$55 live tourney final table question I'm in a live tourney yesterday where re-enters are allowed up until first break.

Final 8 players are paid, and I have 27000 in chips, eight at the table, final table, and blinds are 1500/3000 with a 300 ante. I am UTG with AQ os and I push and take down the blinds and antes for a total of 6900.

Question. I am attempting to build stack and stay alive and don't mind a call by a weaker ace or smaller pairs.

Another player I know casually who is quite solid proceeds to question my move as there are two other stacks about the same size. He says I only get called by a hand that dominates me, and with two other short stacks I might double them up. He says I get the same information with a raise of 3BB.

I'm curious and would appreciate comments. Final table is not my strong suit. Thank you.

4 Answers 4


Your M is 4 which is in the red zone (as Harrington explains in his zone system), and you have a perfect hand for shoving, even against 7 other guys.

Since you're in UTG this makes it an even easier easier shove; you don't want to get hit by blinds and end up with around 7 blinds and way less fold equity, aren't you?

If you double here with an excellent hand, you'll end up close to ~20 bb, while if you get hit by blinds and do the same (assuming you'll get a miracle hand before the next blinds hit you again), you'll end up around 15 bb. Big difference.

About the 3BB raise is strongly wrong!

When you have below 10bb (or about an M of 5), your choices are either Push/or Fold. This is because if you raise and someone shoves on you, you're still committed to call (mathemetically) based only on pot odds. If he calls your 3BB, the pot will be about the size of your current stack; any bet on flop by you will still pot commit you to call a shove from your opponent.


You have 9 BB, or, if my math is right, an M of about 1.5. That in itself is when you are looking to shove all-in with just the type of hand you had. In addition, any time you raise more than about 1/3 or 1/4 of your stack, you should go all-in.

As for only getting called by a dominating hand, well, that depends on your image. If you have a somewhat loose image, you're likely to be a coin flip against a mid pair, or dominating a weaker ace. If you have a very tight image, you may only get called by QQ+ & AK.


Both you and your friend are correct

You: Perfect move

It's never optimal to shove AQo with 8 players, especially UTG but you increased your stack by 6900/27000 = 26%

Considering the advantage that may give you over equi-stacks if the FT comes down to a grind - your ability to fold 1-2 more BBs and your ability to squeeze other players - I like the play. Under ICM you can't lose more than busting 8th or your current equity. Playing for all your chips at this stage is what you technically should be doing.

At the FT, the ICM considerations > "M-theory". So your chips are worth more or less under ICM given the prize structure and stacks of the other players. The M-theory is just a general rough guide.

Your friend: He's 90% right or maybe 100% right with his particular style and table image

Yea if anyone has better than AQ they will snap call your shove. Other hands from bigger stacks may also call. If the BB has to put in 24000 to win 60900, he only needs 24/60.9 or 39.4% equity to call. If a player assumes you have a top 15% range in this situation, then JQs is the exact break-even point for them to call your shove. If a player assumes you have a top 10% range then 33 is the break-even point, etc, etc.

Your friend may be correct in that a 3 BB raise or even a 2.2-5 BB raise (if possible live) would have had the same effect as your shove, however, do you really want to raise-fold with 9 BBs?

Fold equity and risk are not strictly quantifiable but arguably: Fold Equity > Risk in this case

The odds of AQ holding 3-way against top 50% hands (Q3s or better) are only 33%. Against 2 top 50% hands it's only 44%. So statistically if you get 2 or more callers pre-flop you will lose by the river if you don't get rid of them

  • Thank you to everyone who took time to address my question. It is very appreciated!
    – aurionan
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 1:00

Yes you would get called by hand that dominates you but there are not many hands that dominate AQo. At 9 BB you need to gamble. A 3 BB bet would be 1/3 of your stack - you are in push or fold. That other player is wrong - you are not "looking for information" at 9 bb.

Let's say you bet 3 bb and raised by bb all in
Your pot odds are (6900 + 9000 + 18000) / 18000 = 1.88
The only hand that dominate you is AA
You are not getting pot odds with AK, KK, or QQ but even those are close
No, way you fold and play with 18000 hoping for a better spot

Let say BB just calls and you see a flop
Even if you don't hit and BB goes all in you pretty much need to call
If you hit and go all in the BB will fold if they did not hit

There is pretty much no scenario I can think of that hold back 6 BB is a good play

  • I don't want to edit the answer and make it active. Even if a 3BB bet got a weaker hand to call you would still need to win the hand and it would not stop a stronger hand from calling.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 17:36

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