Q♥Q♣ vs Preflop All-In and a Call, what do you do here?

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Decision Point: In an online Tournament, there are 64 players left and 20 places get paid. The UTG player moves all-in and the Hijack calls. It folds around to you in the Big Blind with Q♥Q♣ and a total stack of over 37BB. Action is on you, what do you do here?

Pro Answer: There are 64 players left in this online tournament, with 20 places paid. At this 6-handed table, the player in the UTG seat moves all-in for just under 23 big blinds. The player next to act in the Hijack seat calls the shove, leaving just under 30 big blinds left in their stack.

With QQ in the Big Blind and a total of over 37 big blinds, we must decide whether to fold, call the shove, or move all-in ourselves.

An open shove of 23 big blinds should represent a fairly narrow range of hands as compared to more standard open-shove stack sizes (< 15 big blinds). This makes the Hijack’s flat calling range significantly stronger as well.

Whether or not we call or move in now, we will likely be playing for our remaining stack. So we will be playing for the main pot (which is contested three ways) and for the side pot (between the Hijack and ourselves). If we continue, we will be contributing a little less than a third of the chips to the main pot (~31%) and half of the chips to the side pot (50%).

In order to justify risking our stack in this tournament, we must believe that we have significantly more than 31% equity in the main pot or significantly more than 50% equity in the side pot (or both). If we have around that equity (or less) in both pots, we should fold.

The Hijack’s range of hands is likely very strong in this scenario due to the number of big blinds and the percentage of stack that this flat-call represents. In the Hijack seat, many players would move all-in with some strong hands that they consider vulnerable in order to discourage further action and only flat call with with very premium hands. Therefore, their range of hands is often TT+, AK, with reduced combinations of hands like TT, JJ and AK. This means we have less than 50% equity against the Hijack’s range.

As for the initial opponent, we can assign them a hand range of 77+, AQ+ with fewer combinations of AA and KK (since many opponents will raise a smaller amount rather than shove 23 big blinds with those hands). Given these ranges, we will have around 33% equity in the main pot.

Since we have less than 50% equity in the side pot and only approximately the equity needed in the main pot, we should fold our QQ.

Note: If all stacks had been half their size (with the initial shove being 11-12 big blinds), all hand range estimates would be much wider, and we would move all-in with QQ.

However, given the size of the open-shove and the flat-call, we can get away from our QQ in this tournament.

Folding is the best play.

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

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