Friday, September 16, 2011

Unexpected shove

It's a Bodog SNG 10-seat single-table tournament, with the standard 3-place payout structure (50%/30%/20%). We're down to three-handed, and I'm in the big blind with a stack of 5935 when the hand starts. Small blind is the short stack with 1320. Button is the big stack with 7745. We all post antes of 25, and the blinds are 100/200, making the pot 375 before the cards are dealt. Button now has 7720, small blind has 1195, and I have 5710 left. We have been playing at this level for quite a while, and though I haven't been watching the clock, I expect the blinds to go up to 200/400 (still with 25 ante) after this hand or maybe the next.

Button open-shoves, SB folds. I have Ad-Kc.

What should I do?

The most obvious consideration is that SB is likely to go out soon. He has only six big blinds left now, and will have only three if the level jumps next hand. Moreover, he's by far the worst player here. When we first got into the money, he had luckboxed his way to about 10,000 in chips, compared to about 2500 for both me and the other player. He and I have picked away at him little by little, so that the SB now has almost nothing left.

The button is comparable in skill to me, though somewhat more reluctant to play after the flop than he should be. I've been able to steal more than my fair share of pots because of his timidity. He has not opened with a shove since we got into the money, so it's an extremely unusual move for him. He's a conservative player, probably a little too conservative. If he bluffs, it's a meek, one-barrel affair, then he shuts down. He has done lots of limping since we got to three-handed--including once with Q-Q--only occasionally raised, never shoved pre-flop.

I don't think he would do this with A-A, K-K, or Q-Q. He would instead open for a more normal-sized raise. I also don't think he would do this with a small pair. Furthermore, I can't see him doing this with the classic "trouble hands," such as K-Q, K-J, etc. Finally, I rather doubt that he would do this with A-K. His pattern would be more towards a standard opening raise, then play straightforwardly after the flop with a bet if he hit, giving up if he missed.

It has taken us three levels to whittle our former big stack down to where he is (the first eliminations went unusually rapidly in this game), so I've had more time than usual to watch these guys play short-handed. On that basis, I'm reasonably confident that the button's range here can be limited to a pocket pair between 7-7 (maybe as low as 6-6) and J-J.

Which means that if I call, I will be a slight underdog, but basically close to a 50/50 proposition to double up. If I call and win, I'll have 11,995, or 80% of the chips in play. If I call and lose, I'm out in third place. If I fold, I'll still have my 5710, which is 38% of the chips, with a near lock on at least second-place money and a decent chance of taking first.

What's the right play?

I'll give you about 24 hours, then post what I did.


matt tag said...

I fold, given your range. No need to flip a coin here for third, when it seems like you're over 50% to get to second.

I can run it thru SitNGo Wizard after work if you want.

Rakewell said...

Sure, I'd be curious what it says.

Eddie said...

This is a classic ICM situation. To start the hand, the ICM equity of each player is (But/SB/BB):
If you fold, the equity is:
If you call and win, your equity is:
If you call and lose, your equity is:

For this to be a profitable call, the % equity change for a call has to be greater than % equity change of your fold. You lose .2% by folding. Pretty insignificant. You lose 16.48% by calling and losing, and gain only 9.1% by calling and winning. Therefore, you need to be winning 64% (16.48/16.48+9.1) against his range to increase your equity.

You need a lot of dominated hands in his range (Ax, Kx) to win 60%+, so you've got an easy fold on your hands.

Anonymous said...

I know you called and won, no place for the timid in this world.

Josie said...

Tough one. You just have to fold it. It's the smart thing to do. Why risk so many chips if you think it's a coin flip.

ASG said...

I'm not even close to an ICM expert but if you call and win your coinflip, you're almost a lock to win the 50%. If you lose, you win 20%. The blinds are about to go up to a level that skill is becoming less and less of a factor. I'd take it as a 10 to win 30 situation and make the call.

Anonymous said...

I would fold then let the blinds and antes eat up the short stack so I get at least second place.

Hugo Justice said...

Man this is good. I mean I'm obviously over thinking it, but I wouldn't be totally shocked at a fold here. You set up the action and necessary information towards that decision anyway. Maybe if I were on TV, I'd insta-call and take the shades off screaming ONE TIME. But until that fantasy comes true, I'm folding this a lot.

Since it's 3-handed I can see why everyone in the 2p2 world is shouting CALL YOU IDIOT!

But being the nitty old man (27) I am, I can definitely see a fold here. Maybe one out of ten times =)

Anonymous said...

Call he has AJ, You win the hand you win the tourney! Let's Gamble with an edge.

Anonymous said...

given your read, It's a must call, your a flip to double and most likely win the tourny...Piker

SonataNo8 said...

I think 3 handed you've narrowed his range down a little too much. I don't think I could lay down AK there. It's an interesting spot though, I'm going to do some math on it.

Glenn said...

Eddie's comment above hit it on the head. ICM says this is a clear fold. Interestingly, before reading Eddie's comment I ran it through an ICM calculator and got almost the same numbers (my calculator said you needed 63.25% equity. In order to get that much equity with AKos then in addition to the pairs you have in his range, V also needs to have Aces down to A8 in his range along with KQ and KJ.

Memphis MOJO said...

Easy fold, not even close. You can win on skill, so what if folding is weak tight?

matt tag said...

SitNGo Wizard says this a clear-cut fold - you would call with JJ-AA only.

Anonymous said...

ICM is for losers!!!!!...go with the read...Piker

DisRuptive1 said...

I'd say call. The way you're describing it, you'll have a 50/50 chance of winning vs. losing.

50% of the time you'll win and you'll have 80% of all the chips on the board. This averages out in the long run to 40% of the chips in play by calling.

If you fold, you said you would have around 30% of the chips in play. Calling gives you 40% of the chips in play. Therefore, it is better to call and average 40% of the chips in play rather than fold and have 30% of the chips in play.

At least that's how I would view it.