Shove earlier? Bet higher?
these were my last two hands of one of the purple, 100k entry MTT I was in. Went from chip leader to out in two hands.
Any advice?

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Can’t seem to see the hands…just keeps loading, sorry.

working for me. not sure what’s wrong.

They’re working.

First hand:

You flop a wheel straight with 42 from the BB seat, and lose to a river flush that filled with 87s in the SB seat and 3 spades from the board.

You were allowed to limp 42, and it’s pretty understandable that you wouldn’t want to raise 42 from early position. The only way that makes sense preflop is as a bluff, and it’s a ridiculous bluff to make with the chip lead. It’s a no-no to fold to no pressure, of course, and then the dealer goes and gives you likely the nuts, with a little Ace-bait for anyone who limped in with a weak Ace and maybe now thinks they have a good hand.

You’re multi-way at the flop, and a player min-bets, gets called. You raise, which is of course correct. It’s easier to call in retrospect, but the amount of the raise wasn’t too much to call for either player. We don’t know what grazia19 held, since they fold later. Holding the nuts, you’re not really afraid of being called – you want to be called, and get value out of the hand. And if this is the final table, ideally you want your opponents to feel comfortable going all-in, so you can get some knockouts.

A-5 is the weakest straight, and often it is vulnerable to someone who makes a 2-6 or 3-7 straight, but with this board texture, that’s highly unlikely to be possible with later streets. The only danger is from the two spades, but how often does someone have another two spades in their pocket, and then actually fill the draw?

So I’m not entirely of the opinion that a raise from 300 to 900 is bad, but it did price in the flush draw to call you. That’s 900 into a pot of 2000, and with a call from the first player, 2900, making it an EV+ call for the SB holding two spades. A bigger check-raise, to say 1600 would probably have been better, here. But I can completely see logic in making a weak check-raise on purpose.

You might have gotten them to fold if you had gone higher, but in that case you would have been disappointed that you didn’t get called so you could win a bigger pot. So it’s pretty much lose-lose, if you look at it that way. When you make a strong hand, the sure nuts on the flop, you want to get value from it.

At the Turn, you go half-pot, again, a good sizing to get called. Of course, the 8d is a brick here, and you would ideally like to get called for as big a bet as you can here. It’s almost worth feigning weak here to get opponents to try to bet you off your hand, although since you check-raised the previous street, anyone who’s paying attention to your line isn’t going to fall for that very often; maybe someone holding 88 would jam it all in here, but that’s only a few possible combos, and someone holding 88 probably isn’t limping it preflop, although, who knows. But if they are, then they’re probably folding to a check-raise with an Ace over them and no set.

If you check the Turn, the advantage is that it keeps the pot small in the unlikely case you lose, the disadvantage is that it keeps the pot small, preventing you from realizing value from it if you win.

If you bet the Turn bigger, shoving or pot-size, maybe you win this hand, but again, by folding our your opponents early when you’re well assured you’re holding the nuts at the moment.

Betting big on the river was another bad move in this hand. With a 3rd spade on the board, it could have slowed you down if you were thinking about what hands your opponent could be calling with.

The river is a scare card for you, if anyone has two spades they have a flush, and you’re beat. If they don’t, looking weak here could tell them they should bluff you, repping a flush, and if you’re thinking about flushes beating you, then you likely fold. With 87s, there’s a lot of better flushes that could be out there and beat your opponent, but he’s willing to take that risk – obviously, if he’s willing to play 87s on this board, he’s not going to fold it just when he makes his hand. So I don’t think he’s folding for anything once he makes it. The A and J are out there, meaning only the K,Q,T, or 9-suited can beat him, and that’s only four cards. Since you bet big on the Turn, it’s likely you’re holding something like Ax, maybe A8, and were trying to protect your hand, so he’s probably not thinking you’re on a flush draw. Or maybe he just doesn’t care and sees Flush and thinks Win with any two suited cards. That’s not uncommon here.

