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Big Chick

June 20, 2012

Recently I was playing in a tourney at the Hamburg Masters and was confronted with a situation that I would like to share with you all. Midway through Day 1 of the Hamburg Masters I was dealt Ah-Qc. I was sitting in the cutoff and had a comfortable 50BB stack. The hijack who has fewer chips, maybe 30BB, opens to 3BB. I call. The button calls (he has about the same amount of chips as I do), both blinds fold! So we see a flop 3 handed, me being in the middle of the sandwich.

The flop comes Ac-Kc-8d. I hit top pair and my kicker is top (and I have the backdoor nut flush draw)! The hijack checks (I would have expected a c-bet), I check to keep the pot under control and not having to face a raise (which I would have to call), the button bets 7BB (which is exactly what I was hoping for since that keeps the pot size manageable if I just have to call a bet and it keeps my hand deceptive).

Then the initial raiser calls and so do I. The pot now has around about 32BB. The turn is an 8c and the hijack shoves his remaining 20BB in the pot. After long deliberation I fold despite the fact that I have the nut flush draw at this point (and still my top pair and top kicker). It’s a tough fold since if I made my hand I will get catapulted to the top of the field (depending on what the button does behind me) but if I miss I will be either crippled or out. This is a point where I am either way ahead or way behind so no ‘regular’ pot odd analysis helps here. Sure, in a cash game where we are deep stacked and implied odds are present it’s an auto call but here I have no implied odds.

The hijack is all in, which will give me 30BB if I win, and if the button decides to call my shove and I win I will get his 50BB but no more and there will be no betting on the river. So I am looking at immediate odds of investing my remaining 40BB to win either 62 or 102BB’s. So based on pot odds to qualify a call, my hand must have at least 40% equity (and that only by the most favorable outcome when the button calls as well with a weaker hand).

But I have either 75% or 25% equity depending if one of the 2 players has already a made flush. If so, I have only 7 outs (from the clubs) and 2 aces and 2 eights for the full house. Those 11 outs on the turn are not enough to justify a call. If none of the two players has a made flush I am most likely way ahead.

So it’s a tough decision but since I can afford to lose my 10BB here and still be in a comfortable position with 40BB to choose a better spot to play a big pot and the fact that I am facing two opponents, the situation made me go for the safer route.

The outcome was that the button folded as well and the guy who shoved showed a king. So both had no flush and my top top was good! However I would not have gotten the chips from the button, and then the price to call is even worse. So I was happy with my decision even if half the table did not understand why I folded the nut flush draw with top pair. But as I said it’s a draw and my made hand is only 1 pair and I am behind against a two pair and a set which is a possibility at this point when playing 3-handed.

Overall I finished the day 5th in chips and was, for a short time, chip leader. So there came better spots to play big pots as expected!

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