What happened next?

It is the usual one-million chip buy-in tournament about half an hour in. You are dealt KTo in the cutoff.

How would you play here? What do you think happened next? What should have happened? After responses are received I will reveal the scandalous truth and you can see what happened, how the hand played out, and what is the moral of this hand?

There is only one correct answer, but marks will be awarded for effort and reasoning.

[Clue: I made the final table, but only one of the other players on this table did, and he folded from under the gun and played no part in this hand.]

1 Like

Errr… stacks are still relatively deep, with everyone at 40bb or so or more, and hero with almost 60bb, and only covered by the small blind and a somewhat wild player (if memory serves) that has just open limped from the prior seat (High Jack).

KTo is in my raising range in the cutoff with one prior limper, and so I’d bump it up to somewhere between 400 and 1,000, depending on how the table had been playing, leaning toward around 600. I’d be inclined to fold to most 3 bets (unless they priced me in with something like a min raise), as KT off is close to the bottom of my raising range here, and doesn’t seem like a good choice for a bluff 4!.

I think you raised to about 700 and got called by someone out of position. The flop was KT5, you shoved and got called. The turn was a 7 and the river a 6, and your opponent turned over 48o for the winning straight.

Anyway, that would be my guess.

Close. Actually I folded, which was just as well, because KTo is a dominated hand and I would have lost a lot of chips.

SB flopped the flush, but slow played it. BB put in a big bet on the turn that was called by button and by SB. The 5 of spades came on the river, so button made a large bet, and was rewarded when SB called with the inferior flush.

My main point was just that KTo can get you into a lot of trouble in ambiguous pots, and it is a hand that I do not like to play with. You may make pairs that get outkicked, straights that get out straightened, and flushes that are never the nut flush unless the ace of that suit is on the table.

Obviously from late position it is often the best hand preflop if there is no extant ace, but it is difficult to play and is dominated by AT, AK, KQ and KJ, which are hands that people like to play and will rarely fold preflop. In addition, it can only make 2 straights that include both cards.

What an interesting idea!

I would have raised at least 650. KTo is not a strong hand so I want to sort out the players right now. Callers would be, at worst (for me), 98s+, A8s+, ATo+, 55+. I think the calling range would be much tighter than that in practice.

Absolutely no doubt that I would bet 3k+ on that flop. Massively high chance that I would have won without even seeing the flop.


Yes, you might have won preflop. However the BB was 100 chips, so is it really worthwhile risking 650 chips (more than 10% of stack) to win 150 chips at this stage of the tournament?

In this tournament, which I have been playing every night, you start with 5000 chips, and by my reckoning you need to double up 2 times to reach the final table with 20,000 chips.

Obviously you need to win some other pots too while waiting for the biggies, but you can be pretty selective about picking your spot. When you do open with a monster, you want to have a pretty big pot, but you also want at least one caller, otherwise you are just going to knock down the blinds and not profit much from the hand.

Once you get to the final table the play is basically all preflop and flop play, because no one can really afford to pay to see turns and rivers without running the risk of being crippled.

In these early stages there is some jousting for position and competition to grab the stacks of the undisciplined top-pair-weak-kicker shovers and bluffers to build a stack.

I think KTo from button against HJ limp is playable but from the Cutoff its more blurry. Folding and raising are both fine in my opinion raising allows you to play a pot likely in position and as an agressor which gives you a good advantage, especially if you are heads up against a weak limper with a weak range. However, you are correct that KTo is easily dominated which makes folding ok too.

There are no real rights and wrongs, but people just prefer to play tournaments in slightly different ways.

I think with KT there in the cutoff, if you are going to play it, then you need to raise high enough to knock out the button preflop, but if you are called by the button, as I think you would be here, then you are in a pickle with a big chunk of your stack at risk.

Yet again, for the third successive night I went out on the bubble tonight! But then I like to play to win rather than sneak into the money.

In this hand I was in the SB and min-raised hoping the small stack limping from UTG would call and that I could get him pot committed and knock him out, or cripple him, but I did not count on the BB calling with a suited king. Calling when the smallest stack is in peril on the bubble can only give the smallest stack a chance to treble up and get right back into the game.

When an ace hit on the turn and both checked to me, I was pretty confident that neither could call my bet, but SB in fact reraised all in. I had earlier doubled up when he did the same thing on a semi-bluff, but this time I thought he most likely had an inferior ace, and though that if he had paired the flop he would have bet the flop, though I doubted two pairs, but as it turned out he had the flush draw and made his hand on the river, knocking me out. I suppose I should have put in a bigger raise preflop, but didn’t want to scare off UTG. UTG would surely have shoved if he had a monster.


Looked to me like it was 310 in the middle? 50 from small blind, 100 from bb, 100 from prior limper and 60 from antes? You also mention earlier about KT being dominated here… it is certainly a hand that will often find itself dominated, especially if you are cold calling a raise with it (rather than raising with it), but I don’t see that it was dominated here.

Also, you seem to be using the result here to suggest that folding KT pre flop is optimal with 60bb effective stacks. It’s fine being tight pre flop, and that can help to manage volatility, especially in an environment like we have here, but I think you’ll find KTo in most CO raising ranges at that stack depth.

