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Weird tournament spot with TT, UTG+2

StopHammertimeStopHammertime Posts: 81Member
I’d like to get your thoughts on this hand I played over the weekend. It was in a tournament at a home game prior to the Super Bowl. We’re on the third blind level and I’m sitting about 90BB deep. Table average is at 35BB deep. I’ve been running hot on the cards and played well with them, but as a result I’ve also been the most active and aggressive player at the table. (I certainly didn’t go into an unfamiliar game with the idea of bluffing people in these kinds of games.) It’s a $40 buy-in.

The table as a whole has liked to see flops but has quit when they’ve missed. Two of the players I’m familiar with from a game I play in more often, and I respect their game.

Other than myself and the two players I’ve just mentioned, there’s a third player, the Big Blind, who is better than the rest of the table, and has shown some aggression at pots where he didn’t have it. My friend bluff-caught him on the river and when he didn’t turn over his cards once he was called, I asked to see them and he got angry about it, raising his voice, telling me I had no right to see it or any rightful interest in the hand because I had folded preflop. He appears to be decent at hand-reading and hand-selection preflop, but isn’t as aware of position as he should be and seems to be overestimating how much fold equity he has.

SB – A passive player I haven’t seen much from.
BB – The if-only-he-could-just-get-out-of-his-own-way player I’ve described above.
UTG – My buddy who bluff-caught BB earlier.
UTG+1 – Middle-aged man who likes to see a lot of flops, doesn’t show any pre-flop aggression. I haven’t seen him get involved on any flops. He’s basically just limped away a quarter of his stack.
UTG + 2 – Me; again, I’ve run hot but have only shown down best hands, but people seem to be skeptical of me playing so many pots.
MP1 – An old man who sees lots of flops and then gets out of the way.
MP2 – 40s Hispanic guy; he and the BUT player went out of their way to tell the table about a time they played in a WSOP event together. They haven’t shown me much in way of their abilities, though.
HJ – A mid-40s golfer guy who was watching TV more than the poker game.
CO – The other guy I’ve played with before; a very Harrington-on-Hold’em player, which is well-suited for these tournaments.
BUT – The other guy who was telling their WSOP story.

UTG limp, UTG1 limp, I look down at two tens. As I said, the table liked to see lots of flops; there wasn’t much preflop fold equity on single-raised pots. For example, when I’d raised from UTG on the second hand of the game with JJ, I got five callers. So I’ve decided with TT here I’m evaluating based on future action. I'm expecting five or so people to see the flop and for me to have position on half of them, so I feel like I can manage most flops effectively.

MP2 calls, HJ calls, BUT calls. SB folds, and BB shockingly raised. When he announced “raise”, I couldn’t imagine what kind of sizing he’d have to make here. He went with 8x BB total (so 6xBB more), which was very strange. He’d been open-raising for 6x or 7x from UTG earlier and this really confused me. With all the dead money in the pot, it seems like a weak-sized raise.

UTG folds, UTG + 1 calls! BB now looks either annoyed or frustrated. I’ve got everyone covered, but BB could knock me down to ten big blinds if we end up getting it all in at some point in this hand, and he’s not the kind of player I want to have a domineering chip stack at my table.

What’s my action here? Part of me just limping behind was in case a situation like this came up.... Calling seems weak and is likely to start the domino effect all over again. Raising is unusual because of my limp and the action behind me; sizing is weird, also. Can we limp-reraise-fold? Shoving seems just short of crazy.


  • OminousCowOminousCow Posts: 702Subscriber
    It seems like calling and playing your hand straightforwardly post-flop is likely to be the best line. Starting a cascade of callers behind you is not a bad thing here since if the pot ends up going 5 ways, you are getting good odds on just straightforward set mining.

    I think I disagree with your pre-flop limp, especially at such a passive table. You mention not wanting to get a bunch of calls, but lots of players calling too wide doesn't seem like a terrible thing here. For instances, I assume that one of the ways you got up to 90BB to start was due to that JJ hand where you raised UTG and got 5 callers. This situation is similar and should probably be played for straight value. As long as you don't feel committed on bad flops, you will be making money hand over fist when passive players make pairs smaller than yours or when you get lucky and hit a set. In addition, even if it doesn't narrow the field as much as it would at a tighter table, there will be at least a couple of players who will fold a hand that they would have otherwise played for 1BB.
  • whatsyourplay?whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    raise preflop to build the pot, even if you expect to get five callers. You still have the best hand often, and if you happen to hit a set, the pot is so large that other players will have a difficult time to get away if they hit something.

