Friday, July 11, 2008

Isolate or Flat? Tournament Situations With All-In Short Stacks

Here is a situation which is suprisingly common.

Someone is short in the mid to late stages of a tournament and shoves in their last 7 blinds (for example) from early position.... the table, including you, are 30 to 40 blinds deep (with variations around this level of course) and someone flats from middle position - the question is: What kind of hands are they doing this with??

Well, in the time honoured Plan3t Gong tradition of providing something to think about, rather than answers here are some ideas:

- From observations at the lower limits (up to about $30 MTTs) I see the flatting-ranges as very much player dependant... an inexperienced player doing this with the 'medium' part of their range (77 to JJ, A10+ or KQ for example). While the 'stronger player' would tend to raise to isolate with these hands (+ QQ / AQs / AK) and is more likely to flat with AA / KK hoping that someone behind tries to squeeze them out with a big raise.

- The second consideration is whether an opponent is capable or willing to 'check down' a hand with the shorty all-in. If a player has checked one down in the past they may see this as a 'natural' play and expect to do it again... if this is the case then it follows that they would try and get more value from the premium end of their range by raising pre flop - again giving us the 'medium to medium-strong' part of the range.

- Finally, the stage the tournament is in... whether the money bubble is approaching or already passed will affect these ranges. Many players in the lower limits will shed their weak-tight bubble strategy once ITM... flatting might now be a tricky play with the stronger hands once again.

Anyway... next time someone flats a shorty all-in you not only need to decide what hands they do this with - you need to decide how much of this range they will call your re-raise with!

GL at the tables, Mark

No comments: