NLH Tournament

Final table, 7 players remaining out of about 25

Average stack is ~130,000 (16 BB); I have 70,000 (9 BB)

Blinds are 4000/8000 with 1000 ante

I'm BB, am dealt AA. Action folds all the way to small blind, who just calls - his stack is around average (130,000). I raise to 2BB (16,000), wanting to get as many of the SB's chips in the middle as possible without him folding; he calls. SB is relatively tight, and in a previous hand folded top pair to my semi-bluff all-in when I had middle pair.

Flop is Q-5-7, rainbow. At this point, I'm fairly confident I have the best hand. SB checks; I check back.

Turn is a 9. SB bets 25,000 into a pot of 39,000. Here, I have only about 50,000 chips left (6 BB). Calling would be half my stack, so it's either fold or shove. I go all in, SB quickly calls.

SB has 68 and makes a straight.

A few questions:

  1. Was my pre-flop raise too small to avoid hands like 68 seeing the flop? Would 3 BB or a shove be better here?

  2. Was it a bad decision to check back the flop?

  3. Was it a bad decision not to fold after the turn?

  • Running into 68 here is kind of cooler but you let it happen.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 8:44

6 Answers 6


Pre Flop

68o has to pay 4000 to see a potential flop. In case the BB doesn't have an overpair nor a 6 or 8, he is live and has around 36%, which means his call is mathswise correct. He is up against a maximum of one player, that gives him confidence to play. In a different spot like first position he would probably fold 68o.

Math: Potsize: 7k Ante + 4k from SB and 8k from BB. SB has to pay 4k to receive 23k, that's 1:5,75 or in percent 17.39%.

After your raise to 16k the pot is now 31k So SB has to pay 8k to receive 39k Which is 1: 4,875 or 20.51% so it's mathwise a call again in case he is live.


You didn't put him on a decision, so you can't put him on any hand range, which is bad. So the pot after his call is 23k and if you now raise to 4 BBs it's 57k and he has to pay 24k to win 81k. 24k is already ~ 20% of his stack, which he probably won't like to lose, and since he invested only 4k he can find a fold here with live cards. He would only go for a call or raise with a big hand.

non Math: Usually a min raise is looking like a lure, so you want to have him in the pot, or you don't know the math behind poker. Here your intention is to have him in the pot. The hard part is: Now you can't put him on a hand, and if he starts betting you need to be scared. In these late plays there is not much space for bluffs, since betting 3BB and continue betting with 6BB or more is already half an average stack.

So getting dealt aces an no one opens the pot feels bad, but I'd prefere to push it all in pre. In this situation the SB might think you do a move here. anyway collection all the ante safely with the call of SB is a pretty good pot on a final table. You had 70K and on a push fold you would receive 23k which is 30% + for you. Sounds good? to me its good

  • Note: 68 might get the right price, but there is a lot of reverse implied odds. What happens on an 8 high flop? What happens on 79x? I think this makes a 2x not terrible with these stacksizes.
    – Raymond
    Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 7:32
  • and do you really take these things into consideration when you have less than 10BB's left? I dont think so Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 12:16
  • Maybe some people don't, but you should since it is relevant.
    – Raymond
    Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 12:36
  • okay, you are right sir. So you would fold 86o even when its just a big blind raise? or would you like to call ? Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 13:10
  • I would never have limped, but say I have I think it is really close, but I would fold, since my opponent likely only does this with an overpair to my 8.
    – Raymond
    Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 14:01

Raising more pre-flop would definitely be better, around 2.5-3BB, as with the antes, he's getting good odds to call with any two cards with your min-raise. An all-in is ok, but this way you are likely to win a bigger pot.

Checking the flop is bad. You raised pre, and a continuation bet would be expected. An all-in here, should be your only bet. You don't need to give him a free card.

Folding the turn depends on the villian. If he is a rock or nit that wouldn't bet with less than 2 pair, then folding is appropriate. But if you know he will bet with pretty much his whole range, then your decision to go all-in is correct.



There is so much money in the middle blind versus blind that you want to shove a ton of hands against a limp. Throwing aces in this range can't be bad. Since aces is very strong however I like your decision to raise smaller against some less aware players. A two big blind raise, while on the small side, is a decent sizing at this stackdepth. Around 2.3-2.4 is perfect in my opinion.


Generally when you have a good hand, you should bet. You should do the same here and get value. Your stacksize is perfect for a flop bet and turn shove. If you bet here you get the money in versus most pairs and occasional straight draws and you'll be a huge favorite.

Because your hand looks so strong, since you raised small pre-flop, your opponent will rarely bluff you or bet with weak hands, therefore slowplaying is not smart.


Your opponent can easily bet with worse hands and he will indeed rarely fold to a shove. Get it in.

