When The Blinds Roll Back

Last weekend MTT Poker School ambassadors @fuggleepoker, @whiteninjapoker, @VanH3lzing and I (@gazelligpoker) met up in Nottingham to play the DTD200, Party Poker's weekly £220 live/online tournament.

Before I carry on, I'd like to give Fugglee a shout out for the inspiration for this article as it was he who explained the concept.

In the penultimate hand of the night/Day 1, I was faced with the following decision:

The small blind, fresh from complaining about living quite far from Nottingham (Southend to be precise) and not wanting to come back with a shortstack, shoved all-in for 21BB and I looked down at 55 in the Big Blind.

Blinds: 2k/4k with a 4k ante, which the Button paid.

Now ordinarily this is a call.

I can be flipping here against two overcards or completely crushed by a better pair. An ideal situation for me is when he has a hand like A2s or A4o, giving me 67% and 70% equity respectively. Versus JTs I have 48% equity and against KJo I have almost 53%.

When he shoves 84,000 I have to call 80,000 to win 84,000 + 4,000 + 4,000 (aka his shove plus my dead Big Blind plus the ante), which equals 92,000 / 80,000 = 1.15:1 or 46.5%. So I need 46.5% equity here to make a break-even call.

Now I'm not too keen on making break-even/marginal calls when I've found it easy to pick up chips through stealing and c-betting without resistance. In the last level alone I went from 41k to 180k pretty easily, winning a couple of all-ins, but mainly stealing pots. In this instance I'm probably looking for 51.5% equity to make a call under normal circumstances.

Versus a Nash Equilibrium shove of 53.3%, 22+ Ax K2s+ K4o+ Q2s+ Q8o+ J4s+ J8o+ T5s+ T8o+ 95s+ 98o 85s+ 87o 74s+ 64s+ 53s+ I have 54.75% equity which would make this a call. I'm not convinced he's shoving this wide though, so versus a much more realistic 31.8%, 22+ Ax K6s+ K9o+ Q8s+ QTo+ J8s+ JTo T8s+ 98s I have 51.6% equity, which still makes this a very clear call!

But here's the clincher. After this hand finishes we will have one more hand before the end of Day 1. At the start of Day 2 the blinds will roll back to 1k/2k so rather than this being a call for 21BB it's more like a call for 42BB.

When he shoves 84,000 I have to call 82,000 this time to win 84,000 + 2,000 + 2,000, which equals 88,000 / 82,000 = 1.07:1 or 48.2%. If we avoid a marginal call we need more like 53.2% and hence 55 becomes a fold as it only has 51.6% equity.

With those numbers I should call 66+, A9s+,ATo+. 55 is obviously very close to being a call and, as I said, under normal circumstances it would have been, but with the blinds rolling back and my relative ease at adding to my stack I chose to fold.

As I folded he flipped over A3o and I let out a little silent groan.

Good luck at the tables!

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