T♣T♠ vs a Preflop Raise, what do you do here?

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DECISION POINT:
In a Tournament where blinds are 200/400 a Middle Position player limps and Hijack raises to 1,100. It folds to you in the Big Blind with T♣T♠ and action is on you. What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: This is a really strange limping spot for the MP1 player as they started the hand with just 12 big blinds. Against weaker players who don’t understand how tournament dynamics change with stack size, their limping range can be very wide. Stronger tournament players may limp in this spot with a narrower range.

In either case we want to be cautious of early position limpers, as even weaker opponents often realize that by limping into multiple players they will often be facing a raise and have a plan for playing against subsequent raises.

It folds to the Hijack who raises to 1,100 chips. One thing enough players don’t think about is the psychological reasons WHY people do what they do at the table. Sometimes thinking about why a player might behave in a certain way can really help inform their hand range.

That said, it is unlikely that the Hijack’s raise to 1,100 in this situation is designed to get the MP1 limper to fold. The Middle Position player will only have to call 700 into a 2,100 chip pot, so this raise seems designed to isolate the MP1 limper but not designed to get them to fold. The sizing also seems to suggest that Hijack is leaving themselves room to make a decision if someone behind were to reraise.

Continued below…

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What does this tell us about Hijack’s hand range? It shouldn’t include many (if any) pure bluffs, and is also slightly less likely to include hands like AA/KK where this raise size is sometimes encouraging multi-way pots given that the players behind are all getting a relatively cheap price to enter the pot.

After considering all these factors we actually have a really tough decision with our pocket tens. The MP1 player likely has a hand they don’t want to fold assuming they are a reasonable player. The Hijack likely has hands they are happy to play against the MP1 player but chose a bet sizing that leaves room to fold over a reraise from behind.

We would probably also fold a hand such as pocket eights though that is a really strong hand given our stack size. But with pocket tens our hand is just too strong and this is a spot where an overbet shove is effective. We are potentially adding 2,100 chips to our stack and we have an advantage against our opponents likely ranges. Calling presents too many difficult postflop decisions with overcards and our hand is likely best now.

Moving all-in is the best play.

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


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