Raise / folding 88 on the bubble

This is from a spot that a friend of mine posted on the STTF on 2+2.  This is a 9 seat STT on Merge.  The BB player was a good reg that hero had some history with in these type of spots.  In this particular hand hero had reason to believe that the BB was shoving back at him with a pretty wide range in order to force him to fold.  Here is the hand:

Merge – $20+$2|<> NL – Holdem – 4 players Hand converted by PokerTracker 3
UTG: 2,754.00

Hero (BTN): 3,900.00

SB: 1,590.00

BB: 5,256.00
SB posts SB 100.00, BB posts BB 200.00
Pre Flop: (300.00) Hero has 8 8
fold, Hero raises to 400.00, fold, BB raises to 5,256.00 and is all-in, Hero calls 3,500.00 and is all-in

I spent some time reviewing this hand and taking a look at a few of the different scenarios.  Obviously how we approach this hand depends almost entirely on how the BB will react.  Below is how I setup the hand, in both SNG Wiz and ICMIZER.  Note that I could not adjust the buy-in for this custom tournament that I set up in SNG Wiz so dollar amounts do not reflect a $22 but the concept still applies.


On the surface based on the ranges that I assigned it looks like a slightly favorable push for hero.  In this instance however based on the edge that I would assign hero (I used 0.24) I believe shoving is slightly -$EV.  Especially considering that we have a 20 BB stack with plenty of room to apply our bubble skills in future hands.  Open folding certainly does not seem correct here.  We decided in this case not to shove so that leaves us with the option of raise/fold or raise/call.

ICM at start of hand:

UTG (2754)                $42.11

Hero (3900)                 $51.47

SB (1590)                    $27.09

BB (5256)                   $59.34

Let’s take a look at the hand in ICMIZER, since I believe it is more exact.  Without the edge and using the same ranges as we did in SNG Wiz it has this as a slightly favorable shove.  Not my preferred play though since it potentially costs us all of our tournament equity along with the edge that I expect hero has in future hands.

Note that the ICM for hero if he folds is $51.68.  ICM if hero shoves is $51.83.

Let’s consider the raise/fold option.  Here are the resulting chip stacks and ICM values for the scenarios that can occur.  I am making some assumptions about the shove ranges for the players in the blinds.  My main purpose here is to lay out my thought process behind this hand.  Adjust the ranges if you want and see for yourself how it affects our $EV.  Also for simplicity sake I am lumping in the scenario where SB shoves and BB overshoves into the BB shoves scenario.  I am also assuming that hero never folds heads up against a reshove from SB.


ICM if hero makes min r400, SB & BB fold (~60% likelihood of occurrence):

UTG (2754)                $42.33

Hero (4200)                 $53.57

SB (1490)                    $25.68

BB (5056)                   $58.43


ICM if hero makes min r400, SB folds, BB shoves and hero folds (~30% likelihood of occurrence):

UTG (2754)                $42.72

Hero (3500)                 $49.10

SB (1490)                    $26.12

BB (5756)                   $62.05


ICM if hero makes min r400, SB shoves, BB folds, hero calls and wins (~5% likelihood of occurrence).  Hero wins 51% of the time against range of 44+, A7s+, A9o+, KJs+:

UTG (2754)                $51.89

Hero (5690)                 $65.25

BB (5056)                   $62.86


ICM if hero makes min r400, SB shoves, BB folds, hero calls and loses (~5% likelihood of occurrence).  Hero loses 49% of the time against range of 44+, A7s+, A9o+, KJs+:

UTG (2754)                $40.58

Hero (2310)                 $35.58

SB (3380)                    $46.36

BB (5056)                   $57.48


Calculation for r400/fold:  $53.57(.6)+49.10(.3)+65.25(.05)+$35.58(.05) = $50.97

Raise/fold is not appealing in this case.  If however BB is only shoving back at you 20% of the time it becomes a good play:

$53.57(.7)+$49.10(.2)+$65.25(.05)+$35.58(.05) = $52.37

Let’s take a look at the raise/call option:

ICM if hero r400, SB folds, BB shoves, hero calls and wins (hero wins 55% of the time against BB range of 55+, A2s+, K5s+, Q7s+, J8s+, T8s+, 98s, A7o+, A5o, K9o+, Q9o+, J9o+, T9o):

UTG (2754)                $47.07

Hero (7900)                 $71.99

SB (1490)                    $1490

BB (1356)                   $1356

Hero obviously loses all of his equity by calling a shove from BB and losing the hand.

Calculation for r400/call (30% reshove from BB):  $53.57(.6)+$71.99(.165)+0(.135)+65.25(.05)+35.58(.05) = $49.06

What if BB is reshoving 35%?

Calculation then becomes:  $53.57(.6)+$71.99(.199)+0(.151)+65.25(.05)+35.58(.05) = $51.51

What if BB is reshoving 40%?

Calculation then becomes:  $53.57(.6)+$71.99(.233)+0(.167)+65.25(.05)+35.58(.05) = $53.96

Conclusion that I would draw from the raise/call option is that if BB is reshoving ~38% of the time it becomes a good play.  Especially considering meta game considerations.  In the case of this hand it is probably a pretty close decision, depending on your read on BB player’s range.  Also note that if BB is reshoving with a tighter range (around 20-23% or tighter), then raise/fold is the best play.  It might seem exploitable to raise / fold here, but most players will not be capable of shoving wide enough from the BB against your steal raise.  If you gain information to the contrary, then switch to raise/call or even just make the break evenish shove which at least is unexploitable.

Regarding the option of limping this is not a move that I would normally make (in fact I cannot remember having ever open limped in this spot).  But that being said maybe try this once in a while you will probably at least confuse the BB on what you are up to. 

Additional considerations are what if BB flats (which in reality he will do some of the time).  We would prefer that he just fold but I think this is a favorable spot for us considering that we have managed the pot size with our min raise and we are plenty deep enough to maneuver post flop.  So this scenario I feel adds value to the min raise and evaluate approach to the hand.

Finally, this post by Slim Pickens is a great read and a lot of these concepts apply to this hand.  In this case though I like raise/call better than raise/fold most of the time based on our reads on BB.



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