Imagine you are in a tournament no rebuys allowed, you are on the big blind with AA and someone on early position pushes all in, should you take a chance on variance against a probably (AA, AK, KK, QQ) or should you slowly grow your stack?

2 Answers 2


Having 200 big blinds does not mean that you're twice as likely to win the tournament over someone who has 100 big blinds.

However, your chances of cashing do increase by a good amount and result in you being able to put more pressure on your opponents and at the same time you'll be less likely to becoming short stacked at the same time your opponents will, meaning you won't have to take high risk spots as often as they will.

Folding AA would be leaving a huge amount of equity. You have ~80% equity. If you say no to it you're probably playing a tournament you can't afford. Go all in and go play the next tournament if you lose.

From an ICM standpoint you're not even allowed to fold AA on the bubble (one exception: in satellites where you are near the bubble and guaranteed to make the money), let alone here. Only exception would be if you're guaranteed to cash anyway and a min-cash would be live changing money to you, which is unlikely.

To get an exact answer you can go into solvers such as ICMizer or Holdem Resources Calculator and see what hands you can call all in for and in which situations, such as this one.

I understand the argument of surviving, but I only think it's valid to this extreme if you're not trying to win the maximum in the long term.

  • Thanks, yes I'm comming from the feeling side as well, I lost on the second hand the other day against someone I knew had squad but he went all in, I analyized my hand against his later and I had over 80%, I should keep practicing non-tilting tecnquies and keep beleiveing on statistics
    – Saikios
    Jun 7, 2019 at 16:55
  • @Saikios Yes. Moving down in stakes is probably wise as-well if individual results are making you tilty.
    – Jonast92
    Jun 7, 2019 at 17:00
  • One additional comment: the structure of the tournament plays a role in this decision as well. The quicker the structure of the tourney (a turbo tourney for example with blinds doubling up every 15 minutes), the more people will be willing to shove with less than premium hands.
    – Jimmy
    Jun 24, 2019 at 6:59

You call. The previosu answer is good enough, but there is some more reasoning to it. If you fold, everyone can beat you by just shoving any-two-cards against you (if you have aces, there is no big difference between them having JJ or 76s)

Also, even if you are assuming some risk, most situations assume a much higher risk. You just have to accept that even the best player does not win every time

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