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I'm close to bubble in a SNG (10 players remain, 7 paid, i'm 8th).

My hand is T♥T♣, i am UTG with a healthy stack of 29 BB

Blinds are 25/50, no antes.

Opponents are a mixed bag, with everyone +/- to my stack (no huge stacks)

My usual strategy in this situation is to preserve my stack for the final table, where the blinds will eat me up slower, since in the current situation there will be 4 empty seats. This strategy is based to the fact that there are 2 stacks lower than me, in addition calling a preflop raise is typical in this table. If i was the short stack, i would certainly be much more aggro here.

Therefore i'm usually limping here up to JJ. The reasoning is that it will take me around 6bb (preflop/cbet) if overcards are shown or am HU. In addition, these kind of low-end premium pairs JJ/TT are only about 50% to be top-pair in most flops.

So, based on my stack + position + bubble situation, do you think it's ok to be a little passive here?

  • I think you're ignoring the fact that other people also know it's the final table bubble and will be more risk-averse. Raise this. Limping is just asking for trouble, IMO. TT out of position in a multi-way limped pot is basically trash unless you spike a ten. If you're that set on protecting your stack, you should open-fold here. – Chris Farmer Sep 28 '15 at 19:28
  • @Chris Farmer, i don't ignore them, it's just most of the time i play with looser players (difficult to be tighter than me), so eager to get busted. Of course my strategy is different on a tight table. I know TT is a trouble hand multiway, but i can easily muck it so i'm not troubled with this. Open-fold or Open pre-shove post on a safe flop is prolly the better approach, perhaps not EV+ but safe. Tx! – user1165 Sep 29 '15 at 7:23
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With your current position, I think it would be overly cautious to be too passive and essentially play for 7th place (while hoping for better). Being in 8th place right now, it's not guaranteed you'll make it; with 3 eliminations left for the bubble to burst and most people with 30+ bb's, you have time to really improve your standing and possible payout.

TT UTG at a 5-handed table (which is what it sounds like) is a lot stronger than TT UTG at a 9- or 10-handed table. I would go ahead and raise. If everyone folds--fine. If anyone calls, play the flop pretty straight-forwardly. If you're faced with a re-raise, that might be a tough decision that will factor heavily on how the opponent or the table in general has been playing. Against a small re-raise, I would even consider calling and hoping for one of those flops with no overcard. Being left with 20 bb's still gives you a playable stack but you'd have to start looking for more spots to be aggressive.

Not only would I raise here, but I have a general rule of thumb around this situation to try and raise once per orbit whether it's with a legitimate starting hand or a straight steal. In theory, you could keep winning enough blinds to prevent your stack from ever going down (I'm even more likely to do this if there's an ante in play). In practice, it's very dependent on your table. BTW, if this were a satellite instead of a SNG, it would be correct to be much more cautious.

  • Thanx for the answer. I'm certainly not hoping for 7th :) when playing this passively. My mindset is something like i have enough blinds for now so let the shorter stacks to risk their own and play normal in final table. If there aren't short stacks, let the looser stacks to risk. I probably have a leak when my stack is largish but not huge like now and need to review. Thanx! – user1165 Sep 28 '15 at 17:53
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Most people during the bubble tighten up their play for the same reason you hesitated.

No one wants to get knocked out so close to the bubble, but in your situation pockets 10's was a pretty strong hand, given the position isn't good.

If you would have raised, and everyone folded, you just made out and collected blinds. If a small stack went all in, you are likely in a race situation with the odds slightly in your favor to being greatly in your favor. If someone who can cover you or take more than half of your stack pushes all in, then you need to decide, you likely have a small advantage but is that very small window of advantage worth losing out on a possible cash? That would have been a tough decision to make.

  • Thanx for the answer. It's true most people get tighten up on bubble, but also there are people not aware of the situation and get more aggro than usual. I would do the same of course with a bigger stack, but vs similar ones i feel a bit exposed vs loose players. Having 2+ of them confronted and my equity is getting bigger :) It's just these times when you have a newly big stack and feel a little timid ;) – user1165 Sep 29 '15 at 7:27

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