So what can you do? You’re second to act, not last to act on the river. You bet half-pot and get one fold and one call. The winner checked to you, which I think is reasonable for them because they’re probably worried that the only hand that would call would be a better flush, but they’re willing to go all-in to call, so I guess they’re willing to pay to see that better flush if it’s out there.

Sometimes no matter what you do, you just can’t win. The dealer serves you on a silver platter, but then you get stiffed with the bill at the showdown.

Second hand:

Holding AA, you raise to half your stack preflop, and get a call from 75o. Flop comes 656, and you shove, and they call, then river a 5 to make a full house and destroy your Aces.

In early position, V raises to just 2BB with their 75, and doesn’t see a problem calling for half their stack with it.


If they hit it even a little bit of course they’re protecting their stack, even if someone could have flopped quad 6666. So naturally they call.

And for making such an bad play, they deserve to lose their stack. Only they don’t. Because poker is a *****.

2700 should have been enough to take this pot preflop, I really don’t know what to tell you. Shoving after the flop is slightly dangerous because after all someone could have trip 666A, quad 6666, or possibly 55566, but those are only a few hands, and you’re beating everything else. I guess 78 may call for the straight draw, but it’s not a great move if they do. Calling with 75 was bad, preflop and on the flop, and they got lucky. I would have to expect them to fold to a shove preflop, but with AA I don’t think a preflop shove is often the best play to make, unless you enjoy scooping minimum value with the best hand.

tks pug. very thoughtful. close to what i came up with. It was dumb to not check behind on the river. If I won, I’m still in good shape. If not, I’m still in better shape for the next hand. Goat is a good player, whom I’ve played with a few times, but i couldn’t tell you if a stack threatening flop raise would have gotten him off the draw, with 2 cards coming.
2nd hand was just the way it goes. V was cool about it. No “oops”, or anything like that.
I’ve been backing off my ‘take the money and run’ strategy, in hopes of monetizing my hands better, but with all the times i get overtaken, I’m not sure it’s been profitable. However, when i bet a good hand aggressively, then get rivered, it often ends the tournament for me. I’m starting to wonder if my sizing should create more pressure on draws.

Since he was willing to call half his stack on the turn with only one card left, I doubt he would have folded if you had pushed when he still had 2 cards coming. He was probably going to call anything until he knew if he managed to get there or not. Having played him often, I probably would’ve checked the river and hoped that grazia doesn’t try to take a stab at it and give goat a chance at a raise. We obviously don’t know what grazia has, but I put her on at least top pair, so a push on the flop may have gotten both of them all in and given you the side pot. JMO

First hand.

You flopped the stone cold nuts (at that point), so it was a good spot to check-raise. With a min bet and a call, it should have been pretty clear that at least one of them had some kind of draw, so you have to lower the boom there. Overbet the pot or shove.

You have to make it incorrect for draws to continue. You have to give Ax type hands the chance to mike the mistake of calling. If you make it correct (or nearly correct) for them to call, they will call.

You shouldn’t be thinking about that specific hand. Think in terms of that general situation, played thousands of times over a lifetime of poker. Make chasing incorrect over that time period, and you come out way ahead in the end.


Hand 1… x/r sizing is way too small. You’re not leaving any room for bluffs with this sizing. You’re giving your opponents way too good a price to continue, laying 6:1 they can call with any hand that has 17% equity. You’re not getting max value from their made hands and draws. It’s not that we want them to fold, we want them to pay and when they pay we want them over paying. I suspect you’re making what is a fairly common error I see in all forms of low stakes nlhe which is choosing raise sizing on the bet of V rather than the size of the pot. Here we have a bet and call of 300 and you make it 3x to 900. This is bad on a fairly wet board where your hand is vulnerable. There is 1500 pot + 300 bet + 300 call + 900 your call and raise = 3000 pot. V1 has to call 600 to win 3600 (17% equity needed) and V2 has to call 600 to win 4200 (14% equity needed)

Hand 2 we have 17 bb’s with 5.5 bb in the pot. Shove all in pre. You’re playing face up when you 3! half your stack and allow your opponents to play nearly perfect vs you.


