Spot the boobs--atrocious play by me on the bubble

Last night I played the 1-million chip tourney at 6:30 pm local time, as I have done most nights recently. I won the night before, but lost out on the bubble finishing in 6th place last night, when there were 5 paid places, so had to walk the Hall of Shame.

Here is the hand.

Six players on the table. Big Blind appears to have left the room as he had a megastack and then disappeared. He had doubled up on one of the first hands of the tournament when an opponent triumphantly shoved the river with 2 pairs and was called by BB who had hit an inside straight on the river. He had then used his chip advantage well to build a big stack.

SB was small stacked and would soon be blinded out. SB is an excellent player with whom I had had a terrific tussle on the final table the night before.

As UTG I would be going through the blinds next. I picked up a suited Ace/Nine of Spades, which looked like a good hand for a blinds steal. The largest stacks would be unlikely to call due to the small stack being on the verge of elimination on the bubble, and if the SB did call, they could not knock me out. The BB was undefended. After I had picked up these blinds, I should be in a good position to cruise into the money.

What could possibly go wrong? A lot, as it turned out.

So I shoved 15000 chips, fold, fold, then Button with 30,000 chips decided to call with AQ suited.

I am not sure if I like that call or not. Obviously he had me well covered, but he was a dog to any pocket pair, to AK, or to AA, KK, or QQ. Not only that, but SB was small stacked and close to elimination, BB was dead in the water, and we were on the bubble.

SB had picked up a pair of Jacks, and this was a great opportunity to call rather than wait to see if I survived and was eliminated on the bubble (which would actually have been the case.) She had a chance now to triple up, plus pick up both blinds, with a distinct possibility that myself and Button both had Ace high hands that were blocking each other. So, I think her call was a good play here.

I ran this in a simulator and JJ was a hair over 50% to win with the cards as they lay, so great odds for a small stack facing elimination as they would almost treble up. If I had KK, the odds for JJ went down to 18%, but really, how much calculation can you do in a few seconds?

Anyway, this is how it ended. bad result for me, but a fun game all the same. Would I have played the same way for real money? I like to think not.

1 Like

The push or fold charts suggest going all-in with A8s+ UTG with 10 blinds and 12.5% ante in a full ring table.
This is a 6-max tournament with 10% ante so you can theoretically go all-in profitably with A2s+.
This open shove spot is beautiful and probably EV+ given your hand and the fold equity you have and yet I agree that it is a mistake(not because you lost) in the sense that there is more to be gained by folding preflop or raise/fold against a 3bet on the bubble given the table setup.

Players on this site who know how to push or fold with the charts are likely to make a mistake here because the hand is just not easy.
It’s counter intuitive but I agree with you that you should run away from this ev+ spot, very good hindsight on your part, indeed there is a 3BB short stack that will be eliminated before you and an absentee player who is in danger.
I wouldn’t know what’s better between raising to steal and folding but failing that I’d say fold because there are 3 big stacks after you.
Of course in a blind vs blind situation I shove every day against the short stack. :heavy_dollar_sign: :heavy_dollar_sign: :heavy_dollar_sign:

Hand #728497650 · Replay Poker :cold_face:


With 10BB deep, you are right on the cusp between where you’re only play is to shove, and where a normal open is possible. A9s is a hand where I think you could consider a normal open on the smaller side also. I often see people over-folding to small UG raises in spots like this, and I think that can be enough to allow you to make non-shove opens profitably down to a slightly lower level than you often see in the books. Honestly, I think you’re not really forced into shove only decisions until you get down to about 6 or 7 BB deep, at least in an environment where opponents are under-defending (and the BB really made sure that was true here).

I don’t think there is anything wrong with your shove really, although perhaps it might not be the ideal spot to put yourself at risk of being eliminated on the bubble. But assuming you don’t like ever making a non-shove open less than 10BB deep, if you let your opening range get too tight here, the drain from the blinds becomes too large, and I tend to think it is advantageous to widen your open range on the bubble, given that so many will be defending tighter.

I like calling with AQs, though it all depends on how wide your opening shove range is. JJ also seems like a reasonable call, especially at that stack depth; though I’m sure it wasn’t comfortable with a shove and a call in front. But I doubt Cupid was going to get too many better chances to chip up, and would be forced to make a move with a worse holding in the next few hands anyway, and at that point would have fewer chips to invest, meaning that it would usually both be a worse investment, and less capable even when it succeeded of offsetting the recurring blind losses.

So I guess I thought everyone made fine plays all around.

1 Like

Oh, who won the tournament, by the way?

FinnishFlash won with ttier1 in second place. ikilledcupid finished fourth. Theessence finished 5th, presumbably blinding out while absent.

I have not encountered FinnishFlash before, the other players are well known to me.

More interesting bubble play here:

So, I played the same tournament again tonight, and same situation with 6 players left on the final table, but only 5 to get in the money. These games are always a lot of fun, and a real battle of wits, but of course it must end in tears for everyone except the winner.

