• $1.50 SNG started with 9 players
  • starting stack: 1500 chips
  • 8 players left

Blinds: 15/30, ante 4


  • CO calls 30
  • D folds
  • SB calls
  • BB checks with Q♣ 4♣

Pot is 122


  • 9♣ 7♥ T♣
  • SB bets 90
  • BB calls
  • CO folds

Pot is 302


  • Q♥
  • SB goes all-in for 1659
  • BB has stack 2534 and after some thinking folds

Did the BB make the correct decision?

  • Top pair is hand that will bust you out. Probably not an idiot that thinks a pair of tens is good. Either a good hand or a good bluff. That is poker. Early in a cheap SNG I would gamble (call) but I think fold is fine.
    – paparazzo
    May 13, 2016 at 8:05

5 Answers 5


There are a number of decisions here, let's review them one at a time:

CO and SB limp in to a BB with Qx suited and the hero calls

I'd say this is the first mistake here. I would raise this to 3.5 bigs to weed out any 9x or Tx hands. Folks will limp in on just about anything. Unless you have extensive notes on a villain, you can assume they have any two and the worst two for you. This is why we punish allow limpers.

When you bet, you're doing more than just putting pressure on them - you're gaining information about how they act so you can begin to predict their cards based on past experience with them! CO SB limps should be punished by Qx suited.

SB bets 90 into a 122 pot, BB calls, CO folds

90 into 122 is a pretty big bet. I would not expect hero to call here any time he wasn't also going to call turn. At 90 chips in the 122 pot, that puts him at 90/(90+90+122)=90/302=29% pot odds and you 29% to call. Your clubs will get there 37% of the time, making this a good call on the surface. If take into consideration the followup with turn not getting there, you making this call putting the flop to 302 and having 9 outs in 46 possible cards, you're looking at 20% to win that hand. So he would have to put less than 20% of 302 on the river, or 60, and he's never doing that. So at this point I'd actually say folding is the more sound option. Maybe he's bluffing, maybe he's not.

Qh on the turn, SB shoves, hero folds

Okay, what is this guy playing with here? What does he have that limps, overbets flop, and shoves turn? The current nut hand is KJ, but is KJ really limping in response to the limp CO? Doubtful. J8 literally doesn't improve from the flop, the J high straight is now just a Q high straight. There's no other J hand that gets a straight that didn't have one before. So we can pretty much assume straights are out of the question. Unless this guy's playing bad, but sometimes you lose to players who play bad.

The killer hand for us is Qx because our kicker is pretty bad. But if villain is shoving top pair, he's a bad player and we're going to win those chips back from him. We're in his immediate left so he has to contend with our pressure all game. That kind of play is bad over the long run so we're not expecting this kind of play.

An alternative is a heart draw, but if he bet 90 into runner runner hearts on turn, that's just killer bad play. The odds of making runner runner flush is needing 9/47 * 8/46 = 3.3% so we aren't really thinking about that being a real play. The only way he would have bet into this and had hearts woudl be either 9x or Tx of hearts, which you're beating, or Arag of hearts which you're also beating now with top pair.

He could have limped in with 9To (or even worse 9T hearts) and honestly yes this could happen. That honestly is the only hand I'd be afraid of right now. Being that you cover him, you're only down to 2/3 starting stack if you lose, and you have the privilege if being in position on the guy 7 out of every 8 hands for the rest of the SnG, I'd say call here.


The moral of the story is by allowing your villain to limp preflop you sacrificed valuable information about the status of his hand that makes it difficult to make the right decision later.

  • 2
    Thanks for thorough explanation of the thinking process! This being an online SNG, I did not have enough time (nor could I reach to this detailed analysis!) for the decision but I definitely see your point. I just couldn't see myself raising preflop with Q4s having a CO call and playing post flop out-of-position...
    – Anton
    May 13, 2016 at 17:24
  • 1
    CO calling isn't very strong. In fact, the fact that he calls instead of raises is actually quite weak. There are times to limp in, but at this level you're almost never going to run into someone who uses it properly. If someone limps in with AA or KK and you get trapped, sure that can happen, but those players are losing money in the long run with this kind of behavior.
    – corsiKa
    May 13, 2016 at 20:57

CO just call is strange. Should be trying to steal the blinds with any hand worth playing. They could be slow playing a monster but they folded.

Getting 5:1 sb would be calling with pretty much anything other than an ace or pair that should raise.

I would not raise with Q4 suited. Not a hand you want to invest money in. And then risk play it out of position.

That is a board that could easily hit both opponents.

The bet of 90 clearly indicates a made hand that wants to protect from draws. Could even have 8J or 86 for a straight as they got in cheap and are protecting the flush draw. Could be on one pair (even bottom pair) or two pair. You are not getting pot odds but they have enough behind that you might get a lot more if you hit the flush. If they are getting cute they would have done it pre flop when the CO called. Safe to eliminate sets as would have raised pre flop. Not a spot for SB to bluff as it is a board that clearly could hit you also.

The Q is interesting. At this point you can beat a bluff. And you are still 4:1 to get flush. At this point a Q or 4 if probably good so you have 14 outs. That over bet is clearly polarizing. They could have bet $300. You have them covered. If it is a bluff then it is a very good bluff. I don't see that you can call.

You still have a bigger stack, position, and they don't try and steal binds. If they are getting cute then I think you will have a better spot to look them up. And your CO is not into stealing blinds.

In hind site you should have folded the flop. By calling you ranged yourself to a draw. A pair would fold and two pair would raise. When the draw was not completed then a bluff would work. Still I think they had you beat.


Calling here would be a serious mistake. There are literally no hands that you beat and your flush draw gives you about 20% equity with one card to come. This is the classic overbet shove that you see at the lower stakes with the nuts as I suggest in my first book.


Good chance SB made a straight.

Even if he only made top pair, he probably has a better kicker.

Fold unless he's been bluff shoving.


I agree with the fold. BB can have both a straight and a set and he is afraid that on such a dangerous board will be on the river. Plus, do not forget that this is $ 1.50 SNG and with super-strong hands there like to slowplay. :)

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