Not sure how I would have responded. This tourney only pays 4 or 5 spots, so with 9 players left, and avg. stack, might be time to take some chances. Agreed on checking behind on the river. Those chips might have helped me with the next hand.
I hear what you’re saying about variance. I didn’t record anything, but I think i’m about even in the luck dept. That bites, because it means I have to blame things like lack of skill, and such, for the size of my bankroll.
Seems like tournaments would have to shake up the math, tho. At least on Replay. There’s little solstice in knowing the odds say V is gonna crash and burn, when he just hit his 33:1 shot at a backdoor flush, and you’re out. Because limpers are seldom punished, blinds are cheap to defend, and a lot of people overvalue their hands, the rate of getting kicked by luck increases greatly. any hints on survival?

dead on

understood. Recently binged on watching pro tournaments, and noticed some of the things you’re talking about.
With a game full of weak spots, sizing is probably my biggest. I’m still using beginner/intermediate tutorials, and haven’t found much on the subject. I’m learning how to determine if I’m priced in to call a bet, but nothing with strategies on street to street betting, with various hands. For instance: You have a small pair, and don’t hit the flop. Is it worth calling a min-raise to see if the turn gives you a set?
Any suggestions for a sizing tutorial, or are those things you just learn with experence?

Bet sizing is no different than knowing when you are “priced in” for a call, but the shoe is on the other foot. In no limit, we can use bet sizing to set the odds other people are getting. In other words, we determine if they are priced in or not with our bets and raises.

On draw heavy boards, if you have a made but vulnerable hand, bet enough that they aren’t getting the right price to call. If they do call, you have forced them to make a mistake, and you will profit in the long run. I look at this as the “process” of poker, which I see as the skill part.

We can’t control the runout of the cards, which I call the outcome, and is just the luck of the draw.

With a sound process, the outcomes don’t matter, at least not long term. If your opponent will draw out on you 20% of the time and you are in that situation 5 times, he will win once and not win 4 times. If you are betting correctly, those 4 wins will more than pay off the 1 loss, so you end up ahead.

Of course, 5 hands is too small a sample size to be reliable, and you might lose all 5 or win all 5 or anything in between. But you’re playing a lifetime of poker, and over 500 or 5,000 or 50,000 instances of that general situation, you are statistically guaranteed to make a profit… if your process is sound.


I agree with all of this, what @SunPowerGuru said above.

I will say though that in tournaments you are going to naturally become more results-oriented. It’s just the nature of that type of game. You do not get chips out of the tournament unless you finish in the money, so even if you make a decision that’s correct 70-80% of the time, if it’s that 20-30% of the time that it doesn’t go your way, and you’re out of the tournament, or bust way earlier than you would have otherwise, and earn a far lower payout, that just sucks.

In ring play, you get paid (or lose chips) every single hand, because every pot is real chips that go right into your bankroll when you leave the table, so the law of averages works for you there. In tournament poker, you often only get one mistake (or bad outcome), and then you’re done.

It’s very important to take the type of game you’re playing into consideration when you’re talking strategy and what sort of move makes the most sense in a given situation. In a ring game, you can almost look at each hand as an isolated event. (You’ll still want to know your opponents, and understand how they play, so that’s not entirely true.) In a tournament, you need to take into consideration a bunch of other stuff when deciding how much of your stack you want to risk at any given point of the tournament. It’s a lot different when you can’t just rebuy, and you don’t get anything at all unless you finish deep.

All that said you should still focus on making correct decisions, it’s just that in tournaments there’s more factors to consider, and a blunder late in the game that drops you from top stack to near the bottom of the remaining players is a lot more costly than the same blunder in a random hand in ring play.

