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AK and deciding on flips in MTTs

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  • AK and deciding on flips in MTTs

    Hi all, first post here, I'm a recent subscriber to Poker Coaching premium and very excited to really get to work and studying things more rigorously and become a better player through the tournament master class.

    I have one particular question that is nagging me though, as I find I am ruining my tournaments on a regular basis by taking flips with AK (or perhaps lower pocket pairs).

    For example, I just found myself in this situation:

    Level 3 - Blinds 200/400
    UTG opens to 3bb with 32bb behind.
    It folds to me in the HJ with AKo with 90bb.
    Players behind me average around 30-35bb.
    I 3bet to 10bb and it folds back to UTG who jams for the remaining 32bb.

    I feel like this is an obvious race and being early and this deep, perhaps the possibility of losing 32bb is not so detrimental, but I've found myself many times ruining my stack in situations where I am presented with a flip. At the same time, I can't imagine flatting AK there, and raising when villain is only ~30bb deep means going all-in if villain is proceeding with the hand, or is anyone ever actually folding to a jam here?

    I'm wondering because I find I can spend hours on a tournament making reasonably good decisions only to have my stack devastated by one or two flips that go the wrong way, and at the same time I can't imagine any other play in spots like this. Is taking flips like this really just part of embracing the variance of MTTs?

    Many thanks in advance to any responses or advice, looking forward to the wisdom of the community here
    Last edited by wafflwaffl; 01-06-2021, 10:01 AM.

  • #2
    So, you never win a flip? Sometimes you will find you do this and you get on your way to building a bigstack. I think this is standard. 40bb charts argue for a call with AKo vs UTG and a 3bet with AKs, I kinda figured it was the other way round but it's close either way.
    At the point of your call the pot is:
    ($600 from the blinds, plus $1,200 from the open, plus your $4000 bet, plus his $2,800 call plus his $10,000 raise = $18,600.)
    You need to call 22BBs = 8,800 into 18,600
    So, that's 2.1:1

    I'd call getting 1.5:1 probably against any range
    Last edited by Bentley; 01-06-2021, 03:21 PM.


    • Bentley
      Bentley commented
      Editing a comment
      Really, can't see where?
      Both players put in 35BBs total = 70 BBs = 28,000 final pot

    • LondonImp
      LondonImp commented
      Editing a comment
      Perhaps we're interpreting the OP differently.

      When he states 'perhaps the possibility of losing 32bb' I took that to mean the villain's total stack was 32bb. Because otherwise the max additional loss would be 22bb once our 3! was taken into account. Unless he meant to say villain jammed 'for remaining 42bb'..?

      I guess this shows the importance of being crystal clear in hand descriptions.

    • wafflwaffl
      wafflwaffl commented
      Editing a comment
      Sorry for the confusion, I did mean 35bb total, I should have written 'the possibility of losing 35bb`

  • #3
    Even if they are a nit it is a call. It only gets better from here. Nothing in poker is 100% Pocket Aces lose 1 out of 5 times. If you consistently make the most profitable decision over the long run you will be a winner.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	flip.jpg Views:	0 Size:	487.1 KB ID:	45219
    Last edited by MOUSE85; 01-07-2021, 12:59 AM.


    • #4
      Although it can be a make or break point in a tournament, facing an all in is actually one of the simplest spots we can ever face in poker as it's just a simple maths problem.

      I am going to replicate Bentley 's solution but using percentages as I find them easier to understand and we can work easily with equilab using them.

      What are your pot odds?

      Pod odds = Your call / (pot + opponent's bet + your call)
      Pot odds = 22 / (10 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 0.5 + 29 + 22) [I am including an additional +1bb here to account for the ante which is almost always going to be present]
      Pot odds = 22 / 66.5
      Pot odds = 33%

      So we know that what hands we choose to call with need 33% against our opponent's range to break even.

      But we don't want to break even, we want to have a slight edge. So I'd an extra 2% to the value we need to make sure we are profiting against this opponent.

      We need 35% equity to make the call.

      What is our opponent's range?

      This is of course very subjective, but let's say it's something like this (using Equilab now):

      Click image for larger version

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      We can now use Equilab's 'Hand Range Calculator' to find out which hands have 35% or more equity against this range, and thus which hands we can call off with:

      Click image for larger version

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      You can experiment by changing the villain's range or the pot odds we need (or both) to see how the results change. If they are tighter or our odds are worse than naturally we will have to call off tighter and vice versa.

