A♣K♥ Facing Two All-Ins, what do you do here?

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DECISION POINT:
In a low stakes buy-in Tournament with a fast structure and blinds at 1,500/3,000 action folds to you in the Hijack with A♣K♥ and you make it 9,000. The Cutoff folds, the Button and Small Blind call, and the Big Blind folds. The SB checks the A♦9♥8♦ and you bet 20,000. The Button moves all-in for 55,000 and the Small Blind pushes for 101,000. Action is back on you with 88K behind, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are playing a live, low stakes buy-in tournament with a fast structure. About 75% of the field is still remaining in the tournament and the table we are sitting at has had a lot of very loose, aggressive play from all opponents.

We are dealt AcKh in the Hijack seat at a 7-handed table with 1,500/3,000 blinds and no ante. The first two players fold and we make a standard raise to 9,000 chips. Both the Button and the Small Blind call and everyone else folds.

The flop is Ad9h8d. This is a very coordinated board with us having top pair with top kicker and no diamond in our hand. The Small Blind checks and in this spot with a stack to pot ratio (SPR) of just over 3, our hand is very strong and often strong enough to get all-in with even at a table where players are not as loose and aggressive as at this current table. The main consideration on the flop is determining the best way for us to get the chips in the middle while maximizing our overall profits.

Given that this flop is quite coordinated and our opponents are both quite loose, it makes sense to bet a bit on the larger side. If we’re unlikely to fold at any point in this hand we should choose a size that charges draws appropriately while still getting maximum value when our opponents hold AQ/AJ/AT type hands or even TT/JJ type hands they’re just too stubborn to fold.

We need to pay attention to the Button’s stack size. If we were to bet over 27,500 and the Button moves all-in it would not be a full raise. At many poker rooms if the Small Blind then decided to call we would not have an option to reraise when action returned to us. We elect to bet 20,000, which is still under that threshold but enough to put our opponent’s to a meaningful decision while still maximizing value versus worse Ax type hands.

Continued below...

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To our surprise the Button moves all in for 55,000 and the Small Blind then moves all-in over the top of that for 101,000. The Button could easily be moving all-in with just about any made hand or reasonable draw. There is already a lot of money in the pot and if the Button believes they have any fold equity versus what could be perceived as a wide range from us in this spot, moving all in is quite reasonable with any hand that has equity. The Small Blind on the other hand, cannot really be purely bluffing. They always have to showdown their hand, so making a pure bluff or even an all-in move with a hand like 9x or 8x doesn’t seem likely here.

That being said, if Small Blind’s all-in gets us to fold they can successfully isolate the Button’s wide range of hands here getting a tremendous price, If we fold, the pot has 105,000 chips in it and the Small Blind has to risk 55,000 chips, getting nearly 2:1 on their money. This encourages the Small Blind to make this play with many Ax hands as well as semi-bluffs with big draws that have a lot of showdown equity.

Given our perceived wide hand range, our read on the table being quite loose and aggressive, the stack depth in relation to the size of the pot, the fast structure of this tournament, and overall strength of our hand this is a situation we simply cannot fold and expect to maximize our profit in these low stakes live tournaments.

Calling is the best play.

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