$1 NLHE MTT: A type of spot I always mess up

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johnnythemoss

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I'm posting this hand because this spot always comes up and I never know what to do. It's typical of a late tournament stage nearing the bubble where I'm suddenly in a situation and because I have no plan, I just end up shoving.

In this hand, I figured 13bb was a bit too much to open shove so I raised for 2.2x. On the flop I'm out of position on a terrible board. My thought process: If I check he just bets his entire range and I have to fold. If I bet 30%-50% pot and he calls, I still have a bad hand on the turn and now I have only a few bbs left. If I check fold I have wasted a decent hand. So jamming the flop is the only way to make sure I prevent his bluffs from stealing the pot. He might call with any Ace or any Queen, he might fold pocket pairs lower than TT.

I just hate these spots because I have no strategy in place and I end up spazzing.


pokerstars, $0.98 + $0.12 - Hold'em No Limit - 400/800 (65 ante) - 9 players
Replay this hand on CardsChat

UTG: 13,920 (17 bb)
UTG+1 (Hero): 10,601 (13 bb)
MP: 14,600 (18 bb)
MP+1: 27,410 (34 bb)
LP: 35,098 (44 bb)
CO: 47,197 (59 bb)
BU: 36,968 (46 bb)
SB: 11,207 (14 bb)
BB: 12,898 (16 bb)

Pre-Flop: (1,785) Hero is UTG+1 with 9 9
1 fold, Hero raises to 1,760, 2 players fold, LP calls 1,760, 4 players fold

Flop: (5,305) T K J (2 players)
Hero bets 8,776 (all-in), LP calls 8,776
 
3

300HPGOD

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13 BBs is not too much to shove especially when you have a hand like pocket 9s as you really dont want to see a flop with it because of all the overcards. It is best to shove in this spot and I would also say (differing from others that I read and listed to) that I would shove Aces here as well just so that opponents cant easily see that I shove hands that are good and not great but only raise hands that are very strong.

As played when you raise and get called, we get a flop that is horrendous for our hand with 3 overcards. If you are going to play it this way by raising and not jamming then you will need to have discipline to fold when the flop does not go your way. With 9s, there are not too many flops that you are going to love. You can probably live with one overcard but more than that becomes a problem. If you are going to jam on any flop regardless of the cards that flop then you would be better off jamming pre flop.
 
Pufik

Pufik

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this flop hit his range so much, you should go fold on flop maybe. Or go open shove preflop, that would be best option IMO
 
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Delfino

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This flop was terrible and you have to let it go. There's no sense of making a small raise if you can't let go a hand on the flop. If the flop was for example Q55 i would have gone all in but not with such flop.

It's better to go all in preflop in early position especially if you go all in no matter what the flop comes. In late position I would prffer smaller raise and decide after what he does and the flop texture.
 
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fundiver199

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Just jam this preflop. You are a below average stack, so you actually want to play a coinflip here, so you can chip up or go home. Its totally fine to get called by two overcards and play a "flip", and if someone behind wake up with a bigger pair, you are going broke anyway, because presumably you are not planning to fold to a 3-bet.
 
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johnnythemoss

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Yes I see now that shoving preflop was correct. In terms of how many BBs you would shove with what hole cards, what is a good guide? For example, with 99 would shove 20bbs preflop? Or up to 15bbs maybe. How do you know what to do?
 
thehangdude

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99 is on the very bottom of the playable hands UTG+1.

If you want to play 99 UTG, there is really only one way to do it with 12 BB. Jam.

When you are UTG and raise small, you are inviting one of the five players in position to call you, and the blinds to join. You don't want to play 99 out of position, so shove it or fold it.

Had you been closer to middle or late position and had 30BB, your raise would have been correct.

Having flopped about the worst board around, I would give up there. Why put more money into the pot? Shoving now only gets villain to fold worse pairs or Ax which you already beat.
 
