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[highlight thread] MTT Thinking: Calling all in spots

    • LuckyLukePS
      Joined: 28.08.2014 Posts: 190
      Looking through some threads in the tournament discussion section I find a trend of posts for spots which are actually calculable - namely pre-flop calls of all-in shoves, and decisions as to whether to 3bet shove ourselves. I'm just going to use one of these hands, chosen for its simplicity really as a good case study. Thanks to HardTilt for the hand!

      Originally posted by HardTilt
      Hey! I wonder what alternativs do I have? I am trying to not call all in preflop often. The player who shoves, I put him on a range of 77+ KJs+ ATs+ But almost something like KQ or AQ, I wasnt afraid of playing against a higher pocket pair. Do I want to be AI against his range? I am 34bb and vallian is about 19bb. losing a flip here would hurt my stack... anyways, Am I thinking close to right here? Is it an easy call/fold?

      Grabbed by Holdem Manager
      NL Holdem $1,000(BB) Replayer
      SB ($21,706)
      BB ($18,944)
      UTG ($18,890)
      UTG+1 ($47,113)
      UTG+2 ($34,258)
      MP1 ($9,826)
      Hero ($34,214)
      BTN ($13,254)

      Dealt to Hero 9:heart: 9:diamond:

      fold, fold, fold, fold, Hero raises to $2,000, fold, fold, BB raises to $18,844 (AI), Hero ??
      Calling spots:

      In this case we are facing an all-in and we have a simple pair of alternatives: call or fold. For this exact reason we should be able to solve this spot - all we need apart from the maths is the ability to put our opponent on a reasonable range. Ranging a villain is of course an imperfect science - but we can choose a reasonable range based on what info we have.

      The Maths:

      In this case Villain is 3bet shoving 18,844 chips, but since we have already put in 2,000, we have to call 16,844. The HH curiously does not mention antes, but as most games on Stars would have antes by this blind level I'm going to assume antes of 12.5%. In this case the money we stand to win totals 18,844 + blinds + antes + the bet I've already put in (2,000) = 18,844 + 500 (we don't add the BB since the player shoving is the BB) + 1,000 (125 ante x 8 players) + 2,000 = 22,344.

      So we are risking 16,844 to win 22,344, roughly 2:3. Most replayers will give us our exact calling odds, but in case we aren't using one we can derive it easily. We want to know our break-even point, how often do we need to win this hand to break even on the call? Essentially we want to know what proportion our calling amount is of the whole ratio. So we simply divide 16,844 by the total of the two figures. 16,844 / (16,844+22,344) = 42.98%, call it 43%.


      We don't want to make break even calls, as we're risking chips for no benefit. We want to have more than 43% equity. How much more will depend on the situation, principally on ICM considerations. Assuming minimal ICM (no bubble, no FT bubble type situations), we only have to consider the softness and structure of the tournament. If it's a really tough turbo full of regs, we should generally take any edge going, even a fraction of 1%. In a super soft tourney with a great structure, we may be able to pass up several %. Generally 2-3% will be plenty in most spots.

      Ranging villain

      Now we know our break even point and assuming we require an edge of 1-2% over break even, we just have to figure out our actual equity vs. villain's range. This will depend a lot on reads, and even if we're readless, on the assumptions we make about a random in this particular event and buy-in. In this hand villain is a random in a $0.25 tournament, so almost certainly a fish. Fish will tend not to 3bshove as much as they should, so I would put him on a tighter range than a regular. Still, Hero is in the CO and Villain in the BB, so he can still be reasonably wide.

      Let's put him on this fairly conservative range:

      This should give us a sort of worst case scenario for the calculation. Holdem Resources Calculator tells us that vs. this range 99 has 49.7% equity, more than enough to make a profitable call. We can also check what should be the weakest call we make against this range by fiddling around with the calculator. In this spot, if we desire an edge of say 1% over break even, it turns out we can call as wide as 77+, AJs+ AQo+. Versus many villains I think we could call off wider still, but this is a safe range vs. a fish who may not shove that often.

      What this helps us avoid:

      Courtesy of the great blog lifewithfacecards, this method of problem solving should allow us to be active enough facing 3bet shoves, without risking being a "donk trying to play LAG" :D


      What do you think of the range we give villain here? What range do you think we should give to a good regular here? What range do we think different villain types might flat call here in the BB? How much edge do you generally require over break even to make a call, ICM aside?

