3♠3♥ Near the Money Bubble, what do you here?

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DECISION POINT:
In a Tournament 2 players away from the money bubble with blinds at 4,000/8,000 the Cutoff limps and Small Blind completes. With 3♠3♥ in the Big Blind and 9BB back the action is on you. What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: There are 73 players left in this tournament and 71 of them make day 2 and cash. This is important because normally we would be happy to shove 10 big blinds over a late position limper and the Small Blind with any pocket pair and try and accumulate chips, but this is a unique situation where the ICM pressure matters.

We always want to factor opportunity cost into our decisions. While we don’t want to just blindly fold into the money every time, any decision we make on the bubble for our tournament life should be with the idea in mind that when it works, it significantly enhances our chances of making a deep run in the tournament.

Continued below…

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Since we are in the Big Blind we can always check, guarantee we see a flop, and the 1 in 8 times we flop a set can happily play for remaining stacks. Alternatively we can shove, and when everyone folds we will go to 104k (13 big blinds) and when they don’t we play a ~175k (~22 BB) pot where we likely, at best, have around 50% equity. Picking up the dead money here really doesn’t do a lot to enhance our chances of making a deep run in the tournament while the downside of shoving this close to the money bubble is pretty catastrophic.

If we had some sort of player specific information that the late position player was capable of limp/folding a wide range here, we could definitely make an exploitative adjustment and start shoving this hand to pick up the dead money. Without that information though the risk is just too great for the reward offered in this spot.

Checking is the best play.

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


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