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Delfino

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With 10-15BB I preffer to play flop with position. Without all-in or fold. Below 10BB I would go all-in from any position except maybe blinds.
 
thehangdude

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With 10-15BB I preffer to play flop with position. Without all-in or fold. Below 10BB I would go all-in from any position except maybe blinds.
I agree that 13BB is too early to be shoving preflop. But 99 plays bad post flop. Hero's stack is not enough to set mine, and the flop is very likely to have at least one 10+ card. Playing 99 out of position is not ideal (unless a nine pops up).

Personally I would have folded it. 13BB is plenty to wait for a better hand and/or better position to play.
 
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johnnythemoss

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I agree that 13BB is too early to be shoving preflop. But 99 plays bad post flop. Hero's stack is not enough to set mine, and the flop is very likely to have at least one 10+ card. Playing 99 out of position is not ideal (unless a nine pops up).

Personally I would have folded it. 13BB is plenty to wait for a better hand and/or better position to play.


You would fold 99 preflop? Am I misunderstanding? Or you mean check-fold flop?
 
thehangdude

thehangdude

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You would fold 99 preflop? Am I misunderstanding? Or you mean check-fold flop?
UTG and probably UTG+1 I usually would fold 99. I might limp or raise if there is enough in stacks to set mine (about 20BB+). It depends on how the table is playing.
 
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johnnythemoss

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I mean, I can understand shoving 99 with 13bb but I don't understand folding it. Surely folding 99 can't be right?
 
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Delfino

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I think it's a hard decision. I'm not sure whether I would go all-in or fold with 13BB. You are first to act and you can be called by multiple hands. I would seriously consider folding it. 13BB is still enough to raise from late position by 3BB and play something on flop. Going all-in can knock you out from tournament immediately. Definitely good decision with 8BB but 13BB I'm not sure. Remember that you have 7 players to act after you (if played from UTG+1), your 99 is not a powerhouse against 7 random hands. If you are on button and everyone folds to you, there are only 2 random hands after you and 99 becomes a monster.
 
thehangdude

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I mean, I can understand shoving 99 with 13bb but I don't understand folding it. Surely folding 99 can't be right?
You can use math to decide if you want to take a chance with 99 and 7 players left to act. There are 1326 possible hands. 30 of these have you dominated (6 combinations of each pair over 99). So 7X30=210. 1326/210= 6.3 So every 6 times you go all in, you are dominated once. Doesn't sound bad.

But who else will call and what are their chances?

AK, AQ, and AJs would probably call. That is another 36 combinations times 7 hands or 5.2:1. So now 1/3 of the time you shove 99, you get called either dominated or a coin flip.

Will anyone call you with you ahead? Maybe 88 or 77 will, but I doubt it.

So with the example above, blinds and antes are 1785. You win that 4 of 6 times.
+7140 chips.
Coin flip 1/6 times. For this sixth you win half blinds and half your stack, and lose half your stack.
+6161 and -5268
Dominated 1/6 times
-10,536

So over 6 hands, shoving 99 will win you 13,301 chips and lose you 15,804 chips.

Now if you believe pairs under 99 will call you, you gain EV. Otherwise it is a bad EV shove.
 
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BatOneHat

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Shove.

I agree in this situation I would shove. Pocket 9s and a straight draw. Go.
13 BBs is not too much to shove especially when you have a hand like pocket 9s as you really dont want to see a flop with it because of all the overcards. It is best to shove in this spot and I would also say (differing from others that I read and listed to) that I would shove Aces here as well just so that opponents cant easily see that I shove hands that are good and not great but only raise hands that are very strong.

As played when you raise and get called, we get a flop that is horrendous for our hand with 3 overcards. If you are going to play it this way by raising and not jamming then you will need to have discipline to fold when the flop does not go your way. With 9s, there are not too many flops that you are going to love. You can probably live with one overcard but more than that becomes a problem. If you are going to jam on any flop regardless of the cards that flop then you would be better off jamming pre flop.
 