In short my advice:

Raise a little bigger preflop. Bet the flop and shove the turn. Call any shove from your opponent at any point.


Others answers have already addressed pre-flop pretty well (go all in or raise or a little more), but I figured I'd discuss your flop check a little more.

By the flop, you've already kind of decided to "trap" a little bit. One thing to keep in mind here is that while your hand is strong, it's not the nuts and certainly not unbeatable. The Q 5 7 rainbow flop is ok for you, but here's how my thinking would go as far as considering whether or not to check:

By checking the flop, you're giving a free turn card. 1) How many turn cards are there that improve your chances of extracting more chips from the opponent without him improving his hand to beat yours? 2) How many turn cards are there that might either help your opponent to beat you OR hurt your chances of extracting more chips from him OR do not make a difference?

Starting with the first question (how many cards help you), let's say the opponent already has a Q or another pair. A free card could hurt you here. Plus they might already be willing to call a bet here on the flop, so waiting a street to bet doesn't necessarily improve your situation at all. If they have a draw (although not many out there), they could also get a free card to hurt you and also might have been willing to already call a bet on the flop. Let's say they have nothing yet--most turn cards aren't going to help them much anyways so it wouldn't make a difference if you bet the flop or turn. Again, let's say they have nothing yet--if they make a pair on the turn, it's still probably not top pair (unless it's a K) or anything for them to get excited about. The point, basically, is that there's not much that's going to happen with the turn card that pivots your opponent from A."I would fold this flop to a bet" to B."I like my hand now enough to put a lot of money in" unless he has you beat. Conversely, you passed up a situation to bet on the flop where he might have called and you instead gave a free card.

Now if the flop had been even drier, like T22 rainbow...there's absolutely no draws and a super low chance that opponent connected with it. A free card would be way less likely to end up biting you but it could improve his hand enough to then call some bets (like if he hits a K,Q,J or picks up a draw). In this hand, there's always a chance, too, that a turn just scares him away when he would have otherwise called a flop bet, such as when the turn is an A or it's a high card and he had 87 or something, etc.


According to Sclansky-Chubukov you should shove pre as low as Q5s.

Not saying I would do that but that is what that math says.

I like the answer from Herb.


On a GTO point of view you should only play "fold or shove" with this stack depth. But GTO is only optimal against players who either play GTO themselves or who "circle around GTO".

On a practical, exploitative point of view, against a weak player who limps hands like 68o 9bb deep, you most likely played the hand perfectly. He happened to outdraw you, but you need to consider his whole range, the profit you will make when he hits top pair or can't fold second pair, etc

The flop check is good too usually on this rather dry board. Let him get draws on the turn with his air and also let him try to steal turn. Both will happen way more often than him outdrawing you. Ev check usually > ev flop bet here (would be different with more depth though).

The analysis posted above on this matter is very shallow. You have to realize in particular that against the specific 68o hand that the SB has, the ev of a flop bet and of a flop check is (relatively) close. The case were you lose ev when delay cbeting against this specific 68 hand is when he doesnt hit his str8 neither on the turn nor on the river, and doesn t bluff turn by check raising your delay cbet nor donk shove river his missed draw. Then you lose the second bet (if you bet flop he would have called and called the turn barrel no matter what the turn is). He will miss only 66% of the time or so, unless he s very fit or fold he will crai turn sometimes, or do stuff like donk shove bluff river, etc.. Also, he rarely has a good draw on the flop on this dryish board. Only 2oesd, no flush draws.

Don't over estimate protection value. Here your protection value also comes from geting gutshots to fold, either possibly on the flop cbet or on the turn barrel when unimproved, and also from not letting second pair and other bluff catcher see a river or third pair 5out you turn (I assume second pair will call the flop cbet but rarely the turn shove - unless "sucked out" like a flopped Q on turn A/K). The ev obtained from inducing turn bluffs from your opponent (which can be high unless he's a 100% passive and/or fit or fold fish) and the ev obtained from letting him improve to a draw or a hand weaker than aces is much higher than the protection value. Important to note, if the SB has a Q, betting flop achieves nothing special, there is no protection value in it, the hand will go all in no matter what the turn and river are(I doubt he fold a Q even if the turn is a K or A) and the action choice between cbet flop or delay cbet has no impact on ev at all.

By checking you may also lose a bit of value against hands like second pair who could call a bet on flop but might fold vs a delay cbet when the turn is another overcard. But in compensation you also sometimes get looked up by weaker made hands when delay cbetting on a brick (like third pair peeling one bet, or 2nd pair deciding to call both turn+river bricks just because he expected you to cbet strong hands).

Basically the more passive and less likely to bluff your opponent is, the better it gets to bet flop rather than check, but on average, against a random fish limper in a donkament, I would expect the check to have more value (with only 2bets depth).

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