In SNGs it is crucial to understand what the most important factors are when approaching an all-in preflop. In this lesson you will see how to make your decision in these situations by learning the three steps you should follow when facing an all-in.
Playing preflop: calling and isolating all-ins
In this video you will learn how to calculate the equity needed to call an all-in how to make correct decisions against a given range , and how to chose between flat calling and isolating an all-in
By now you should have an idea on how to enter a pot which has been opened with a small raise or a limp. Sometimes though – especially in late stages of SNGs – it happens that a player acting before puts all or virtually all his chips in the middle. In such cases you can either fold, call the all-in, or – provided you have more chips – reraise in order to isolate the all-in player. It is important to understand what the most important factors when approaching a spot like this are.
In this lesson you will see how to make your decision in these situations by learning the three steps you should follow when facing an all-in. [wait few seconds] First step: calculating the chip equity that you need to call an all-in.
Take a look at the following example from a 9-man SNG with a typical payout structure. [click - this click is “dead”, without an action, but it needs to be done in order to jump to the next slide] The middle position player moves all-in for 2000. You are on the button and are contemplating upon a call. You always need to start with a chip equity based calculation. To do that, you need to divide the amount that you need to invest in the call by the size of the pot including your call – which is the same as the current pot size plus your investment. If the hand you are holding has any more equity against the pusher’s range, then in the long run, assuming players behind you always fold, you are guaranteed to win chips on the call. However, the above calculation does not take into account the possibility that a third player might decide to enter the pot as well, neither does it account for the implications of the ICM, which tend to influence the decision significantly. Take a look now at how to adjust for these factors.
Second step: adjusting for risk premium and over callers.
To allow for the effect of diminishing monetary value of chips, you need to simply add the estimated risk premium to the calculated chip equity needed. Of course, in game you might not be able to calculate it. It is therefore necessary to get a feel for what the risk premium might be in a certain spot or memorize the average risk premium in different stages of SNGs. Next thing you need to do is to adjust for the possibility that one or more of the players behind you calls as well. This is not an exact science, and depends on several factors, like the number of people behind, their stacks, risk premium and player tendencies. Generally you need to call slightly tighter than you otherwise would if you were closing the action. To allow for that in your calculation, it is advisable to add an arbitrary adjustment of 0.5% per each player left to act to the previously calculated equity threshold. In most cases, an adjustment of a similar size will be sufficiently prudent. To continue with the example, take a look at the exact numbers. As you remember, your chip equity needed here equals 44.2%. Your risk premium in this spot is around 5.5%. And finally, there are two players behind, so according to the guidelines set out above you should add 0.5% per each, which leads to the final result of 50.7% equity needed to call an all-in.
Third step: assigning a range
One of the last things that you need to do is to assign the pusher a range that he is likely to go all-in with. It may be done by taking the range according to the pushing charts, or simply by taking the range that you would play at his position, and then adjusting if necessary, if a player in question is significantly tighter or looser than the average player when it comes to pushing. In this example it is assumed that your opponent pushes with the range of around top 17% hands. The very last step is to compare the equity of the hand you hold against the range of hands that you assigned to the villain, with the calculated equity threshold warranting a profitable call. If your equity is better than the threshold, you should call or reraise. Otherwise, you should fold. In the recurring example, the hands marked red have more than 50.7% equity against the estimated pushing range. You should call if you hold one of these hands, otherwise you should fold.
Take a look now at how to make the decision between calling and isolating an all-in. If a call already commits you to the pot, it makes no difference whether you call the previous all-in or just go all-in yourself. However, it may happen that in a given spot calling an all-in does not commit you to the pot at all, or only commits you against certain - shorter stacked - opponents. This can be the case if the effective stack between you and the players behind you is significantly larger than the all-in stack. In such cases, the best solution is to flat call with the hands that you can call profitably against the all-in player, but would rather fold to further action from a deepstacked player. To balance these hands, you need to flat call with the top of your range as well. This way, a skilled opponent cannot exploit your game plan, as your call will not give away the strength of your hand. In general, you should end up flat calling with all of your continuation range and deciding whether to call or fold after you get raised.
You can make an exception for situations when your opponent is most likely to call or reraise your potential isolation tighter, than he would go all-in if you just flat called. Such spots may happen quite often under high risk premium circumstances, like on the bubble. In those spots you might be better off just isolating with hands which are good enough to play for stacks with a deepstacked player behind, but can benefit from discouraging action from likely coinflips more than from encouraging worse hands to enter the pot.
In this video you have learned the following: You need to calculate the required equity taking into account pot odds, risk premium, and over call possibility. You need to assign the villain a range and check the equity of your hand against that range. As a default, flat calling an all-in is better than reraising if it helps to avoid commitment.