Calling all-in in the late game: "I don't believe you!"
In many tournaments, you'll end up head-up with HUGE blinds. If your opponent is moving in a lot, you just can't wait for KK to call. How do you know what to call with against which opponents?
In this situation from a SNG (sit-and-go) last week, I got head-up and had been playing my very aggressive style, moving all-in quite a bit when first to act or after limpers. And this hand came up.
Seat 4: Blhazin (6,220)
Seat 9: mwfeldman (7,280)
mwfeldman posts the small blind of 250
Blhazin posts the big blind of 500
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to mwfeldman [Ac Qc]
mwfeldman raises to 7,280, and is all in
Blhazin has 15 seconds left to act
Blhazin: don't believe ya
Blhazin calls 5,720, and is all in
He didn't believe me, and called with Q2s. As it turns out, he was wrong. But the question is...does it matter that he doesn't believe me? Put yourself in his shoes. What hands would you call with here. And is there a correct
answer for when to call?
The good news is that the answer is yes, there is a correct answer. This isn't poker, really. It's just a little math problem, and it can be solved. First you need to ask yourself exactly how often I'd push there. Blhazin has 11.5x the BB, so I'm making quite a big push. What % of hands would i push there, and how often is Q2s going to be good against that range?
Of course...you can't do this calculation in your head. I'm not sure anyone can. But, let's be truthful, five years ago you probably didn't know that 88 was about 50/50 v AK preflop either, did you? Watching TV poker is essentially study, and you've internalized the idea of the coin flip and many other poker odds tips by watching TV, reading books and studying.
Ready for the answer? Here it is. You figure out what your equity in the tournament is right now. you have about 6k / 13.5k of the total chips, or about 44% of the chips. so 44% of the time you win (50% of the prize pool) and 56% of the time you win 2nd place (30% of the prize pool)
(.44*.50)+(.56*.30) = 38.8% equity in the prize pool.
Now you figure out how often you win against my range, and figure out your equity after winning against my range (nearly 100%, because you have most of the chips) and losing against my range (0%, because you're broke). Then you ask yourself this question: am I better off calling or folding?
Again: you can't do this calculation in the moment. Only by studying and playing will you learn to recognize these situations for what they are. Another piece of good news: You don't have to do the math by hand. The process of figuring out these equity numbers is called ICM (independent chip model), and there's software easily available that can help you to calculate these sorts of situations (which are VERY common in sngs). By doing this studying, you'll begin to get a feel for these situations, and you'll be able to make estimations of "what's enough" to make a call here against a maniac and "what's enough" against a tightwad.
Now, really, the answer:
If you think I'd push 50% of my hands: you should call 30% of the time (any pair, any ace, any king k8 or bigger, any suited king k5 or bigger, any queen QT or bigger, any suited queen q9 or bigger)
if you think I'd push 100% of the time, you should call 60% of the time (those hands plus ALL kings, all queens, most jacks and some T-hi hands).
So if you have his hand, Q2s , you should only call if you think I'm pushing 84% of the time.
Learn more about closing the deal in the endgame, ICM and more. PM me or visit my forum for NLHE tournament coaching.
More advice from Jojobinks (Matt Feldman): Poker Coaching by Jojobinks and Themightyjim2k