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Build Big Stack or Preserve Solid Position - Dilemma in Double Stack event

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  • Build Big Stack or Preserve Solid Position - Dilemma in Double Stack event

    So, the result is obvious... but my real question is relative balance and value of opportunities to get a very large stack vs preserving stack for better spots.

    Scenario... 3rd 60 min level on Day 3 of tournament; ten levels scheduled... about 300 remaining of 6000; you have 40BB stack, 20% above average at that time. You're well into the money, nearly 3x buy in, but really big money (10x buy in +) prob won’t be reached until Day 4. At your table, you’re #2 in chips w ~1.2m, blinds are 15k/20k/30k. Big stack is 1.4m.

    Your image is maybe tightish, but solid; you’ve tangled with big stack(s) before and come out ahead, steadily chipping up today from 465k
    youve not had to show down but once... all others you’ve reraised or bet and taken it down

    Hero is UTG w AKo... makes standard for table raise of 65k
    UTG+1 makes it 155k (A solid LAG) ... hasn’t gotten out of line; also hasn’t shown down, but has chipped up to 600-700k
    Big Stack shoves All-in (also good, young, Asian LAG) - comment recently heard from other observer was that he had raised aggressively but not been seen to get out of line when moving all-in

    What is your action, call or fold?

    some of my thoughts... what’s going thru my head in 3-4 min tank...
    UTG+1 is very strong; if I call, I expect him to also call (his range, I thought was JJ+/AQs+
    Big Stack could be isolating... definitely good enough to do so, so range could include middle pairs, 99+;
    I have 40BB, I’ve been playing well, preserving chips is high value... I’ll have time to find opportunities that are better than this
    But This is rare, clear opportunity to get a 3m chip stack, which would probably be top 10-20 at the time
    I am blocking AA and KK, but I expect at least one of them has that or at least AK; lowest end of combined range is AQs and TT
    I had already decided to shove on UTG+1m when Big Stack raises

    again, the reason I ask is that I am trying to learn about balance between preservation and building big stack... which may be different for a Pro vs for a non-pro like myself... and see where my thinking is wrong

  • #2
    Wow that is a long tank. I mucked in my mind after about 3 seconds

    UTG+1 started the hand with about 20BB or so. When he raises what should
    be a strong UTG open I don't think he is ever folding and likely has a very
    strong hand. Maybe TT+ AQs+ AQo+

    If the big stack plays at all close to reasonably well he should also recognize
    that you are strong and the short stack is strong so what is he willing to risk
    40BB with? He is strong too or a maniac.QQ+ AK?

    Easy fold for me with 40BB. I think we also have to consider that not only do
    we have A K blockers but in this scenario it's also highly likely they are
    holding some of our outs which would be really bad.

    Edit, I just read your last line so you aren't looking for any advice from me
    I am nowhere near a Pro.
    Last edited by kkep; 06-18-2019, 06:46 AM.


    • #3
      This amateur is folding... Too likely that one of the opponents has a pair and the other has my outs.


      • #4
        After crunching the numbers, I think this is just a fold baring a few factors. Let me show my work.

        I'm giving UTG1 a range of KQo, AJo+, AQs+ and TT+ (One minor point about player types, "solid LAG" "hasn’t gotten out of line" seem at odds to me. If you haven't seen him get out of line, how loose can he be?)

        I'm giving Big Stack (what position is he in by the way? It doesn't make a huge difference since people 4 bet bluff so rarely but it does matter a little) a range of AKo+ QQ+ and A4o as a bluff.

        Factor 1: how often do you expect UTG1 to call? If you can look at him and tell that he's sickened he got shoved on and is likely to fold, that makes a difference.

        If you expect to get it in against both players, you're getting 29.6% equity. You have to call 1,135,000 to win ~3,115,000. You need 36% equity, so this is a clear fold.

        If you expect UTG1 to fold, you have to call 1,135,000 to win ~2,620,000. You need 43% equity. If the big stack actually has that bluff in his range you're getting the right price.

