Q♥J♥ Facing a Preflop All-in, what do you do here?

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In a Tournament where blinds are 800/1,600 it folds to a Middle Position player who limps. The Hijack folds and you raise to 5,200 from the Cutoff with Q♥J♥. The Button folds, the Small Blind goes all-in, and both the Big Blind and MP2 fold. Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: In a Multi-Table Tournament with 800/1,600 blinds and a 20 chip ante we are dealt QJs in the Cutoff. The MP2 open limps and it folds to us. We could potentially limp behind and play QJs speculatively as a suited connector. Specifically in tournaments, picking up chips is at a premium and a preflop raise here gives us an opportunity to take the pot down preflop or potentially on the flop with a continuation bet. While calling behind is profitable, raising is a better play. We decide to isolate with a raise to 5,200.

It folds to the Small Blind who moves all in for 19,000 chips. All of the other players fold and it is back on us with a decision to make. At this point there is 27,560 in the pot and it is 13,800 more to call. This means we are getting almost exactly 2:1 pot odds. Preflop hand values in No-Limit Hold’em run close enough together that it is extremely rare for a hand to have less than 33% equity versus all but the narrowest of ranges. We also have a reasonably strong hand for this situation, although probably not the best hand at the moment.

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Even if our opponent has a fairly narrow range such as 88+, ATs+, KQs, AJo+, KQo we still have over 33% equity here. The final factors to evaluate are specific to this tournament. If calling in this spot would have a significant impact on our stack’s ability to accumulate chips in the rest of the tournament we could consider passing on this edge. For example, if we call and lose and our 25-30 BB stack is reduced to 10 BB stack, we would lose the ability to steal or reshove and must play push/fold poker.

In this situation, if we call and lose this hand our stack will be reduced from around 30 BBs to 20 BBs. While the impact of losing our stack is not insignificant, it is not enough to warrant passing up on a profitable call here.

Calling is the best play.

How would you play it?
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