8♥8♠ vs a Middle Position raise, what do you do here?

88 vs Middle Position Raise-optmzd.gif

DECISION POINT: You are in a Satellite Tournament with 140 players left and 26 seats awarded. The player in the MP1 seat raises preflop and it folds to you in the Big Blind with 8♥8♠ . Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: Whenever you play a satellite tournament, you should keep asking yourself a fundamental question: If I fold every hand from now on, how likely am I to win a seat?

In the beginning of a satellite, the answer to this question will be 0%. Later in a satellite with a sufficient stack, the answer can be almost 100%. The higher this estimate, the less incentive there is to play any hands and the tighter all of your hand ranges should be.

In this case, with 140 players left and 26 seats, you are not yet close to winning a seat. In fact, at this point your play should be very much like a regular tournament with a focus on accumulating chips and growing your stack.

Against a middle position raise, your 88 is around a coin flip against their likely range. Given the chips already in the pot relative to your stack, you should not fold. If you move all-in, you will be nearly always called by your opponent, since they will bet getting nearly 3-1 on a preflop call.

This is a good situation for a Stop-N-Go. You should call the 1900 additional chips, then move all-in for your remaining 5500 chips on every flop. You can create some fold equity postflop where none existed preflop, and cause some opponent hands to fold the flop that would have hit on the turn or river if you were all-in preflop. Overall this is a more profitable play than simply moving all-in preflop when you have little to no fold equity.

In this case, a Stop-N-Go (calling preflop, then moving all-in postflop) is the best play.

How would you play it?
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