Red Zone Tournament Poker strategy discussion.

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Bentheman87

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After reading Harrington on Holdem V2, my results have improved drastically, however there are still many situations where I'm not quite sure what the best play is. If you don't know what M is, it is your stack divided by the total starting pot, and once it drops below 5, you are in the red zone. If I'm in late position, and my M is exactly 3 and its folded to me and neither of the remaining players are very big or small stacks, I will go all in with anything but the trash hands (7 2, 7 3, 4 2, 4 3). Here are some different scenarios late in a tournament:

1. You are in the cutoff with an M of 3.5 and its folded around to you.

2. You are in the cutoff with an M of 4 and its folded around to you.

3. You are in the cutoff with an M of 4.5 and its folded around to you.

4. There is one or two limpers in front of you and you are in the cutoff with an M of 3.5.

5. There is one or two limpers in front of you and you are in the cutoff with an M of 4.

6. There is one or two limpers in front of you and you are in the cutoff with an M of 4.5.

When there are limpers it seems sometimes like its a good time to shove, because the button, small blind, and big blind are probably not as likely to believe you are bluffing than if you shoved when it was folded to you, and they will have to be more cautious since they limpers still have yet to act. And the limpers just limped, they didn't raise, and if they had a great hand they would have raised right?

Anyway, what hands do you guys believe are good enough to shove with in each of these scenarios.
 
OzExorcist

OzExorcist

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I'd treat 3.5, 4 and 4.5 in each case exactly the same way - the red zone is the red zone as far as I'm concerned. I'm assuming these hands are at full tables and we're not on the bubble, BTW.

Folded to me in the cutoff, I'm probably merrily shoving pairs down to maybe 55, Ax, any two paint cards, suited connectors down to 67 and unpaired cards down to maybe T7.

I could shove a broader range than that, but at a full table if I pick up a hand lower than that, there's a good chance I'll be getting something else that meets the criteria before the blinds reach me again.

With one or two limpers, I probably want to cut the unpaired cards and raise the suited connectors to maybe 89 in the above range.
 
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Bentheman87

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Really? You play the same with an M of 5 as u do with an M of 3? With an M of 5 you can survive 2 full rounds more than with an M of 3. If I have ace 3 in late position with an M of 5 I'll often fold it but with an M of 3 I shove.

And I see your point about waiting for a better hand in you just passed the blinds, but there are two problems with waiting for a better hand. You might get that better hand, say two hands later when you are in middle position, but someone in early position may have already raised, and you won't have first in vigorish. Also, the more players behind you yet to act, the greater the chance of a player having a real hand to call you with.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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When there are limpers it seems sometimes like its a good time to shove, because the button, small blind, and big blind are probably not as likely to believe you are bluffing than if you shoved when it was folded to you, and they will have to be more cautious since they limpers still have yet to act. And the limpers just limped, they didn't raise, and if they had a great hand they would have raised right?

Yes and no. Yes, the blinds will be less inclined to call. They'll be in a sandwich position and will have to deal with any potential callers/raisers behind them, and will fold more often than had you open pushed. The limpers won't though. They've already shown interest in the pot and the looser ones will call with pairs, weak aces or even KQ type hands if they think they're ahead. Often times even if they think they're not. Players don't take kindly to getting their limps stolen :)

Punishing limpers works a whole lot better when there's an implied threat - ie you have a bigger stack and raise instead of pushing, so they know they'll probably have to face a bet or three on later streets to find out if their hand is good. When you push with a short stack, all they have to do is click a button and it's done.

Anyway, what hands do you guys believe are good enough to shove with in each of these scenarios.

Depends :)

Are the blinds tight or loose? Are the limpers tight or loose? What are their stacks like? What's our image?

Decisions should be based on a variety of factors - not just your M.
 
Cheetah

Cheetah

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When you are short stacked, it is better to open-raise all-in(ideally from late position). When you have limpers, you have lost most of your FE since they are very likely to call a short stack.

Your ideal outcome is that no one calls and you pick-up the blinds.

You can push with any Ace, any pair, 2 big cards, and SC(45+). The small SC are last resort.
 
OzExorcist

OzExorcist

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Really? You play the same with an M of 5 as u do with an M of 3?

Sure. Nearly dead is nearly dead, and I'd much rather double up from 5 than I would from 3. In particular, I see little if any difference between 3.5 and 4.5. I might make a change below 2 and shove absolutely anything, but that's about it.

And I see your point about waiting for a better hand in you just passed the blinds, but there are two problems with waiting for a better hand. You might get that better hand, say two hands later when you are in middle position, but someone in early position may have already raised, and you won't have first in vigorish. Also, the more players behind you yet to act, the greater the chance of a player having a real hand to call you with.

This is the exact reason why I wouldn't make the distinction between M=5 and M=3.

What you've said about passing on A3 with an M of 5, but shoving the same hand in the same situation with an M of 3 is interesting: what you've actually done is moved the start of the red zone to M=3. If you're waiting until then to make your stand, you've probably waited too long.

You're right about it being entirely possible that you'll get dealt a better hand in a worse situation in two hands time. Which is why I'd think in the same terms wherever I was in the red zone - if I've found myself there and I'm going to wait for the right hand to meet the right circumstance, I want to give myself as long as possible.
 
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