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Well I guess I might as well explain my thought process in hand #1

!st thing is that this is a tourney we are fairly deep into w/blinds @300 and I am in the middle of the pack w/ 17bb and I play to make the final table and go from there

In sb I get 8s7s … 2 players limp I call bb calls … 4 to flop

Flop is 5s3dAs … I check w/flush draw hoping to get cheap look at turn … grazia19 min bets bld1267 fold … I call … waidus raises 3x min bet grazia19 calls … so what I see from the betting so far that waidus caught A and gracia19 also caught A or has flush draw like me … neither has 2 pair or trips … I don’t see waldus holding nuts b/c of check then only 3x min bet raise … I call got my cheap look

Turn is 8d making board 5s3dAs8d … giving me now pair 88 and flush draw … gracia19 checks I check really hoping for free rvr look but no … waidus raises 1/2 pot and gracia19 calls (which is key to my play b/c now my risk/reward or EV has gone thru the roof) and based on these bets i still place them both as before and the 8d turn only helped me giving me 7 more outs but still worried gracia19 has flush draw also even more then before … I have 16 outs i figure (4) 7 for 2 pair (3) 8 for trips (9) spades for flush (of course this is perfect world but it is what it is) and if I call I still have playable small stack if I miss … I make call

River is Js … making board 5s3dAs8dJs giving me the flush … My problem is I’m in bad position in sb and having to act 1st … I check giving waidus a chance to bet b/c he has been aggressor and I don’t want to scare him off … waidus shoves and the key gracia19 folds so I’m good … I call and rake in big pot and triple up and in the top of leaderboard and end up 2nd

so you may ask … what if?

on flop I call anything but shove from waidus as long as I still have playable small stack

on turn this all depends on what gracia19 does if waidus bets pot or shoves and gracia19 folds I have to swear a couple times and fold b/c the risk reward isn’t enough to miss and get booted out of tourney … but if gracia19 calls then I take a drink and a drag off the cig say fck it here we go :slight_smile: b/c now my risk/reward is worth it at this stage of tourney

Well there you have it … The Goat

P.S. The 2nd hand I folded 10d6d on button so woulda flopped trips (no biggie happens) but when I saw hand play out I I spit out some of my beer and said Shut the Front Door b/c that was played so totally screwed up I could just Shake My Head

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These hands were from a bounty tournament. The math is more complicated than in a regular freezeout event because of this. Larger stacks have more incentive to put shorter stacks all-in and the direct equity required to do so is reduced by the value of the bounty. Shorter stacks need to take this into account when deciding how to proceed.

I’m not going through the math on these specific hands, just pointing out that some of the work done here hasn’t taken the bounties into account. Playing a bounty tournament just to cash is ignoring 33-50% of the prize pool. FYI - I am no expert on these types of tournaments. In fact, I’m pretty bad at them. I haven’t done much work on understanding the details of how strategies shift but I know that they do.


A prime example of this is during the Bust the Staff tournament every month. Spectate any table with a staff member; people practically trip over each other to get those sweet, sweet 50k bounties (and the bragging rights for the month).

Another example: the 500B&R. I think it is 4 or 5 to 1 K/D ratio and the game pays for itself even if you don’t make the final money. Just call with top hands during the first 30 minutes and up you go…

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This is the final table of a bounty tourney so moving up is much more important then the bounty for knocking out an individual player a knock out is just a bonus … just saying … but what do I know

This is the Final Table of a Bounty tourney so moving up is much more important then the bounty for knocking out an individual player a knock out is just a bonus … just saying … but what do I know

I had never paid much attention to bounties in this tourney until i read these posts. Even at double the buy-in, I play it because i can make diamond games type rewards without having to outlast 80 players.
From re-reading the thread, looks like i should have done both. Shove sooner and bet higher.
Good insights. tks

Ditto I had to go look it up lol

I won a bounty adventure about a week ago, so I went back to check bounty pay outs. There was 199.5K for bounties and another 28.5K labeled ‘bounty paid to self’. Don’t know what that means, but still, nearly 230K that I wasn’t aware of?