Power through on the bubble?

Played the $150+12 tonight on Stars. Really excellent blind structure and a first prize of 20K up for grabs. I played intelligently through the first two hours. I got placed at SamENole’s table, seated next to him on the left. I know he’s a good, thinking player, so I know I can make some moves and pick up some chips from him by adhering to my “raising station” ways…

Here is how I took all his chips:

Table ‘23911885 53’ 9-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: chupamynutz (17979 in chips)
Seat 2: SamENole (3790 in chips)
Seat 3: hotcookie42 (4108 in chips)
Seat 4: SLIPPY622 (1782 in chips)
Seat 5: xxJAWSxx (15482 in chips)
Seat 6: Rub4Luck (2271 in chips)
Seat 7: Padouin (7980 in chips)
Seat 8: GARFIELD25 (18014 in chips)
Seat 9: payup (4700 in chips)
chupamynutz: posts the ante 20
SamENole: posts the ante 20
hotcookie42: posts the ante 20
SLIPPY622: posts the ante 20
xxJAWSxx: posts the ante 20
Rub4Luck: posts the ante 20
Padouin: posts the ante 20
GARFIELD25: posts the ante 20
payup: posts the ante 20
Rub4Luck: posts small blind 200
Padouin: posts big blind 400
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hotcookie42 [As Ah]
GARFIELD25: folds
payup: folds
chupamynutz: folds
SamENole: raises 800 to 1200
hotcookie42: raises 2888 to 4088 and is all-in
SLIPPY622: folds
xxJAWSxx: folds
Rub4Luck: folds
Padouin: folds
SamENole: calls 2570 and is all-in
*** FLOP *** [4d 3d Ac]
*** TURN *** [4d 3d Ac] [5d]
*** RIVER *** [4d 3d Ac 5d] [5s]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
SamENole: shows [7d 7c] (two pair, Sevens and Fives)
hotcookie42: shows [As Ah] (a full house, Aces full of Fives)
hotcookie42 said, “gg”
SamENole is sitting out
hotcookie42 collected 8320 from pot

You might look at the above play and argue that it is not particularly sophisticated. But I think it is. Here was my reasoning for the play. SamENole is not going to commit a third of his stack with any random garbage. He probably has some decent hand. Perhaps a medium pair, AK, AQ. If I just call with the aces and we see a flop, he might not connect and will fold to any bet I make. If I reraise less than his total stack, he might push all-in, but he might think about it a bit more because it looks like I’m trying to leave him chips and enticing him to call my reraise. Pushing in looks like a move, one I would not expect anyone to make with AA, KK. He did think for some time before finally calling. Okay, it’s probably not that brilliant of a play. Can you just be happy for me that it worked out? (Unlike the first hand of this evening’s WPT episode, my aces held up.)

Move ahead another hour. Bubble time. Two players to go before the money. I have been stealing blinds and antes dutifully and have a comfortable, average stack. Then one steal goes awry and I’m down to 12 BB. The following hand ensues:

Table ‘23911885 53’ 9-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 2: freedomkaf (11984 in chips)
Seat 3: hotcookie42 (9448 in chips)
Seat 4: MiracleGro (29351 in chips)
Seat 5: $30K (11082 in chips)
Seat 6: C.K. (42966 in chips)
Seat 7: Padouin (12173 in chips)
Seat 8: GARFIELD25 (16125 in chips)
Seat 9: payup (2560 in chips)
freedomkaf: posts the ante 30
hotcookie42: posts the ante 30
MiracleGro: posts the ante 30
$30K: posts the ante 30
C.K.: posts the ante 30
Padouin: posts the ante 30
GARFIELD25: posts the ante 30
payup: posts the ante 30
C.K.: posts small blind 300
Padouin: posts big blind 600
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hotcookie42 [8h 8d]
GARFIELD25: folds
payup: folds
freedomkaf: folds
hotcookie42: raises 1200 to 1800
MiracleGro: folds
$30K: raises 9252 to 11052 and is all-in
C.K.: folds
Padouin: folds
hotcookie42: calls 7618 and is all-in
*** FLOP *** [3c 6h 3d]
*** TURN *** [3c 6h 3d] [5s]
*** RIVER *** [3c 6h 3d 5s] [Kc]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
hotcookie42: shows [8h 8d] (two pair, Eights and Threes)
$30K: shows [Js Jh] (two pair, Jacks and Threes)

The bubble nightmare. If you’re playing to win big (i.e. not take 54th place money), you cannot fold pocket eights here. And I think you also have to give the button a big range of pushing hands, because a) thinking, aggressive players “know” no one wants to go out on the bubble and will bully shorter stacks, and b) as my friend ActionBob says, I’m a girl and people figure I play tight, fold a lot to raises, and just want to make it into the money. While I am counting on that perception and make much of my tourney success because of it, I was unlucky in this case to run into a real hand. And so it was that I busted in good ol’ 56th place, two from the money.