I was just giving myself a pat on the back after this brilliant (I thought) hand in which I went from small stack to 4th stack without seeing a flop. I was in the big blind with pocket 4s and had 2 limpers and then a raiser, so I shoved and they all folded leaving me to pick up a huge pot. Hurrah!

And then a few hands later disaster. I knew that the player on my right tended to overbid his hands preflop, so when he limped in, I fired back at him with the intention of forcing him to fold, but he called, so I put him on something like a medium to small ace. Evidently he was determined to see a flop.

I flopped top and bottom pair, he shoved with a semi-bluff, I called, and he hit his straight on the turn, and the river was a dud, and I was dead. Boo-hoo. Bad two pairs!

For a long time I pooh-poohed the frequently expressed opinion that the cards are rigged on RP, but now I see that it is so and that I was wrong all along. My apologies to all the other losers.

But seriously, this was fated, Even if I had just called preflop, I would have hit two pairs and could never have folded to a straight draw semi-bluff. Or could I?

Yet another bubble blowout. It is now official. Replay Poker is engaged in a conspiracy to stop me from winning every tournament!

This tournament last night is called the Widow’s Bite (used to be called Granddaddy Of Them All) and is 5-million chips to enter, which is the most expensive tournament on Replay Poker (I think.)

It is a tough one. With 18 entrants playing for bragging rights and only 3 paid places, no one wants to bust out early, and right from the start it was like bubble play, with all the stacks closely grouped and no one playing silly.

I started out poorly but gradually fought back, and by the time we came to the final table of 9 players I had a small chip lead, not that that means much when the blinds are high and the stacks are all close together.

We are now into the third hour of the tournament and I am lying in 3rd place out of 5, I think, when this nightmare scenario breaks loose.

I am on the button and find myself looking at Queens. UTG opens 3xBB, and I shove in a resteal move intended to make him fold preflop. As he did, but unfortunately another stack in the BB calls.

What could he possibly have? I quickly narrowed his range down to AA, KK, AK, hopefully AK, otherwise I was toast. However it was KK, so I was toast, and out again adjacent to the bubble.

Could I have played this better? I suppose I might have folded preflop, but I wanted to take down this pot to maintain a stack large enough to threaten the leaders, and with UTG raising rather than shoving, my perception was that he either wanted to see a flop or else just knock down the blinds, probably with AK AQ or a middle pair.

So the resteal looked like a good move to me, but it was doomed.

Perhaps if I had just called, and then folded to a reraise? I don’t know. Maybe if it was real money.

But by the time you are into the third hour, you really want to go for it. So I did.

In real life high-stakes poker players might often chop the pot, rather than fight to the death, but that is not the way on RP–after all it is not real money, just a digital currency that can only be used internally.

Incidentally I was the lowest ranked player on the table–currently around #240, so I guess I did get schooled by my betters. Until next time.

only regret your hands when you’ve misplayed them, not when you lose with them
QQ is a profitable fold if it was a satellite tournament

(I thought the maximum limit for MTTs was 1 million)


While getting out on the bubble is annoying, it is only something to be stressed about in a satellite tournament. While you should be tighter if you are not a big stack, that does not mean you dont play queens! I think 88–99 is borderline but QQ is an instashove. You are playing wayy to passive if you folded that. Still annoying though which I understand, it is frustrating but it is not bad play. You cant win them all even if you try to.

Yeah, I was just joking about winning them all. I have actually won that tournament before, although I very rarely play it. But thanks for the sentiments!

Of course you can never win them all because of the variance factor. I just busted out of a tournament this evening in the first ten minutes. On two hands I had a straight on the turn which was the nuts or second nuts, and two times the same player rivered me to make a full house on the river from two pairs on four-outers. What are the odds of that happening to me or your personally? I don’t know, but these things happen to someone every minute when thousands of people are playing.

Sometimes it is nice to remind oneself that this is not real money!

It almost feels like you’re asking if you should 3! QQ there (though I suspect you’re not, really). You have an early raise ahead of you, and two people behind, so you want to be ahead of that 3 player range. The two players remaining to act still have 100% ranges, and so each will be ahead of you 1% of the time (AA + KK = 12 combos). The initial raiser probably has a much stronger range, but you are also obviously ahead of that range (and ahead of the combined enemy range). So I think any other play is just wrong: folding would be almost criminal (lol), and a call has to be quite a bit worse than your raise, especially as QQ suffers more than KK or AA if you get a multi-way pot.

Good comment, good analysis. No, you just wonder sometimes whether you would play differently if it was life-changing money at stake, but I guess not in this case. It was just in the cards that I would lose that hand and be knocked out.

The only way to ensure that this does not happen to you is to be the top stack. In other words to have played better before this hand. Really, in most cases when you get to a final table, it is just crapshoot, though obviously the bigger your stack, the less pressure you have to play, and so you can leave it to others to make the mistakes.