Seeking clarity around bubble play

wnoc001wnoc001 Red Chipper Posts: 6 ✭✭
$16.50 freeze-out on Pokerstars, 152 paid, 168 left.

Folds to hero in HJ with 14.5 BBs (players behind all between 15 and 30 BBs).
Hero dealt AJo

1st problem- I'm torn between raising or open jamming in this spot. I think with the bubble looming jamming is probably the safe play, but I decide to be greedy and go for extra value by raising to 2.2BBs.

Get called by CO and BB, leaving 8 BBs in the pot.
Flop is T94hh. BB checks.

2nd problem- Well now I've backed myself into a pretty precarious spot, with 12.3 BBs behind. From what I'm learning about calling ranges, I regard the T9 to be kind of scary cards. Nevertheless, I throw caution to the wind and jam it in thinking I still have fold equity and 2 overs and a ton of value to gain. I'm not trying to hold on for a min cash, I want to build a stack.

The result was that I got called by BB with J3hh- so I actually got called by marginally worse- but he hit the flush on the river.

My first question regards playing AJo from the HJ on 15bbs. Should I be raising or jamming here? Should the fact we're close to the bubble cause any meaningful change to the way I should play it?

My second question is whether I made a reckless jam on the flop. I happened to get it in good and lose, but I suspect I'm at a range disadvantage on that board and probably should be willing to give it up?


  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 3,654 -
    Ask yourself how raising to 2.2x actually gains you "extra value". You have four players left to act, two of whom have position on you. Are you raise-calling here? The chances of getting shoved on by competent players is high. It's probably a +cEV play, albeit marginal, but I doubt it's +$EV this close to the bubble.

    So, yeah, you're a little deep, but I think shoving is probably better preflop.

    On the flop, heads up we can have a conversation about betting or jamming, but with that texture against two opponents I think it's borderline suicidal. It matters a bit if either of them have you well covered.
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  • MnpokerMnpoker Red Chipper Posts: 139 ✭✭
    Since you were covered, and only had 14.5 BB and you stated that you don’t care about the min cash you should be shoving or folding. I am never folding AJ in this spot you are very low on chips and you must chip up if you want to make a deep run
  • MnpokerMnpoker Red Chipper Posts: 139 ✭✭
    Also with 16 to go until the money I would not be going into bubble play mode yet
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 3,654 -
    Mnpoker wrote: »
    Also with 16 to go until the money I would not be going into bubble play mode yet

    With only 10% of the current field between you and the money I think you have to.
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  • wnoc001wnoc001 Red Chipper Posts: 6 ✭✭
    Thanks for your responses. I understand that the flop jam was bad, even while making it, probably let some sunk cost tilt take over.

    Regarding pre-flop. I recently finished Fox's excellent course on tournament play and I recognise I was in the 're-steal zone', with a stack size players behind should be willing to jam over the top of me. HOWEVER, the table play was very tight and passive and I just didn't believe it was likely that any of those left to act would shove over me with a worse holding than AJ. If I had thought that was possibility I'd have jammed myself (and maybe looked to raise-call with stronger holdings).

    GameKat says to ask myself how a raise of 2.2x gains extra value. Is it the sizing or the raise that's a problem? I got the BB to call with a dominated hand, so doesn't that count as extra value? And the CO called and then folded, so isn't that extra value? Obviously I only wanted 1 caller so the CO calling bloated the pot and caused me to make a mistake because of the low SPR.

    I guess I do find 15bbs an awkward stack size to negotiate i.e. do we just play jam or fold or can we sometimes see flops? And I thought that AJo in HJ really felt like a hand to me that was in the margins between those two lines. But in hindsight, given proximity to bubble, now I think I should have trusted my original instinct to jam there.

  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 3,654 -
    If you're going to raise here, 2.2x is fine purely as a sizing question. For it to be a route to extra value, you need to be called, right? So if you can somehow pull a lever and make sure that the remaining preflop action is everyone folding to the BB who calls, then yes, you've almost certainly just gained extra value. The problem is most of the other branches of the outcome tree likely reduce your ability to realize equity.
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  • wnoc001wnoc001 Red Chipper Posts: 6 ✭✭
    edited July 14
    I wanted to ask a follow question on this thread. One of the things GameKat said above was that competent players are going to jam on me- and I've been thinking, just how wide are these players jamming?

    I was in a similar situation today. $16.50 freezeout, only this time bubble has burst and I'm in the on the button and in position to squeeze.
    Blinds 1k/2k.
    CU (35k) opens to 6k
    Hero (27k) on BU, SB (14k), BB (15k)
    So there's 11k in the middle and I have Q8dd

    I thought this seemed to be a decent spot to try and steal, but after going back and forth in mind, hit the fold. BB ends up shoving AJo and getting tank called by CU with KQo. Turns out I'd have gotten lucky and hit my 8. Results aside, did I make the right fold or is this a good spot to steal?
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 3,654 -
    I think it's a pretty easy fold, although whenever cut-off opens and I'm on the button I'm immediately thinking about jamming. The main issue is that a 3x open looks like a raise-call given how much you have to jam in their eye. To put it another way, your stack is towards the bottom of resteal depth against a normal open; against a big one your shove gives them a decent price and they shouldn't be folding much.
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