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Push or Fold in Heads-up
1.1. IntroductionIn this article
- Pushing strong hands which have low playability
- 4 different pushing charts
Let's examine the following situation:
Hero finally reached the heads-up stage of an MTT after several hours of hard work. He is already assured a sizable amount of prize money, but would win a lot more as the winner. This makes Hero nervous and desperate to avoid making a mistake, whether it's by pressing the wrong button in an online game, or making the wrong decision on a real-life table.
Hero sits in the small blind and receives A7. The blinds are at 5,000/10,000. Hero has 260,000 in chips. His opponent Villain is an experienced player with a big bag of tricks, and a similarly-sized stack of 250,000.
What to do?
Hero perceives his hand as being strong, but is afraid of his opponent holding a stronger ace or pocket pair. Not wanting to risk his whole stack, he raises to 40,000, ready to fold after a re-raise all-in. His opponent only calls, though, and the flop comes with T J 9. Not really what he was hoping for. Villain checks, Hero makes a CB of 50,000, and Villain pushes all-in. Hero folds without a second thought.
His situation is now considerably worse (170,000 to 340,000) and his experienced opponent can put him under pressure even better now. Hero frets over the raise. Would a push have been a better choice after all? As we will see later: Yes. Even a push with a considerably larger actual stack would have been +EV, whereas the raise puts him into a difficult situation in the post-flop game should he not hit his ace.
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