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fundiver199

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So with the example above, blinds and antes are 1785. You win that 4 of 6 times.
+7140 chips.
Coin flip 1/6 times. For this sixth you win half blinds and half your stack, and lose half your stack.
+6161 and -5268
Dominated 1/6 times
-10,536

So over 6 hands, shoving 99 will win you 13,301 chips and lose you 15,804 chips.


This math is not correct. The main error is, that even when dominated we still have around 20% equity, and the "coinflips" are not true coinflips, since 99 typically has around 55% equity against two overcards. Of course the real math is also more complicated than this, since it matter to the pot size, if we are called by BB, SB or someone else, or if we have Villain covered, and there will also be a low frequenzy of multiway pots. Its to complex to do the real calculation by hand, which is why, we ideally want to consult a program like ICMizer for this :)
 
thehangdude

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This math is not correct. The main error is, that even when dominated we still have around 20% equity, and the "coinflips" are not true coinflips, since 99 typically has around 55% equity against two overcards. Of course the real math is also more complicated than this, since it matter to the pot size, if we are called by BB, SB or someone else, or if we have Villain covered, and there will also be a low frequenzy of multiway pots. Its to complex to do the real calculation by hand, which is why, we ideally want to consult a program like ICMizer for this :)
True. And there are rounding errors in my math. There is also no way to figure odd hands like MP calling, CO raising 59BB all in, then MP folding, but stuff like that happens.


I was just showing that 99 is not an obvious play. I usually raise TT+ from UTG, 99+ from UTG+1, of course that is dependent on other factors like stack size. Some advocate raising 77+ from UTG.

My advice is figure out an opening raise/call/3bet chart you are comfortable with. Only deviate from it for specific reasons. Reasons should include stack size and table tightness.

Understand the strength of your hand within your position's range. AQo is a weak hand from UTG, but a strong hand from the Button.

Call/3bet hands according to the raiser's range, not your own position. If UTG raises, and you are on the Button with A8s, you should probably fold, even though A8s would be a raise from the Button.

Having a chart by you as you play helps you see these things plainly. But the chart is only a tool, not a law. Don't get trapped by it.
 
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fundiver199

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There is also no way to figure odd hands like MP calling, CO raising 59BB all in, then MP folding, but stuff like that happens.

True and especially in a tournament with a buyin this low we absolute can not discount the goofball factor, which will increase the EV of jamming a hand like 99. Some nit might fold JJ, and then behind him we get called by a fish with 44. Or we get multible callers with overcards blocking each others outs, like someone call with AK, and then a fish behind him overcall with KT.

I agree, that 99 is not a super +EV jam from UTG+1 with 13BB stack, but for me its still clearly a jam and even more so in a 1$ tournament, because players are going to be making a lot more mistakes than in say a 12$ tournament. 22-77 would be a fold though, and 88 is the hand, I would need to think a little about maybe taking the specific table dynamics into account.
 
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UkoChebuko

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You can shove, it is not bad, but I very often prefer to raise with this hands. I have an options. The shove is "raise and forget". Sometime I play for a bounty, for fold equity (on the bubble for example), sometime I have hand with poor playability, like 22, A9o. Shove can be better sometime...But 13bb is too much for me.

With this hand you will hit some boards, enough good for stack off. Some for "bluff". This is not exactly "bluff", but you want FE, you bet. On this board you have pretty easy check-fold. No problem at all. This not be too often. 99 is a high pocket pair. Good powerfull hand. But sometime just give up.
 