Here is some of what is in range at 100BB in a cash game (and it tends on the whole to get wider shallow stacked MTT)

Here’s 20BB MTT (both are freely available at PokerCoaching.com

Do you have to play everything that a GTO solver tells you to? Of course not… a lot of the fringe hands are very close to zero EV in expert hands, and even then will subject you to a lot of volatility, as this example helps to show.

I count 250 chips in the middle with 1 player left to act. I certainly consider KTo to be a raising hand in your position (which Yoru has kindly provided confirmation of) but I don’t think it’s strong enough to want to “allow” multiple callers.

I don’t consider 6.5BB to be a silly size raise so early in the tournament. That is enough to get rid of the rubbish that might limp in, as in the hand that you displayed here, and gives me a decent size pot to play for if I do get called.

If I just pick up the 250 chips, well and good and it serves to annoy people which increases the chances that my next raise will be called - hopefully with a stronger hand than KTo :slight_smile:

The other way this might play out is that I get a single caller and, as I said, I would definitely be bluffing that flop. TT+ and ATs+ are easily in any preflop raising range in middle and late positions. I need to correct myself on the amount I would bet though: 1k - 1.5k would be plenty to take the pot unless someone actually had a hit.

I don’t think that the amount of the raise is set in stone at all - it just has to be large enough to get rid of the chancers and hopers and that is always table dependent.

I do think that if you are folding KTo in late position then you are likely folding a lot of other hands that are also very playable. Having said that, I do admit to playing more loose than tight so what suits me may not suit you at all.


I agree with most of this, but personally I would rather play a hand like J9 suited which has better potential for straight draws, flushes, and making top pair, so that if my flop bet (bluff) is called, then I may have some outs. It is true that J9 suited has no showdown value (except vs a small pocket pair), but KT does not have a lot of showdown value either as it is dominated by so many hands.

In tournaments I would always prefer to be first into the pot, since with an early limper, it becomes harder to isolate one player. Although an unpaired hand has only a one-in-three odds of pairing the flop, two hands have a two-in-three chance of flopping a pair on the flop so it is your one-in-three-vs their two-in-three.

In tournaments, as opposed to ring games, you only need to win a few good pots to make the final table, so you can definitely pick your spot.

On the final table last night was a player whom I am told is the all-time biggest winner on tournaments on Replay Poker (I am not sure if this is true, but it might be, as he is ranked high in the top 100 and plays many tournaments.) I have observed his play a great deal over many tournaments and was up against him on final tables the last 2 days, and I am pretty sure he would fold KTo here.

I do think that if you are folding KTo in late position then you are likely folding a lot of other hands that are also very playable. Having said that, I do admit to playing more loose than tight so what suits me may not suit you at all.

I would imagine that is true. My tendency is to play the man and the whole table situation rather than just play the cards. I might sometimes fold AQo preflop if I did not like the situation. Who is in the BB. What is the size of his stack, is he a chronic caller with(likely) dominated hands? How big does a raise need to be for him to fold JTo? How big is my stack? And other questions.

On the other hand, with the biggest stack on the table, I might well raise from UTG (6-seater table) with QJ or JT suited, knowing that if a caller misses the flop, they probably cannot bet into me unless they have a good overpair and that they will be tentative with something like 99 or 88 if there are overcards on the flop. A smaller stack that hits hard is more likely to shove than slow play. On the other hand, there are many flops that QJ or JT will like, as any mostly high or mostly medium flop is likely to have some kind of draw, and any flop that is all low will miss the most likely holdings of an opponent with 2 face cards and render them likely to fold to your perceived pocket pair, AK, AQ range.

Sometimes when opponents flat call with AK and miss the flop, they will panic and shove anyway and that is a tough call. Probably best to fold as they may do the same thing with trips unless you have a very strong draw, like flush draw plus pair plus gutshot on the flop.

Just out of interest, does anyone know if any top poker players have ever challenged a computer and what the outcome was?


In 10,000 hands of poker, Pluribus played against five copies of itself versus one top-class professional player, as well as five top-class professional poker players versus one version of itself. The scientists found it performed significantly better than humans on average.

Study co-author Dr. Tuomas Sandholm, Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, told Newsweek : “Poker is the main benchmark problem for testing imperfect-information game solving capability—both in the AI community (at least since 1970) and the game theory community (at least since 1950).”

I suppose that is logical, but depressing to think that the more you play like a computer would, the more likely you are to win.

Imagine a computer programmed to play golf. It would never hook or slice, never be in the rough, hit the ball further than any human, sink almost every put, ace nearly every par three, and never miscalculate the wind. It would break all course records at the first time of asking and win all the majors in its rookie season. It would also win all the women’s golf events.

1 Like

Woah, I thought you were talking about Tiger for a moment :wink:.

I’m glad I’m coming to the end of my life cycle because I don’t want to see any of it …scary.

I’d agree that in poker also we’ve reached the day where top computer play has surpassed top human play, but I’d note that we are still far from solving hold’em poker (with the exception of heads up limit), and so there is likely a ton of room for the computers to still improve, as well.


Agree :+1:t2: