That Mike McDermott Sinking Feeling - Seeking Input on Hand

I’m a beginner and have a very limited/beginner understanding of the game, so please bare with me and provide feedback and input.

I’ve seen players limp strong starting hands before. AceTen UTG at 50BB effective stacks at the start of the tournament would not be something I’d see in her range in which to limp in. She called my open, so my mind thinks of marginally strong to strong starting hands. I’m thinking premiums of QQ+ would 3-bet me and that AK, AQ, JJ, TT may do the same, but players here often flat call AK, AQ, JJ, TT, sometimes KQs, or below. Obviously, middle pairs and suited connectors are ones to consider floating. I’m putting these hands in her range and then the flop comes JTA rainbow. I have a couple blockers against some of her combos and don’t have her flopping a straight (although she very well could have). So I feel I’m ahead on the flop and that when I continue she’s flatting with AK or AQ. I’ll just be honest - that’s my mindset; that is exactly what I have her on. In my head I’m value betting and trying to deny her 37/38% equity against my 62%. (Of course I didn’t know the exact numbers, and it obviously shows), but I figured I was around a 1.5:1 to 2:1 favorite. I’m not great by any means at calculating odds and numbers on a good day, but I tried to keep my bets fairly large to extract value and keep her from realizing her equity. I did this because I thought I could be a little polarized in this spot and time-wise in the tournament, and that by having JT that I was making a decent move. I didn’t know her tendencies as I’m not familiar with her, so the concept of fold equity is a difficult one. When I snap called her shove on the river it was simply because I excitedly thought I was ahead and that I had played the hand fairly well, as well as being committed to the pot. That she was shoving TPTK type w/ gut shot straight draw. What should have been going through my mind was “Darn, I called her shove and she’d flip over the straight or a set JJ, TT, or AA!” and that I should have given more consideration to this when she shoved her stack, especially as the effective stacks were even. But long behold it was two pair, better than my two pair.

This was a real Mike McDermott sinker hand for me. I just stared at the screen with what I’m sure was the same look Mikey had on his face when Teddy cleaned him out. (Which in some parts was a very silly hand. Doug Polk actually broke it down. Mike played it better than Teddy, from a pro’s perspective, according to Polk, if I remember correctly) I had just started the RWG Skeleton MTT, intending to make a decently deep run in a tournament that finally meant a little to me, and I busted out in 8 minutes near the very bottom of the barrel.

Please share your thoughts and inputs on the hand and how it was played. Right/wrong (subjective/objective), good/bad, mistakes, etc. Also, please correct me if I’ve made some general mistakes in what I’ve said. Thank you.


The fact that you’ve made a post exploring all these concepts puts you ahead of at least 75% of the player base here, so I’d consider you far beyond beginner or limited knowledge.

That said, understand that the players here – particularly those in low stakes – are not going to play “as expected”. It’s safe to assume most players here at low stakes:

  1. have a limp-in range of any two cards (the tighter ones usually playing any Ace or any two suited cards)
  2. are completely ignorant of table position
  3. will float any pair on the flop

(unless it’s otherwise known that a particular person doesn’t fit the pattern).

I’m going to leave the detailed hand analysis to the experts who are typing concurrently with me, but I wanted to give you a general scope of the environment you’re in and welcome you to Replay.


I think you played it just fine. Like your preflop raise, and I like your big bets on the flop and turn. I don’t think you should be folding 2pair on the turn at this stack size unless you have a very strong read on villain.

There are lots of players here who will take the same line as villain with any Ax hand. They see that they have top pair (aces!!) and feel good getting it in. So V can have AK, AQ, AJ, AT, A9, A8… overall you’re miles ahead against this range. If you give V a worst case range (like AA, JJ, TT, 66, KQ, A9+) you still have 40% equity against the range and have a +EV call on the turn.

As you said, it’s unlikely that villain has AA, JJ or TT because there was no preflop raise. Plus on the flop when you have 2pair with JT yourself, there is only one combo each of JJ and TT that’s even possible. It’s more likely that V has a weaker range with a lot more small Ax hands.


Sorry, I meant more so in relation to the grand scheme of the game, as are a good amount on Replay, as we all know (not in a bad or offensive way - simply from more of an objective perspective). There certainly are some players here that are QUITE knowledgeable about the game; it’s actually very impressive.

Very true (to some degree, or should I say ‘for the most part’) about the “as expected”. Play is all over the place without the real risk of something to lose/gain. I’ve seen her (that particular player) play before a bit, just not much, and that move surprised me for her.

Thanks for the welcome and reply!

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You’re quite humble; I like that. You’ll do well here.

It does get better at higher stakes. In the meantime, if you really like tournament play, enter the regional MTTs (red color in the MTT lobby). They offer some of the best play on the site for a relatively low buy-in. I enjoy them immensely.


40% equity against that entire range? Is that what you’re saying? I’m interested to take a look in the calculators. Is that based on an average? I’m pretty sure I think I know what you’re saying here, based off hand ranges charts I’ve seen, hand vs. hands in range and overall equity against them - I just want to be sure we’re on the same page. I understand the positive expected value by calling the turn if against that range. I’ll tinker around at what you’re saying when I have some more time to look at some charts and calculators, but that is interesting to know right off the bat that it was about 40% against that range. Thanks!

Yes, exactly about the big pairs, as I would highly expect to be 3-bet pre-flop. People limping premium hands is fairly common at low stakes here, though. Or in MTT’s they will shove premium hands pre-flop with a green zone M number against any number of players with any stack size. They will risk their entire stack and end up winning a pot that’s less than 5% of it! Yeah, true about those Ax hands…that makes their range wider and me ahead in a lot more spots against that range.

Exactly right. It’s the average equity of each of the hands in the range against your hand.

Here’s a screenshot from Equilab (fantastic tool and free to use) showing the result.

Excellent! Thanks!

Your play seems fine. Your hand is too strong to fold. Sometimes when you have a strong hand, you are destined to lose all your chips if someone has a stronger hand.

A thing you could improve on is your turn bet sizing. When you bet that amount, you are basically committing to the pot since you have so little left behind. I suggest you either jam all in or bet smaller to make it a 3 street game.

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