    As played, call the raise and play some poker postflop. Smile
    The rather small raise size from BB might be a pot sweetener raise where he expects to get a lot of callers, but wants to build the pot. He might have a similar hand to yours, an Axs hand with a decent kicker, or maybe even AA. Anyways, call and evaluate on later streets.

    Limp-reraising doesn't seem to be a good option. You are committing yourself, and basically threaten your tournament life with such a move.
    Reraising could make sense if you had more specific reads about his raising range in this spot with this exact sizing, and how he would react with different parts of his range.
  • StopHammertimeStopHammertime Posts: 81Member
    Thanks for your input, guys. I think that calling would have been better than I considered it to be at the time. But at the time, I really thought my only options were raising or folding. I can't ever remember limp-reraising in a game.

    (For the record with the JJ UTG hand, it came a Q high flop with everyone having position on me, it checked through, and I was going to lead the turn but it was an A, so I check/folded.)

    The case for limp-raising is the visible discomfort from the BB raiser once the guy to his right called him. He's now got the worst position and even if he does have a big hand, he's either going to shove on me preflop and I can fold, or he'll fold better hand a non-zero percent of the time, or if he calls he's going to be in a world of hurt on a lot of flops.

    The limp-call behind him from UTG screamed two big unpaired broadway cards to me. The initial limps behind me indicated that if I did limp-reraise here (I would have made it around 25-30BB), I'd get lots of folds - despite what I said about how much people liked to see flops, I don't think the people with position on me were going to call with that action. So I thought if I raised, I would end up with the best position in this hand.

    As played, I folded. Everyone else behind me folded as well.

    I thought this was too high variance of a situation to raise/fold or raise/call, and that my action would look bluffy to the BB and that he was going to shove on me too often for me to feel comfortable about calling; he did seem like the kind of guy who could spazz out. Even with a better hand than him, I would rather wait for a better situation to come along to stack this guy - a 75/25 scenario instead of a 55/45 one. If he wins with two overcards to me, he could put a big hurt on my stack and there's not enough in the pot for me to get too worked up over.

    Instead, I was fine with UTG calling BB with what appeared to be a better hand, and let those two deal with the variance. If UTG's hand is stronger than BB's, I'm perfectly fine with a weaker player taking chips from a stronger player.

    As it turned out, BB had KQ offsuit, UTG had AK offsuit, so my reads were correct.

    Flop came KJT rainbow, and they got it all in. I died a little inside. The turn was a 9, so BB won with a straight and knocked out UTG. I'm being results-oriented here, but I'm pretty sure that if I raised preflop, BB would have folded a large amount of the time, and UTG would have called almost 100% of the time, and my set would have won vs. UTG.

    I felt at the time, and still feel, that I should have the best hand there preflop a ton of the time, yet I also don't think folding was a huge mistake, because I'm not that far ahead and there are better hills to die on. I suppose this is why I found the scenario interesting: in a cash game, it doesn't develop this way in the first place, but even if it did, it's fine to weather the variance. But in a tournament, I want to keep my seat and my fairly large stack.

    Looking back, I think the options, from most EV to least EV, are (1) raising/folding to 25-30BB; (2) calling; (3) folding; (4) shoving all-in, and finally (5) raise/calling. with calling and shoving being fairly close.
  • OminousCowOminousCow Posts: 702Subscriber
    I think that you may be overvaluing tournament life at this early stage of the SNG. Usually these tournies pay out top 3 or so, so bubble considerations should not be strongly affecting your decisions when 10 handed.

    It's important to be a little stickier in situations such as this. You are still early in the tournament and have some significant room to maneuver with a very playable hand in position behind players that will probably give you very reliable information. This is a spot where you will often not win the pot, but that does not make it a thin situation where you are gambling too much if you continue. If you are passing on this sort of spot, you are probably leaving a little too much value behind. I know that I have similar tendencies in tournaments and often have to remind myself to be more tenacious. Embrace the variance!
  • StopHammertimeStopHammertime Posts: 81Member
    Those are great points, OminousCow, and I think you're 100% right. My mindset going into this game was to use the first few rounds to get a feel for the players, and to not do anything too out of line early on. And maybe I didn't want to make an embarrassing play after having gotten into it with the BB guy earlier when he wouldn't show his hand; I had the impression he was targeting me since I'd shown him up, so to speak.

    So I was more risk-averse on the whole than I should have been. You're right about the payout structure, as well - no reason to sweat the difference between 16th place and 8th place.
  • whatsyourplay?whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    If BB is a thinking player, you should definitely not backraise after limping behind. At least not if you plan on folding to a shove. He should know that you practically can never have a premium hand here, so he should shove very light against you. If you backraise, you have to call it off (or push over his reraise, depeding on his sizing). But TT seems a little to weak to do this, unless you are very confident that he's incredibly light here.
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