      Equilab is 100% free and there's no excuse for not using it.

      Obviously we can't use it whilst we're playing, but by putting in the practice away from the tables we can gain a much better, holistic understanding of the spots we do regularly face.

      Any questions on how to use it, just give me a shout.


      • #5
        Hi everyone, thank you for the responses it's very much appreciated and apologies for the delay in getting back.

        I definitely do try to study spots with various tools (flopzilla, equilab etc).

        Just to double check:

        Action is:

        Ante: 1
        UTG: 3
        HJ: 10
        SB: 0.5 (fold)
        BB: 1 (fold)
        UTG: +32bb jam


        So pot odds would be:

        (32 - 10) /(1 + 3 + 10 + 0.5 + 1 + 32 + (32 - 10)) = 22/69.5 = 0.316546763

        Or about 32% and adding a 2% edge, is 34%


        So mathematically, these flips are a clear +EV call. I think I am wondering about ignoring the math/ev in spots where ICM, bubbles or very deep stacks could become important (eg, if I were covered and opponent jams for 100bb (obviously unrealistic situation), then does this not become an obvious fold?)

        Say for example we give villain the insanely tight range of KK+, AKs, AKo, we still have the equity to call only because of the chop possibilities v AK - and while we block AA, KK, if we run into those we are in incredibly bad shape (6.5% and 29%) - I guess here then it also boils down to villain profile?

        Sorry for the wandering thoughts, I guess it also boils down to - how many bb should one risk going all-in w AK when fairly deep in a tourney


        As an aside, the Preflop+ Nash chart lists AKo as a barely profitable call for 30bb, HK v UTG jam:

        Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_3C6BE4294E4A-1.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	227.2 KB ID:	45290

        And I was a bit surprised to see the GTO chart recommend calling 43% of the time:

        Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.33.08 AM.png Views:	0 Size:	128.5 KB ID:	45291
        Last edited by wafflwaffl; 01-09-2021, 05:38 AM.


        • #6
          Originally posted by wafflwaffl View Post
          I am wondering about ignoring the math/ev in spots where ICM, bubbles or very deep stacks could become important (eg, if I were covered and opponent jams for 100bb (obviously unrealistic situation), then does this not become an obvious fold?
          The ~2% that we add to the break-even equity is known as our risk premium.

          This amount can be far larger once we take into account ICM spots.

          Here are some of my notes I took from the Tournament Masterclass: "I may require 46% to break even, but on the bubble this may increase to 53%. If there are numerous 1bb stacks this may be upwards of 75%!"

          So, it does not become immediately an "obvious" fold, but it may well do once all things have been considered.
          Last edited by LondonImp; 01-15-2021, 02:03 PM.


          • #7
            There is so much luck I wonder if skill isn't camouflage. Should you embrace flips? That are pros and cons.
            Last edited by Cal42628; 01-11-2021, 03:31 AM.


            • LondonImp
              LondonImp commented
              Editing a comment
              Huh? Not sure what you mean here mate.

          • #8
            I think it depends on where you are in the tournament. If there are payout implications, it is possible you wouldn't want to take a flip for that much of your stack. However, if it's earlier in the tourney, I would say you ought to be willing to put in a large chunk of your stack in any situation that gives you a 2-3 percent +ev cushion, which this clearly is.

            So what's a "large stack'? I would say that depends on what your stack will look like if you lose, and if you win, in relation to the blinds and other stacks.

            For example, say you have 100 BBs and everyone else at the table has 50-60 and you're facing a flip for 40 BBs. That's a different decision than when you have 100 BBs and everyone else also has 100 and you're facing a flip for 40 BBs.

            You have to ask yourself what would winning and losing do to the way you're going to play?


            • #9
              Once you 3 bet in that spot you have to be ready to call his shove.This should be an easy call as If you lose you still have 60bb left. It is an interesting spot though if you just call for pot control from a utg raiser. I 3 bet ak almost 100% of the time unless the pfr has very low pfr numbers. If he had 90bb it would make more sense for you to call but since you are much deeper a 3bet is the way to go.