If you can't fold spots you have to shove in No Limit Poker Tounaments

There are times when your hand is too good to fold, but the stack sizes mandate you also can't just call. Here's one from a recent hand I played in one of my online poker games. It was a No Limit Texas Hold'Em tournament which I prefer to Omaha even if I've been playing a lot of Omaha recently.

The small blind was 600 the big blind was 1200. I was in the small blind with about 6000 behind. A player UTG who was fairly tight but with a stack size of about 8k stewed for a while and then called. A big stack who has a history of picking me off and basically because he has my number calls my shoves with any two cards and always gets there called.

The guy on the button took for a while in his timebank too then made the call. Both he and the early position player were pretty quick in making their decisions throughout the tournament so I took this to mean they had genuine decisions. The guy on the button might have contemplated a steal or wondered if he'd have the odds with any two cards.

Now with action to me I looked at suited AJ. I of course thought maybe a shove would just take down the pot and more than double me up and potentially triple me up if I got called and I won. Another factor in my head was the big blind had seized on limp pots recently by shoving his smallish stack (which had me covered). I'm not the type to slowplay a hand as weak as AJ even in heads up tournaments but I did see a possible avenue for success here.

If I just called the big blind might shove and I was willing to play his range for my entire stack. That would be a good plan, but he'd have to shove into a pot with four limpers including an UTG player and a massive stack that could afford the call. Also, he might see that my limp might have tied me to the pot, thus, his line of thinking, especially in light of his recent frequent shoves and table image, was that it would take a legitimate hand to make a play for the pot.

Argh, wish I had gone through that line of reasoning there. If I did it would have removed one of the reasons to not just play the hand straight forward. Sometimes poker is about keeping it siimple poker AJ suited isn't a great hand but in a limped pot it's probably not dominated by anybody, in fact, a hand like A10 to AceRag might feel compelled to have to look it up and AJ would be in a dominating position.

There with my stack size all I do going to see a flop is risk getting in trouble. Perhaps, the big stack that knocks me off comes over the top to isolate with all that weakness out there and protects me, perhaps UTG does the same. I have a coin-flip hand in a situation where I could be coinflipping with a ton of extra equity.

There was a slight fear I didn't have enough in my stack to get anyone out, so in that case I was just turning a hand that was somewhat marginal especially against four players an unlikely spot to make a stand. But we were near the bubble. Anyway, the shove is the right play there no matter the result.

Instead I called, the big blind quickly checked with his garbage and I made top pair when it came Jack high. I shoved, UTG flopped a set, and reshoved (maybe should have just called based on the stacks) and I was railbound. It's entirely likely he calls with his 88 preflop, if I shoved, and the same result happens but there was also the possibility had I played the hand normally he folds to the implied squeeze play pressure of the players behind him, and the image of tightness I had at that table.


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