      Please feel free to post your own examples of this decision process. Of course, we can use modern software such as HRC to avoid having to do any manual calculations such as those above, but I find doing them from time to time greatly helps in game intutive decision making and the accuracy of our in game estimations.


      In my next thread I'll post a guide to figuring out how wide we ourselves should 3bet shove in different spots. Once that's up I'll link each of these to the other, since they are a natural pair.

      Until next time, good luck at the felt!
  • 4 replies
    • sherriffatman
      Joined: 30.04.2009 Posts: 275
      Poker Stars, $10 Buy-in (200/400 blinds, 40 ante) No Limit Hold'em Tournament, 9 Players
      Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker Software Suite.

      SB: 5,952 (14.9 bb)
      BB: 9,904 (24.8 bb)
      UTG+1: 8,947 (22.4 bb)
      UTG+2: 3,255 (8.1 bb)
      MP1: 4,930 (12.3 bb)
      MP2: 23,522 (58.8 bb)
      MP3: 4,960 (12.4 bb)
      Hero (CO): 23,408 (58.5 bb)
      BTN: 4,340 (10.9 bb)

      Preflop: Hero is CO with T A
      5 folds, Hero raises to 800, 2 folds, BB raises to 9,864 and is all-in, Hero folds

      2,160 pot
      BB mucked and won 2,160 (1,320 net)

      math: 9k to call - pot=11.2k so it's 9/20.2 or 0.45 = 45% required equity to make a profitable call

      ranging villain - 27/20/7 over just 44 hds but all his 3bs have been from the BB pos'n (4/15hds)
      meaning he has a 3b stat of 25% in this spot (3b vs stls), and he hasn't flatted an open in any pos'n as yet - ie they are probably wider in this spot than on average for 3bs

      so........ let's give them a 3b shv range somewhere in between these two figures, and err on the side of caution, say about 12.5% which is 55+,A5s+,A9o+,KTs+,KQo,QTs+,JTs and we plug these into equilab and get an equity of 45.21% with our ATo vs that range of 3bs - so a borderline call here, but a pretty std call if we can range them much wider, or if we held say AJo, which has 49%+ vs the same 3b shv range.

      this is from the storm on stars which is fairly soft, so I think we can just about justify an 'edge fold' here with our healthy stack-size, but it's close I think?
      - also worth noting that we are stealing thru 2 shortstacks, so the BB should really give us more credit for our btn open than usual, which may tighten their 3b range if they are a thinking player, but in contrast, they are also 3b shving 25BBs, so I think we can maybe cap their range a bit as well

      (any thoughts on ranges/conclusions welcomed, especially if you think my guesstimates are way out, either way)

      ps: I think the range given by Luke above is fine, and a 'decent reg' would probably have a 3b range of all pairs/ all suited aces/ A5o+/ all suited broadways,KJo+/ and maybe some hds like K9s,Q9s,J9s,T9s,98s,87s etc. depending on how wide the btn is stling
    • LuckyLukePS
      Joined: 28.08.2014 Posts: 190
      Hi Sherriff thanks for the hand!

      Actually it's 9064 to call to win 11624 (you didn't add antes), so you need 43.8% to break even.

      Interesting that he hasn't flatted as yet - with his stack flat would be optimal with a lot of holdings including some suited broadways. I'm generally snap calling ATo if he has <20bbs... I guess your analysis looks pretty reasonable - 25 bigs is a lot to rip here and should tighten up his range a fair bit. He probably rips all pairs but less of the suited broadways I'd suggest.

      Keep 'em coming guys!

      Best of luck
    • sherriffatman
      Joined: 30.04.2009 Posts: 275
      Thanks Luke - yeah, I included the antes, but rounded down to 9k to call, and pot-size of 11.2k just for simplicity, but is in reality 9064 into pot of 11224 or 44.7%, (45% in HEM re-player) as it was the BB that re-shoved, and their total stack was 9864 (incl the BB of 400) [ ie 9904 @ start of hd, before posting BB and ante of 40]
      (I think that's correct, anyway, I took a shortcut/'cheated', in the initial sum, by taking the call and pot-size amounts directly from the re-player, rather than doing the mental arithmetic) :f_biggrin:

      (interestingly, against a revised range of say: 22+,A2s+,A9o,KQs it's a clearer fold, as we only have 43.7% equity)
    • LuckyLukePS
      Joined: 28.08.2014 Posts: 190
      I stand corrected! :D