        Factor 2: how often do you expect the Big Stack to be cold 4 bet bluffing?

        The cold 4 bet bluff is really rare. Based on your reads that he's generally had it when he went all-in, I don't think I could call off my whole stack here.


        • BruceO
          BruceO commented
          Editing a comment
          Definitely expected a call... 80-90%
          Big Stack is capable of a bluff, but less than 10%, because UTG+1 was good player and he has to expect a call there... so may be isolating, doesn’t need AA/KK...

      • #5
        You know what my view was on this when you presented the situation: clear-cut fold, though others here have done a better job articulating what I believed.


        • #6
          If I am reading this right UTG1 has 20-23 bb remaining when the hand starts and is 3-betting your UTG open. Is that correct?

          You label this player as a Solid LAG. I can't see any Solid LAG's 3-betting an UTG labeled as "tightish" with anything but a top 2.5% hand that they intend to call off. And 2.5% may be on the loose side.

          You also label the "big stack" as a good player who has not seen to get out of line when moving all in. IF he is a good player he also is aware of the stack sizes and images, meaning his likelihood of isolating with a middling pair type of hand is very unlikely because he should know that the opener from UTG is "tightish" and the UTG1 player should be very strong here given they dynamics. With that being said, giving him middling pairs is a best case scenario for you. Most good players are not doing this with middling pairs unless he loves to gamble.

          Now, if actual reads are different , then things change. But if both of these players know what they are doing you are dealing with some very strong ranges here.

          RealJPB already broke down the numbers involved above, so no need to go over those again.

          I would range UTG1 as having something along the lines of KK+, AKo; Weights: AQs:50%, AKo:50%

          If the other villain is a good player he may see your tight tendencies and expect you to fold a very large percentage of your opening range and use his stack depth to his advantage. Even with that being said I would conservatively range him as TT+, AQs+, AKo

          Harrington's law of bluffing said there is at least a 10% chance of bluffs in a given spot so I usually take the number of combos and add a combo of hand to equal 10%. So in this case equities look like:

          Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 2.47.27 PM.png Views:	0 Size:	1.23 MB ID:	19915
          Last edited by JredA; 06-18-2019, 02:54 PM.


          • JredA
            JredA commented
            Editing a comment
            Now I would also do this same kind of review for wider ranges and label it the "best case scenario". Then compare what kind of cost you are getting to decide whats the best play given the situation.

          • BruceO
            BruceO commented
            Editing a comment
            I prob use “solid” inaccurately... I say solid LAG because he was active, mixing it up; making it difficult for others...

        • #7
          As far as your question goes in regards to building a stack vs stack preservation....

          I think many get this concept confused. They assume building a stack means taking unnecessary risks in big spots or making massive bluffs, etc. Perhaps it is what they read online or see on TV, but I think this concept gets very misunderstood.

          What should always be remembered though is that there are absolutely times in tournaments where we want to take risks. However, they need to be calculated risks when we have a slight edge. When we have a stack we can push these edges further and apply pressure to those who do not have a stack. One of the edges is having a big stack and being able to apply pressure and put the decision for a tournament life on other players.

          But when we don't have this type of stack and we are put to the test ourselves, we have to revert to the hand we have vs the range we are against and factor in the price we are getting. On top of that we need to consider other dynamics, bubble, ICM, etc, etc.

          In your situation you do not have a large stack. And we are the one being put to a test. Even though you call it "big stacks" it is only 40bb. And there are probably others at your table that have similar stacks and one all in will greatly change the dynamics.

          So we have to revert to figuring out how our hand stacks up against the ranges we are against, what price we are getting and whether or not we are getting a good price to call.

          If we are not getting a good price or do not expect to get a good price to call in the given situation, then shoving our chips in the middle should not be considered building a stack. It called getting it in bad.

          And folding should not be considered stack preservation. Its simply laying the hand down when we are behind.
          Last edited by JredA; 06-18-2019, 02:36 PM.


