J♣J♦ Facing Two All-Ins, what do you do here?
DECISION POINT: You are in the late stages of a daily tournament with blinds at 1,500/3,000 and a 3,000 big blind ante. 18 players remain with only 11 getting paid. The UTG player, who you observe as tight, moves all-in. It folds to the Small Blind, who you observe to be a thinking player, and they reshove all-in. Action is on you in the Big Blind with JJ, what do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: We are playing in the mid to late stages of a daily tournament with 8 handed tables. There are 18 players left and 11 get paid. A player has recently busted out and the table is shorthanded with only 5 players at our table. The blinds are 1,500/3,000 with a 3,000 big blind ante and we are dealt J♣J♦ in the Big Blind.
The UTG player, who we have observed as playing on the tighter side, moves all-in for 36,000 chips (12BBs). It folds to the Small Blind who moves all-in for 144,000 (48BBs). We have a read on the Small Blind that they are aware of the UTG player’s narrower ranges and will adjust accordingly with more narrow ranges of their own. Normally we would be ecstatic to have Pocket Jacks this deep in a tournament with a chance to double. However, given the action that has already occurred, is it really worth calling with pocket Jacks here?
As a starting point we can run this through a simulator to see what we should do in a vacuum. The simulator says we should call with JJ+/AK with pocket Jacks showing an average profit of around 2 big blinds (or 6,000 chips) if our opponents were playing optimal ranges given their stacks and the point in the tournament.
In a vacuum we should call but we have other contributing factors to consider. We know that the UTG player is likely to be shoving a narrower than optimal range of hands and that the Small Blind is going to adjust but also shoving a narrower range of hands.
In the original simulation much of our profit with Jacks was coming from when the SB isolation shoved with hands like 77/88 which they would be much less likely to shove with against a more narrow range. Once we account for the narrower ranges Jacks fare much worse and become a fold.
As an additional note, often we may have a read that someone in the Small Blind’s position will flat with their bigger hands like AA/KK to encourage action. If our opponent does this and removes AA/KK from their shoving range Jacks actually become a better hand to call with.
With no opponent specific information we’re supposed to call here, but once we factor in our additional knowledge that our opponents have the ability to adjust their hand ranges accordingly we should fold.
Folding is the best play.
How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!
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