I decided to play in a small tournament the other night and the following hand played out. I was amazed at many things within the hand, but the main one brought up a sort of trivia question, which I’ll get to after I tell you about the hand.
A short time after the first break, the average chip stack was 2500, an early position player limped in, a middle position player moved all in for about 1000, the big blind went all in for about 2300 and the limper called. Here comes the strange part. When the cards were flipped over, the middle position aggressor had 78s and both other players had AKo. My first thought was the person with 78s had to be a favorite in this hand, but I wasn’t sure, and when I asked another player who they thought was favored, they said the two players with AK. Hence, the trivia question: Who is the favorite in the above hand?
As it turns out, I was incorrect in my thought that the 78s was the favorite, but not by much. The AK hands tie almost 50% of the time and the 78s wins just under 46% of the time. So my next question is: If you were the player holding the 78s, would you play this hand the same way as the player above? Of course many of you are saying that this is an easy fold pre-flop, and I can’t argue with that line of reasoning, because you would have no way of knowing that you would be getting 2 to 1 on your money.
However, when I am in a position to get 2 to 1 on my money and I am only slightly less than a 1 to 1 favorite, I will put my money in the pot every time. Of course to be willing to do this, you have to accept the fact that you will be out of the tournament over 50% of the time, but when you do win, (remember that you will about 46% of the time) you have put yourself in a very strong position by tripling your chip stack.
Of course if there had been only one caller and he or she had any pocket pair eight or above, the odds would have been much worse than above. However, once you factor in the possibility that everyone will fold to the all in bet, it still wasn’t a terrible play for a player on a short stack.
In summary, the answers to the two questions above deserve some in depth thought, especially the second one. Decide if you would risk your tournament life on the situation, and you will have another piece of the puzzle solved on your way to greatness. Until next week, good luck at the tables! (And may all of your 46% draws hit this week.