Now here is my question, dear readers: what on earth else do you do with pocket eights here? Assuming that we don’t want to just sneak into the money. Who out there powers through and makes this call? Who lets it go, takes the hit to my stack, and makes a whopping $130 profit on the tourney, rather than aiming for 20K?

7 replies on “Power through on the bubble?”

Some things to consider:

You’re not even getting 2-1 here
270 antes
900 blinds
1800 your bet
1800 his call
7618 his raise
12388 total/ 7618 to call.

But I know it’s about the implied odds of what you can do with a stack of 20k.

If you fold, your M will be about 7 or 8… Not exactly critical… but enough that you can steal and hurt people with a few all in moves.

I would feel comfortable letting this go and trying to recoup the loss later. I understand your point about “winning it” but just because you’re letting this go doesn’t mean that you can’t win. If you double up within the next level or two, you’ll still be a force. My point is that letting this go doesn’t mean you’ve given up on winning this thing.

I do understand your reasoning for the call. But I personally would lay this hand down and try to double up later mainly because of your M.

I’m not saying you’re wrong, just offering a different perspective.

As in all poker – it depends.

I like the initial raise. The fact that he went all in means his range of hands include AK, AQ, AJ, AT, QQ, JJ, TT and maybe KQ, 99 depending on the player. For the same reasons you listed in the previous hand I wouldn’t put him on AA or KK. You are either slightly ahead or way behind. I would fold here. You still enough “M” left to make a move later and double up.

Now, if this player was raising or going all in a lot near the bubble and your thought he was just trying to steal the pot by all means I would of called.

I wonder if you had gone all in instead of just raising what that player would of done with jacks?


I tend to think you could have done both. Limp in with the 8’s, try and hit a set, do not call his all in after your limp..
but I do not think it was wrong to play that way against the big stack..

For me I would have waited to make my big move until two people went out and I made a few bucks.. I mean you spent hours getting to where you were, whats a few more minutes of waiting.. You still have a 8-9K stack when you make the money and can still scare people when you move all in.. I do not see the downside of waiting out two people..

I agree with the comments above. for my style of playing I probably would not have even raised with 88’s and have just folded to a large raise but since you did raise I would have folded anyway to the large re-raise. you have to think you are a coinflip at best and why race for all those reasons above. You are probably better than half the field thats left and can make moves later when you are in the money or put your money in a more favorable situation or when you have more fold equity. I do understand your point about having a huge stack and going for the big score but I just think the timing was wrong in this situation.

PS you need to read a book called “How to Win With 2 Outs or Less”

I will add my two cents here Jodi, even though I talked to you briefly last night after my blog monitoring:)

One thing I dont think you should ever do is open-limp in a pot from the hijack. Not only do you have position on the rest of the field, but there is simply too much fold equity in raising, especially when anteing (is that a word?) has commenced. Actually, I almost never open-limp into a pot in no-limit, period, but if you ever do it, this is not the situation.

Now after your raise, you have a fairly close decision once the button pushes. There is about 12400 in the pot, and it is just over 7600 for you to call—as you said last night, almost 2-1. It is pretty tough to fold with 8 when you are getting those kind of odds. What kind of read (if any?) did you have on the player?
Another consideration is your stack—you would be left with about 7600. One round is costing you 1200, so your M is just over 6, which to me anyway, is nearing the critical stage.

I think if your read on this guy is he would only do this with AK or a high pocket, then you can fold…but absent that information, and if there is any possibility he would make the move with AQ, AJ, KQ or a small pair (which plenty of people do), I make the call every time.

I agree with you, I call here with 8s, just b/c i figure it is a race situation and like you, its final table or bust, why play all that long to make pennies? nice blog

I think this is an easy fold. You were not going to be in critical condition by doing so either, and if I am going down in flames with 8’s, then its because I got my chips in the pot first. I aint going down in flames calling off all my stack.

My 2 cents

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