          • BruceO
            BruceO commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks, helpful... what I was thinking of was comparative probability of making it deep and building stack... if I have (I thought at the time) 30-35% equity, is there a higher prob or equal that I get there by waiting for better spot.

            I think, sometimes, that a Pro should be playing the numbers, but for an amateur, taking a few more risks for a big stack may be appropriate.

        • #8
          with less than 40 BB effectively blocking AA and KK playing to win I just go allin here really

          I really dont care

          if that helps I have watched a ton of sunday million final tables and the phase before by drinking coffee in the morning before going to work

          here you are not on ft but you are pretty muc somewhat on the phase before

          guess almost every pro would go allin here

          you are already deep itm , you want to win this , so take down the tourney or at least try hard to
          Last edited by Guido; 06-18-2019, 03:04 PM.


          • BruceO
            BruceO commented
            Editing a comment
            That’s the question and the thinking on the opposite side, for sure, Guido.. that the opp to build big stack is worth it, to try to go very deep... so the question ALSO is, whether having 3m in chips (100bb) at level 3 / day 3 would greatly increase chances of going deep (final 3 tables)?

            I think that’s also questionable...

            BTW, a friend of mine knows Josh Aria, who called it an easy fold for him... but would he really?

            Thx for input

          • JredA
            JredA commented
            Editing a comment
            I don't see many "pro's" taking this spot.

            Why would a pro get it in behind in a less than marginal spot with all his chips committed when he has a 40bb stack and facing a field full of soft recreational players?

            They have such an advantage over this field jamming here would be very -EV.

        • #9
          Thanks gentlemen... I folded, of course, otherwise I wouldn’t have asked.

          In answer to question, I did look at UTG+1 and I expected him to call for near certainty... could my call affect his decision? Yes, but I expected a call, and, as it turned out... (and I called him big stack because that’s the way he started the day, with about 2m (200bb) when I started with 465k)

          UTG+1 was happy to call with KK and Big(gest) Stack (UTG+3) turned over TT

          and, of course, an A came in the window and held up...

          of some interest, the former big stack was not having a good day; we were both moved to a table later and I actually knocked him out when he was down to 350k short, short stack.

          appreciate the insights... while I’ve final tabled tourneys with 300-400, this was deepest I’ve gone in a big event and it was not an easy lay down;

          and, unfortunately, I went seriously card dead immediately after... but had a great time


          • JredA
            JredA commented
            Editing a comment
            IMO, you made the right fold.

            You just happened to get a flop that allowed you to win the hand the roughly 20% of the time we estimated. 80% of the time you are collecting your things and heading to the door in this spot.

        • #10
          A lot has been said already, bit generally my rule of thumb is that if I have more than around 50BB then my stack is only going in preflop with AX as the last aggressor with fold equity. 40BB makes it a little trickier, but I'm still leaning fold.
          Last edited by reeeeeeper; 06-20-2019, 10:04 AM.


          • #11
            What I find really interesting with this hand, holding and stack size is the difference in attitude / thought process between mostly live players and mostly online players. I'm in the mostly online camp and with 40bb and AK I am really struggling to find a fold in this spot. I'm definitely not folding with 30bb or less.

            The one thing that might make me hesitate is the 3bet raise (rather than shove) from the UTG1 player - that screams strength that wants action. But, if he is a 'good' player than he does have some 3bet folds from that stack size.

            Interesting spot for sure. I think with this stack and action I'm calling off with JJ+ and AK, folding 99 and AQ defo, AQs and TT real headache!


            • Guido
              Guido commented
              Editing a comment
              AQs and TT clear fold to me

            • BruceO
              BruceO commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes, that's clearly a distinction... and with 30bb or less, i definitely wouldn't have been folding either. With 40bb, I thought I'd find a better, +EV spot. It was mainly the fact that i was certain first person would call too, so i'd be facing TWO people rather than one.

              Either ONE was a clear call to me, though I might not be excited about it.

              I'm going to relive this one for a long time; I can count on one half of one hand the times i've folded AKo pre-flop previously.