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At the final table with Ax2x, 60000 stack, UTG, 4 players. Tournament started with about 50 players. Hero calls 8000 BB, no raises. Flop is 2x7x10x. So now hero has 2x2xAx. BB bets 8000 with about 60000 behind. Hero goes all in. BB calls, heads up. Turns out BB wins with 2x10x. Did the hero play well? My reasoning was Ax2x with 4 players is a winner and wanted to shut down any drawing hands. If hero just called would have had to go all in before showdown anyway.

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All good constructive criticism. Thank you very much –  jacknad Sep 23 '12 at 3:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You don't mention how big are the blinds, but you say "Hero calls 8000", so I'm assuming the blinds are 4K / 8K, which means you have about 7 BB behind. This means you're SEVERELY short stacked. In this case, the play for you is pretty much on automatic pilot: find a decent hand to go all-in with.

I disagree with what you did preflop: you should've moved all-in or folded. Limping when you're that short stacked is a weak play in my book. The fact that there are only 4 players left makes this even worse (because it costs A LOT to play 1 round). Your think process was probably: "I'll limp and hope I'll hit the flop. My opponent(s) will hopefully hit the flop too. So maybe I can extract maximum value this way." Although this can work perfectly if you do connect with the board, the chances of this happening are pretty low, which is why it's a much better idea to go all-in or fold, not something in between.

Your play on the flop was actually not bad at all. The guy in the BB saw that you're short stacked (and made a mistake preflop :D), so he made a bet. You figured he would do that with absolutely any 2 cards (I would :D) and you would be correct; so you decided to go with it because you were actually connected to the board.

So preflop: not a good play. On Flop: ok play.

The fact that you won or lost doesn't change this.

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What were the limits or the level of skill at play here? What's the difference in prize money between the finishing positions yet to be paid out? Without those details it's hard to say definitively, but no, the Hero did not play well here.

Open-limping is generally a bad idea anyway, doubly so because you were technically short stacked, and even more so because you were at a very short table.

In the general case, 4 handed, shortstacked, any Ace is a preflop push. So the hero's first mistake was not pushing pre-flop. The hero's second mistake was open-limping while shortstacked (if unwilling to push with it, throw it into the muck, which would be a less costly error), and the hero's third (and terminal) mistake was not recognizing the min-bet as a sign of strength by the villain, and pushing all in with bottom pair and five outs to improve. And not just bottom pair, but the lowest possible pair, on top of that.

A min bet can mean a lot of things, from a post-oak-bluff to flopping the nuts, to a generally weak poker player, but by that deep into the tournament, the hero ought to have a good enough read to recognize what that particular bet means. Based on my reading of the table, from the open-limp to the villain not pushing in pre-flop against an open-limp and the minimum bet, I'd take this all as a sign of a very weak table, and have folded to the min bet, if I got myself into that position to begin with. A weak table like that is generally easier to carve up by stealing pots and making pre-flop all-ins than by trying to re-raise opponents out of a pot, at least in my experience.

Bottom line, you went to war with bottom pair and five outs to improve against a bet that's a common indicator of extreme strength, especially among weak players. Hopefully, you learned your lesson for next time.

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