As the title suggests, I'd like to know how common it is to win a long poker tournament (e.g. the main event) without performing any major suckouts. Major suckouts -per my definition- are the ones that:

  1. Involve going all-in, or calling an all-in with less than 10 big blinds left.

  2. Having less than 33% equity to win the pot (after the action is complete).

The reason for the question is that in case making suckouts is very common (for winners), so it's good to expect that they will likely happen to you during the play (if you are to win). Otherwise, an added confidence will be there to support the claim that playing "perfect" game will likely lead to winning.

  • 1
    Having less than 33% could be considered a suckout in a heads up pot, but you could have 30% equity and be the huge favourite in a 4-way pot.
    – Paul
    Nov 27, 2015 at 6:30
  • As a partial answer, I would say that it depends on the field. You usually need to win flips, but don't need to get your money in with worse than a flip. If the field gets super tight, you can make it really deep by stealing and restealing pots. You might not even ever find yourself with a stack under 20 BB. Of course if 5% of the field plays "perfectly" there will still only be one winner.
    – Paul
    Nov 27, 2015 at 6:36
  • Of course 33% is not considered a suckout in that case. I made up that definition of suckout just to make things clear. It essentially boils down to: get clearly lucky after the action is complete. So according to your second comment you think that it is possible to win a big tournament (6000+ players) without major suckout(s). Interesting!
    – yazanpro
    Nov 27, 2015 at 9:18

1 Answer 1


I think that it's definitely possible to win large field tournaments without any big suck outs, but it would be difficult to quantify how often it happens. My hunch is that it's more often than you think. A person can win a couple big pots early, play smart and aggressively, have good hands at the right times, and just keep building their stack as the tournament goes. It can be surprising how many pots and chips a good big-stack player can take in without making it to many showdowns.

To the heart of your question, though, I don't think somebody can win a large tournament without luck. Whether that's by suck outs similar to the ones you describe, or getting good starting hands, hitting draws, or just having the perfect timing of finding a monster hand at the same time that someone else has a good enough hand to pay you off with, skill alone won't ever be enough.

Said another way, not all of the 10 luckiest players in a given tournament will end up in the top ten--some of them will blow their stacks through poor play on hands where luck isn't a factor. Not all of the 10 best players will end up in the top ten--some of them will just run into bad luck. Some people say that they'd rather be lucky than good, but the surest way to make it far in a big field tournament is to be both lucky and good.

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