8♦8♠ Facing a Preflop Raise, what do you do here?

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DECISION POINT: In a Tournament where blinds are 600/1,200 a Middle Position player limps, the Hijack raises, and the Cutoff calls. It folds to you in the Small Blind with 8♦8♠. Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are in the Small Blind with pocket eights. MP1 open limps first into the pot, then it is folded around to the Hijack who raises to 4,000. The Cutoff calls and the Button folds. Here we have just under 20 big blinds and a strong/mid pocket pair with a little over 12,000 chips in the pot. If we choose to shove here, the Hijack and/or Cutoff would have to call 17,000 more chips in a ~33,000 chip pot.

Typically if our opponents are getting 2:1 or greater on their money to call we can have the expectation that we are unlikely to generate a lot of fold equity.

In this spot there is a small chance that we can pick up the pot uncontested. The chances of getting a shove through increase slightly, given the Hijack likely has the strongest hand range and does have to worry about the Cutoff behind applying additional pressure.

Continued below...

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How do we fare if we are called? That depends on what our opponent’s range is. Given the Hijack raised over a Middle Position raiser we could assign a reasonable range of 66+, A9s+, A5s-A2s, KTs+, QTs+, JTs, ATo+, KTo+, QTo+, JTo. We’ve removed some of the smaller pairs and some of the suited aces to account for the fact Hijack may sometimes limp behind with these hands and other times raise with them.

Against this range we are just over 50%. Given our stack and the dead money in the pot, this seems like a reasonable risk/reward with our stack. If we had a read that our table was very soft and we could easily pick up chips in the future through low risk moves like preflop steals, then perhaps we could pass on this opportunity since it does knock us out of the tournament a little under 50% of the time.

However, absent those reads this seems like an excellent spot to take some risk with a high reward outcome that could propel us deep into the tournament.

Moving all-in is the best play.

What would you do here?
Share your answer in the comments below!


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