoff player raised with rags, but the end result would have been the same.

It is very hard to fold Aces, but it does not play so well in a multiway pot where chances are someone will make more than one pair.

You did nothing wrong. People will play wildly in the early stages of tournaments, and often they bust out. Sometimes they get lucky.


That’s the opposite of what I was saying though. I was saying, if YOU’RE the small stack, don’t think you’re going to intimidate anyone into folding when you go all-in. Someone’s bound to call, just to put you at risk with some halfway decent cards. That’s kinda what you want, though, since it means doubling up (if you win), but when you’re the small stack and you hope to just steal the blinds… don’t think that will happen very often. Maybe at a short-handed table where you only have 1-2 people who are even there to call you.