If you want to continually make the money in multi table Sit n Go tournaments with large numbers of entrants, you need to play with one thing: control.
It is a favorite strategy (if you can call it that) of novice and reckless players to try and entice you into all-in situations. Sure, sometimes you may have an advantage over these players pre-flop, but many times you are just getting into a “race” for all your chips. If you want to consistently last until the final table, even in tournaments with 90 or 180 players, you need to stay away from these pre-flop all-ins unless you truly have a monster like
Now, don’t think I am advocating playing “scared” poker or playing ultra conservatively, but you need to choose your spots wisely and calling large bets pre-flop is not one of those spots. Many times you will be at a table with several loose, reckless, players who continually make huge raises with less than premium cards. K-6 off suit is a great hand for these guys. The bad thing is, sometimes, they will luck out and if you are not careful this can be bad for your poker mindset.
For example, here is a hand I played on Full Tilt the other night.
It was early in a 90 player Sit n Go and I had A-K in middle position and about 4100 in chips (after starting with 3000) The player under the gun had just lost most of his stack and went all in with 435 chips. Obviously, with Big Slick, I made the call. The Small Blind then went all-in with about $2200 more in chips.
What would you do in this situation? It seems like an easy call, and I would still say I made the right decision here, but it was a hand for a lot of chips. I don’t like that. All control in the hand that comes from position, being able to slow play, controlling the bet, is now gone. Remember this point, you simply get to sit and watch the cards.
In any case, I make the call for over 1/2 my chip stack and am elated to see the Small Blind turn over J-4 suited in clubs! Why you would ever re-raise all in with this hand is one mystery I will never solve, but he did. The short stacked player has A-7 off suit.
At this point, I am in pretty good shape right? Well, here is something many of you may not realize: I only will win this confrontation about 45% of the time!!! If you didn’t know this, consider making friends with an Odds Calculator, because it is important. Now, the suited J-4 will only win 35% of the time and the A-7 17% of the time, but regardless, 45% is not the odds I am looking for.
However, that is not the end of the story. With the short stack having so few chips, I am not really concerned with him. If you break the odds down further, to heads up between A-K and Jc-4c, the odds become better. I will win roughly 63% of the time and he will win 37%.
Are these good enough odds to justify putting at risk half my chip stack at risk? No, they really are not. I ideally want to have 4:1 odds to make a call this large pre-flop, and again, even then I will lose 1 in 5 times. So, if you analyze this hand through all the way, I did NOT make the right play in this instance.
Will I win more than I lose? Sure, and A-K is hard for many players to lay down. I am not perfect, I got caught up in the moment a bit, and truthfully, I put the Small Blind on something like A-Q or A-J. I never envisioned him going all-in with something as stupid as J-4 suited. I don’t mind admitting to a mistake at all, but come on, who could expect this guy to go all-in with this sort of hand? Anyway, bottom line is, as good as A-K may make you feel, it is not always the best hand to call an all-in with.
To further illustrate my point, the Flop came Js-6d-7h. The Turn was a 2s and the River a Td. My chip stack was crippled and Mr. J-4 suited doubled up.
Did he make a stupid play and luck out? Absolutely. Should I have shown more restraint and folded Big Slick? Probably. I am not willing to call it a horrible play, but it just goes to show you how calling big raises pre-flop can get you into trouble.
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