Hold'em Hands: Tournament Example #3

Continued from: NLHE Poker Hands: Tourney Example #2

Let's go over one more poker hand example for playing in a Hold'em tournament. We'll assume that we're starting with the same situation as before with $1,000 in chips and $10-$25 blinds, first round, and everyone has about a thousand left. There have been 5 or 6 hands so far and none of them have gone past the flop.

Hold'em Tournament Hands

You are in the cut-off seat with QQ. Before the flop a very aggressive player raises to $100 from early position. Then a very conservative player who hasn't seen a flop yet calls the $100. Everyone else folds to you. What's your play?

  • A) Just call. You figure one of them has an ace or a king, so if an ace or a king flops you want to lose as little as possible.
  • B) Move all-in now. You figure you might have the best hand now but any ace or king could beat you, plus QQ is a great hand to get all your money in with so you might get called and double up.
  • C) Fold. With a big raise and a call by a player who hasn't seen a flop yet, you are likely beaten.
  • D) Raise to $300. Your hand is good enough to re-raise but not strong enough to trap with.

Well, you have a very strong hand, but you don't want to let someone with an ace and a small card or a king high to come in for a fair price. You would like to discourage hands like AT and KJs from coming in unless they're willing to overpay and make a mistake. If you re-raise, all but premium poker hands should go away. Also, if you're beat right now you're likely to find out with a big re-re-raise, although as a beginner it's gonna be hard for you to get away from pocket queens before the flop. What you'd really like to see is someone call the raise with a smaller pair, making you about a 6 to 1 favorite in the hand. Even if someone calls you with AK, you're a small favorite to win if it goes to showdown but a pretty good favorite to have the best poker hand after the flop. Your move is definitely D. Raise to $300.

You raise to $300, the dealer and the blinds fold, and the action player from early position calls. Also, just as you were hoping, the passive player folds his hand. That brings the pot to $735, and there's only you and the aggressive player left to fight over it. Now the flop comes Jh Ts 9D. The action player is first to act and moves his last $700 into the pot. If you call you will be getting about 2 to 1 on your call and risking your entire tournament. You have an over-pair with an open ended straight draw, potentially a draw to the nut straight. What should you do?

  • A) Fold and look for a better spot to get your money in (Why take a chance? If he had KQ, he's already made a straight and you're in bad shape.)
  • B) Call. There are many hands he could have, and only one of them gives him a made straight.

Well, it seems to me that if someone flopped the nuts they would probably play it a bit slower, but with a maniac it's really hard to tell. For sure there are a lot of other hands, though that make mores sense. Your opponent could be, and probably is, on AJ. He could be bluffing with AK, and he may have nothing at all. Even if he has AA, which is improbable because he didn't re-raise you before the flop, you still have lots of outs. In that case you could win with any Q, K, or 8, and that's 10 outs. I'd say you probably have the best hand now, and if not you still have about a 23% chance of improving to it. You have to call here - it was a great flop for you and you can't just let aggressive players run you over all the time. If you win you just made a huge score, and it's very likely that you're about to win. The answer is definitely call.

♣ Continued at: Becoming a Great Poker Player

♣ Back to the index of Dead Money's guide to hold'em strategy.