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mara2259

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I did not catch your logic. You have the smallest stack at the table and you are in a situation close to push fold. Preflop you have a good hand but not enough money to maneuver. If you think that 13 BB is a lot for pushing, then why when the elders appear on the table with respect to your pair of cards, you throw all your chips in a pot. If the villain does not have anything, he will simply fold, and if he has gathered his hand then your actions cannot be called a gift. Pushing preflop would save you a lot of problems and possibly bring extra chips from hands like Ax.:stupido:
 
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johnnythemoss

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I did not catch your logic. You have the smallest stack at the table and you are in a situation close to push fold. Preflop you have a good hand but not enough money to maneuver. If you think that 13 BB is a lot for pushing, then why when the elders appear on the table with respect to your pair of cards, you throw all your chips in a pot. If the villain does not have anything, he will simply fold, and if he has gathered his hand then your actions cannot be called a gift. Pushing preflop would save you a lot of problems and possibly bring extra chips from hands like Ax.:stupido:
Yes I think pushing preflop was a better play than jamming flop, looking back on it. At the time I thought Villain is going to bet almost all his range, all Ax or pairs weaker than 99, any Queen. I can't check call the flop and I was worried that check-fold would be folding to many weaker hands. That's why I jammed the flop, but it was a bad play.
 
Jon Poker

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I am going to be blunt - if you are "always messing up" by not properly jamming 13bb preflop - then you dont learn to well from mistakes...

Huge error not to jam 13bb here preflop - one reason is middling pairs like 88s, 99s and TTs are going to see a TON of flops with at least one overcard on them - sometimes two overs - and they become very awkward to play since we are so short and cannot afford to lose many chips. So avoid all the nonsense and jam them preflop for 17bb or less. You can play them normally on stack sizes above that.

The second huge mistake here is the flop shove....good lord almighty what a board to do this with. First question - is your overbet jam here a bluff or a value bet?

If its a bluff - then what better hands are you getting to fold?

If its for value - what hands that are worse than 99s are calling? Qhi no pair? 88s? 77s?...not likely.

Point is when we do this, we are going to get called a ton, we are going to be beaten almost always annnnnnd the worst part brings us to mistake number 3 - we gave ourselves a chance to fold and stay alive and we didnt!!

By raising instead of shoving pre we get to see one of the worst flops in the world for our hand - we should be checking this horrible board texture - folding to any bets - and TRYING to get to showdown if at all possible. So its a miracle! We don't have to go broke here! We can fold and still have 11bb to play off of and our tournament is not over - but rather than think about things and what the consequences may be - we go the suicidal route where we are practically ALWAYS being called by better hands.

I hope this helps your thought process some. If you are having troubles not knowing what and when to push/fold - get you some charts to play with while you're games are running - no sense making the same mistakes forever! Lol
 
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johnnythemoss

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I am going to be blunt - if you are "always messing up" by not properly jamming 13bb preflop - then you dont learn to well from mistakes...


I hope this helps your thought process some. If you are having troubles not knowing what and when to push/fold - get you some charts to play with while you're games are running - no sense making the same mistakes forever! Lol


Yes, I basically agree with everything you said here. And I think it's a spot I am more aware of now, so hopefully I will be able to recognize it in-game when it happens.

To answer your question, I think I didn't even know if it was for value or a bluff. I thought I was ahead of some of his calling range (22-88, Q8s, lower Ax maybe) but obviously behind other parts of his range (Kx, Qx,AJ, AT, TT maybe). I think that is the source of the mistake. I felt like I was ahead of part of his range and behind other parts, and I thought that check-folding was basically handing him free equity even though I might be ahead of some of his range. So I guess it's a value bet? I don't know what to call it tbh.

I think it would help me to have charts. I have a basic understanding but I have trouble with adjusting based on stack size. For example, I see stacks as either <10, 10-15, 15-30 and everything else. I'm not good at assessing push/fold for stacks in between. Can you suggest good (free) charts? Thanks.
 
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Jon Poker

Jon Poker

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It won't let me post the link so Google "float the turn push fold"and you should find Jonathan Littles charts. Be sure to select correct ante sizing for accurate ranges.

***edit:: got the link to work

https://floattheturn.com/wp/pushfold/
 
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