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I played a play money MTT on Pokerstars and was wondering about a stealing situation. I was already In The (play) Money but had a short stack, specifically 3.53 BB with an M of 2. My opponent was a very aggressive big stack of about 37 BB and was on BTN, i was on SB.

Of course i was locked down only to all-in moves and that specific opponent raised anything so i was just searching for any pair or any ace/king (with reasonable kicker) to call.

I chose to re-raise all-in with Q♠T⋄ his latest raise and of course he called me down with A♠7♥ I lost the hand (ace high), got out of tourney but i was wondering if the hand i had was enough for against a dude that had raised 3,4 times in a row, obviously milking the situation?

I mean, i know i had 2 orbits to wait (M=2) for something better but i didnt wanted to wait someone else to call him, i just grabbed the chance against an opponent that had junk most of the time he raised.

It's Q♠T⋄ good enough of a hand to commit vs these kind of players (deep stacked aggros) who just goofing around with stealing, knowing that even if you have a premium hand, it's no big deal to them?

Of course i know that M=2 means play any 2 cards but against this specific opponent who would call me 110% of the time i was searching for something better. What would you play in my situation?

  • I'm confused about the action. You say you "call his latest raise" with QT but then you say he "called you down." Did you call all-in? Or did you raise and get called? – Chris Farmer Dec 19 '14 at 1:51
  • Either way, with a full table, 3.5 bigs, QT, and isolation against a loose-aggressive opponent, I'd take my chances with QT. You won't have any real fold equity, you're fortunate to be isolated against a single player, and you're lucky he enters pots with less than premium hands. Go for it, IMO. – Chris Farmer Dec 19 '14 at 1:52
  • @Chris Farmer, in this situation he raised the minimum (steal) and i just went all-in (~3.5 BB) and he called the rest. Table was folded to him and since the blinds (myself included) were shorts he just took the chance once again for what it may be 3,4 time in the row. He couldn't have such good of a hand, could he ? I instantly thought i should loosen my reqs, not only because i'm about to enter twilight but because there may be my only chance to double-up. I didn't added BB in my thought, i realized that after big stack bet he should fold after my all-in as well. Thanx for the comment :) – user1165 Dec 19 '14 at 2:21
  • You were 44% to win that hand with QT v A7, so that's not too bad. You're 48% against a random top 50% hand. You're not likely to be isolated against a single player at any time in the next orbit, so taking your chances against a loose button raiser here was definitely the right thing, IMO. – Chris Farmer Dec 19 '14 at 2:53
  • @Chris Farmer, You're right, i concluded it's worth a try if you have any 2 cards higher than aggressor's kicker (one card), thus close to coin-flip. Obviously QTo falls into that category as well K9o and an army of speculatives. I would throw away Q7o and below. It's good priced a chance of doubling-up with a hand that wins 44%+. Given the prize (doubling-up) any two medium-to-high cards should be profitable vs any random aggressor's cards. – user1165 Dec 19 '14 at 14:11
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There's a couple of things that come into play here:

1 - I think you need to clarify the action. Did you raise or did you go all-in? There is a huge difference between those two actions, the latter makes your hand seem stronger than the former move. Your post says you just raised - what was the action after that?

2 - you have to look at it from his perspective. There is the "Rule of 10" - if you have someone out-chipped by a 10-1 ratio then you call their all-in with any two cards - seriously, any two cards. So, in many ways, your play does not matter. If he was following the Rule of 10, then he was just playing his role and he should have been calling you (and all the other short stacks) down. So maybe next time you want to raise against a smaller stack that might run away from a raise - this guy was never going to fold to you.

To me, it seems like the player you were up against understands the beauty (and madness!) of hold-em: any two cards can win. That's why the 10-1 Rule works, any two cards really aren't that big of a dog; even in the worst scenarios, like AA vs T2, AA will still lose about 12% of the time. I think your opponent acted as expected in this scenario.

  • thanx for the answer. I was quite sure that i edited my post to say re-raised all-in, thought i was wrong and it said only re-raised. Edited again, thanx. Yep, i know that 10-1 Harrington's rule :) and the aggressor took full advantage of it; this is why i needed to have better than avg cards, so the QTo question rather any face or T; because he wouldn't fold and he just played with his stack but with more mediocre hands as well. Perhaps my post is confusing; i didn't want him to fold, merely to double-up by choosing a hand that stands more than avg than his hands. – user1165 Dec 19 '14 at 16:07
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    @vlzvl oh sure, I understand the shove and I think that's a fine move. I'm going off your question and title and calling it a "steal". This was never going to work as a steal. When you're down to that few number of BB, you're really just hoping for small miracle, not much more. – Unknown Coder Dec 19 '14 at 16:32
  • i meant he tried to steal, not me :) Of course, i was about to enter dead zone, i'm living on miracles :) Still calling with junky hands like say Q3o just reduces my chance about 10% and makes a huge impact against an aggro's typical hands. – user1165 Dec 19 '14 at 18:09
  • @vlzvl understood. My mistake – Unknown Coder Dec 19 '14 at 18:35
  • no problem :) my question had all sorts of confusing parts :) – user1165 Dec 19 '14 at 18:49

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