Wrong position, decent hand

By Howard Lederer
Howard Lederer
In the middle and in the final stages of a tournament, there are sometimes moments where you'll be forced to commit with a weak hand. It is always an uncomfortable situation because you never want to risk a big percentage of your chips with a weak hand. Things get complicated when you play the blinds or out of position.

For example, suppose that you play in a late position in a tournament. The blinds are $ 500 and $ 1000 with antes of $ 100. You are the small blind with $ 18,000. The players before the button (an aggressive player who often raise) are lying. The button which is $ 30,000 raises to $ 3,500 and comes your turn with Ad - 9 s.

You know that A - 9 is not a good hand, but you cannot ignore the general situation. First, your opponent is very aggressive kind of the button and it is possible that his current hand is lower than yours. It is even likely that there be only a trash hand. Another thing to consider is the fact that there are already many tokens into play. With blinds, antes and the revival of your opponent, it makes a pot of about $ 5,000 in chips that you might pick up if ever you win the pot; This would be an excellent more for your stack.

So, you're probably going to want to play this hand, but what is the best action?

And at the outset, the call may seem reasonable since it will prevent you to be committed to the pot with a marginal hand. But the caller has several drawbacks. With a hand like A - 9, most of the time, you might not like the flop you'll see and miss it 2 times on 3. If you flop a pair of 9, how are you going to play this pair if there is an over card? Even if you flopez pair top, it will be difficult for you to play this hand.
In addition, if you miss the flop, you will still be vulnerable to the fact to be 'outplaye' by your opponent. It will be difficult to bet if the flop includes 3 cards that don't help you. If you check, your opponent will probably make a continuation bet and it will be very difficult to continue even if your ACE seems good.

In a situation like this the best game will be preflop. Reraisez all in preflop. Your opponent will probably not have a hand for caller and if you are calle, you have a multitude of outs. You have 25% equity for example against AK. It's not loud, but you are not dead.

The important thing to keep in mind in the latter stages of a tournament is that you do not want to make several decisions after the flop when you have a medium strength hand like Ax or a medium pair (especially out of position). Push your chips all in when you think you have the best hand and hope the best for your hand. If you don't get those small opportunities when they arise, you regret it later when you see your so small stack that you will have almost no chance of winning the tournament.