K♠Q♦ from the Small Blind, what do you do here?

KQ from the Small Blind-optimized.gif

You are in the money in a big field Tournament with weak competition. After several limpers, a late position player raises to 3 big blinds. Action folds to you in the Small Blind with K♠Q♦. What do you do?

PRO ANSWER: To determine the best course of action, lets assume that the limpers always fold and the Hijack raiser always calls our shove. We would then be risking 103k chips to win a total pot of 255k chips.

103/255 is just over 40%.

That means we want to have north of 40% equity to make this shove profitable from a chip EV standpoint.

After 3 players each limp for 8k, the Hijack raiser makes it 24k total (only 3 big blinds). We should generally be wary of assuming bet sizing tells without prior opponent info, however this tiny raise in such a multiway pot rarely indicates a big hand.

Most players would not raise this size with TT+, AK in this spot by default. This sizing often indicates a hand that wants to juice the pot but NOT thin the field. Hands like small pocket pairs and other speculative hands such as suited connectors and suited aces are very commonly played this way.

Continued below...

EP6-Number of Opponents 300x250.png

These factors indicate the Villain’s hand range is effectively capped here, which increases our equity quite a bit. Even if we think the Villain plays some big hands occasionally this way (say they play AA like this half of the time), we have close to 50% equity against their range. Our hand improves quite a bit when the Villain’s range is skewed towards weaker hands

Even if their range includes ALL big pocket pairs and AK, we still have around 42% equity when they have suited aces and other big cards in their range.

So, even under the assumption that Villain never folds preflop, this shove will be profitable. In addition, Villain might fold preflop some of the time, which helps us even further.

Shoving is the best play.

How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!