This was a hand that was played earlier this week in a $100 bounty tournament at the Atlantic City Golden Nugget. There were around 50 players total, and we were down to nine-handed play at the final table. Six places were being paid. There had not yet been any discussion of any sort of chop or of paying the bubble. I had collected three bounties, and the nine of us had agreed to each keep our own bounty. So I was basically freerolling the tournament at that point. With the blinds at 4000/8000 with a 1000 ante, I have exactly 100K when we start this hand. That was good enough to be seventh, I think, possibly sixth.
I am UTG. I look down at AKo. So I shove in the rest of my stack.
Player two seats to my left calls all-in for less.
Player two seats to his left also calls all-in for less.
I am not too happy to be three-handed at this point, but I got a whole lot more unhappy when the button, who happened to be the biggest stack at the table called as well.
The first caller had pocket tens. The second caller had AK also. And the button had AA, of course. So now I need both the remaining kings, or some sort of convoluted straight draw to even chop the pot.
We got a queen on the flop. One of the kings came on the turn. But the river was a brick. The aces held, and three of us were sent to the rail.
Had I been last to act, I'd have been able to have folded the AK there without much regret. Given the ICM implications, I'd have folded, I think, to any shove ahead of me.
So my question is, did I just get really unlucky with the timing of that distribution of cards, or is there any way I can justify not playing the AK UTG? In my mind, the only way to play it with that stack was to shove it. Was that wrong?
That was the second time in the last month I have finished seventh in a tournament that paid six places. Just call me Bubble Boy.
I also wanted to ask your thoughts on the other players' action in this hand. Obviously, the big stack calling with aces is a no-brainer. I like to think I'd have folded the AK had I been in the second caller's seat. But would that have been the right play? And what about the guy with TT? We had not been on the table together very long, so I am not sure what he thought about my UTG shoving range. But I kind of think the right ICM play there would be to fold, as he was very close to my stack size. He wasn't much more desperate than me, still had ten big blinds, and didn't really have anything invested at that point.
Glad this hand popped back up. This is why tournaments are endlessly interesting to me. I think many, many players would see AK off and having only a stack as an auto-shove/all in call from basically any of these positions and would not even think about ICM implications. Even when you think about ICM it's really a challenging decision if you image AK being held by any of the 3 people who acted after you (one of who actually had it).
First of all, in short, not much need to discuss your decision, even nearing the bubble, if you're doing anything else with AKo UTG with 12BBs but shoving, you're doing the wrong thing. Maximal pressure on everyone else is what you want, and hard to believe if you went 2.5x that you are folding to a raise, unless perhaps what just happened - 3 all ins after you - did. At that point you know 1 or 2 big pairs and then also sharing cards removing outs against the pairs. But 95% of the time you are not getting 2 or more all ins behind you in this scenario so in most cases your stack is going on no matter what.
Also in short, if either of the blinds had larger stacks than you did (I assume at least had to) not sure why the button is flat calling with AA. Minor point but even AA already facing 3 other hands wants to make sure no more hands enter the pot. Obviously with the hands that everyone had, the AA was a big favorite against all 3 hands combined, something around 75% equity, but facing 3 pairs for example, the AA would be more like a coin flip. So I would not want a blind with 55 decided to make an odd set mining call.
I think the driving factor for the 10-10 and other AKo is their stack size smaller than you means they are pretty desperate while holding strong hands. Even if he puts you on a pretty strong range, say 77 to AA, AKo, AQo. AJs to AKs, and KQs, he'd be a coin flip. Maybe the ICM implications would tilt it to fold, especially with so many players yet to act, but if his stack is small enough maybe if he more than doubles up that would improve the EV that it is worth the coin flip situation. If your are playing a wider but reasonable range with a UTG shove (e.g., all pairs, more Broadway combos) then the 10-10 is get closer to 60% equity heads up. But yeah with players behind he has to have some concern that will get lowered in a 3-way or more pot. But throw in the fact that he is only 3 hands from the BB hitting him which if he passes through the blinds is going to further weaken the impact of his stack for fold equity on a future shove (do you recall about how big his stack was?). Basically, he's in a lousy position and I'm sure hates the call, and really hates it even more than you when he sees calls behind.
The other AK? Not sure how many people fold that in that situation and if his stack is very small maybe there are not a lot of options. However, if he puts you on a tight range (like the initial tight range above), and the first caller on an even tighter range, then his equity even considering just the 3 of you (ignoring the potential of the players behind) is below 30%. Even if he gives you and the caller much wider ranges he only gets up to 33% or so. And all that ignores lowering that a bit in the rare cases one of the players left to act wakes up with AA or KK. Given all that and then ICM implications it is likely a tough but correct lay down.
We've all had our bubble boy stretches! I think that is about the worst feeling for a tournament player. Rather just get felted a couple hours in and go home!
Pgearan, thanks for your thoughts on this. I may have mis-spoke on the action by the player on the button. I said that he called, but in actuality, I think he shoved, specifically because of your point about the blinds. I just meant that he closed the action, having all of us covered. As for the stack sizes, I think the other three of us were all close, maybe two to three big blinds separating the three of us. I think I was biggest, followed by TT and then the other AK.
You basically came up with he same thought I had about the TT and the other AK. I think if I put myself in their position, I also call with the TT. But I hope I'd fold the AK with two shovers already in and three players left to act.
I tend to think that when people want to fold AK under 20BB, its because they know the results of the hand. The UtG shove seems obvious, we can all easily agree on that w/12-13 BB? (You could make an argument to induce with a min raise, but that is in the noise and table dependent.)
When I see this shove by UTG, I am thinking ranges of 55+, AK, AQ, MAYBE a steal with AJs or KQs (I have seen worse here too). The next all-in after, I put on a decent pair range 77+ or AK/AQ. (If I am the button, I can put the Third all in I put on a slightly wider range, choosing to include JTs, 98s, but I digress.) So now as the third player in our story, your thinking would honestly be Folding AK with LESS than 12 BB? Seems results oriented. Sometimes the cards come out this way, but you have to play against the holding RANGES, not the resulting revealed cards. I'll run this through flopzilla later, but I'll bet that second AK is a shove.
Columbo, you might be the first person who ever thought I was too tight.
I see what you are saying there, and you are probably right. I definitely agree if my only objective is winning the tournament. I have a hand that could easily win a monster pot, and I am bordering on being out of contention. Winning that hand could make my whole tournament. My only motivation to fold would be the ICM considerations. At that point, the tournament was scheduled to pay six players. These tournaments almost always get chopped early, and they almost always pay the bubble, sometimes a double bubble. So with two stacks in and three players left to act, I have to weigh the potential win, and my chances of getting it by being the third guy in, against the chances of getting into the money by just sitting on my hands. As played, the third guy in busted with the other two of us, and the remaining six players saved themselves the customary bubble baiting collection. But if he folds, he most likely gets at least his money back for the tournament.
I suspect it would have been hard for me to fold in his shoes though, as you said. But I'd have at least given it some thought. He may well have done that too, however.
Love poker players! 4 standard ship spots and we have folks writing essays about it. Haha
AK with 12 bigs is a dream come true. Ship it. Sick beat.
On to the next one.