I tried to explain a friend of mine, that there happened several mistakes or bad play in this preflop situation:

6 Players left
Blinds 100/200
UTG (355) with 9♥9⋄ moves allin
UTG +1 folds
UTG +2 (1,300) calls with A♣8♠
BTN (2.800) folds
SB folds
BB (3,220) folds

First I think it is a common move as an absolute short stack to go allin with 9♥9⋄.

Second I think UTG+2's call is not a good option. Especially because he has no chance to do anything but fold when BB moves allin. He showed weakness with just a call instead of an allin. But on the other hand, what should he win with an allin? Show strength that everyone behind him folds. But he would get calls only by strong hands and would probably loose with A♣8♠.

Worst that could happen is, that UTG wins and BB's hand still stronger than UTG+2. So he would leave this table on 6ths place and win nothing. Not so good, but still possible would be that BB wins all and he has place 5th with 0 chips -> +-0$ for this table.

Third I do not know why BB didn't shove allin to push UTG+2 out of game. See above why I think that would have worked. And even a call would be cost only 155 chips. Well, he might think that this UTG+2 call is just a trap? Or that he just want see if UTG+2 beats UTG, so this table is over.

Am I right with my thoughts about this situation or was everything all right and I just misunderstand this situation?

  • and btw: how can bb ever fold here :D Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


Well, IMHO, your analysis is pretty good. However, you see this kind of play all the time even in big tournaments. And in general, this play from the A8 is usually not a bad one.

Whenever you have a super-short stack (really anything under 10 BBs) then they are capable of pushing with just about anything. In fact, there comes a time that it just doesn't matter what cards you have and you have to push (I've done this many, many times - I just don't look and push because ... well ... I have to). This usually happens when the short-stack is in later position where they have a chance to either push out the blinds or just go against a smaller number of player to get the best odds even with 72os (hey, they do win sometimes).

This player was so short-stacked, it's hard to have any respect for their hand. But, in general, if a short-stack pushes in early position, then you have to guess they have some fairly decent cards - maybe an A - but pocket-pair??? That might be pushing a credible guess of their range - possible, but not likely.

This is what A8os might have been thinking. He may have thought that his A was good enough against the range of the short-stack. I've seen it a million times. But, I agree he should have pushed rather than just called with A-rag to isolate the short-stack against the big-stack in the blinds. The call is a weak move. This is all based on the kicker - the 8. The 8 is a really weak kicker, especially in the cut-off with a big stack to the left.

So, the analysis looks like a player "falling in love" with his A against a weak position and not considering play to his left. It is a mistake in this situation, but is actually usually the right move as the A alone will likely give you the best of it even with the blinds to come in a short-handed table.

The BB really can't make a big-stack bully move here - I mean he could, but it's a risk to put a third of your stack in on a play like that late in a tournament. The BB has NO IDEA, what UTG+2 has. It could be AA for all he knows. May be UTG+2 just forgot to push with their AA - it could be anything. It has to be an OK hand or they wouldn't call in the first place. The only way the BB would either call or go over the top and push would be if the BB had a rocking hand (AK, JJ or better pocket pair).

Until, of course, the short-stack turns over 99 or KK or AA - story of my poker life ;-).

  • Yes, that is what I thought. To call low stack with A8 is okay - but not at his position with those big stacks behind him. +1
    – Jurik
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 14:17
  • 1
    I don't think you should guess that a short stack in early position has decent cards when they shove with 1.75 BB. They're either all in that hand or the next hand (if they let the blinds go by they'd be left with a quarter of a BB assuming no antes).
    – Paul
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 14:25
  • 1
    I think the BB should have called, rather than push the UTG+2 all in or fold. Folding seems out of the question with the great pot odds he's getting to call (almost 6:1) and the fact that if he folds on the flop he will still be the big stack .
    – Paul
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 14:34
  • >> I don't think you should guess that a short stack in early position has decent cards when they shove with 1.75 BB. I agree in this scenario. But, in general, a short stack will want to hang on as long as possible in an attempt to "outlast" someone else on a final table. Even if it's for 2 or 3 hands. They wouldn't push (weakly, albeit) unless they think they have a chance of winning and hanging on in the tournament - therfore, assume that they have a real hand. Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 16:03
  • >> I think the BB should have called .... you're right. But perhaps the BB wasn't that strong or not that bright. However, you're almost never worse than 7:1 - ever. I overlooked the fact that the BB already committed 200. Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 16:07

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