Poker Players: Help Me Play These Hands

September 16, 2012

This weekend I played some big poker events and had a number of hands that gave me headaches and made me wonder what the right play was. I’m curious how my peers think I should have handled each situation. Hopefully I get some good feedback on these hands and if I don’t get much, I’m going to start tagging you fools on Facebook. When I get a number of responses, I’ll update this page with the result of the hand, my analysis, and what I think is ultimately the right play. If you don’t understand the poker lingo or abbreviations, then you probably won’t be too interested in this post anyway.

Some Background: $300 buy-in tournament. My table draw is terrible. I have two tough players to my direct left and one of them has already amassed a monstrous chip lead at the table. I pegged two players I wanted to get my chips from but they both busted out before I won a single hand. I have one super LAG at the table that I haven’t decided if he’s a good player or not and everyone else is weak tight. I’ve had minimal playable hands and the only hand I’ve shown is QQ, which I made almost nothing with due to board texture. I probably have a weak tight image at this point.

Hand #1: Last hand before break. Blinds are 100-200 and I have 8375 (~42 BB, M of ~28) and open to 600 UTG with AK. Folds around to the very LAG player in SB. He ships for 12K+. What do I do?

Hand #2: Blinds are 300-600 with a 50 ante. I have like 12K (20 BB, M of 9) and open to 1600 with AK from MP. It folds around to SB, the good player with the monster stack, and he 3! to 6500 or so, leaving himself clearly priced in against a shove. He’s been playing a lot of hands, but this is the first time I’ve seen him 3! pre. What do I do?

Hand #3: I’ve switched tables. Blinds are 600-1200 with a 100 ante. I have just over 15K (12.5 BB, M of 5.5). UTG (the good player from the last hand described… still with a massive stack) limps in, UTG+2 (solid, straight-forward) makes it 3500 to go, old guy (playing kind of loose and weird) in MP makes it 8K to go–leaving about 1.5K behind–and I’m next to act with AK. What do I do?

Hand #4: Different tournament. $500 buy-in. I’ve been relatively active, playing good positional poker and taking down pots by attacking weakness. Of my 8 opponents at the table, I think 6 of them are definitely weak players I want to tangle with, one guy seems to be playing straight forward small ball poker, and another player looks pretty LAG and seems slightly dangerous, but I did see him make a move that made me question if he really knows what’s up or if he’s just a poser. My table draw is way better than it was in the last tournament and I feel like I’m the strongest player at the table. Level is 100-200, my stack is over 11K and two of the weak players limp in front of me. I limp in LP with KJ and we see a Q82 rainbow flop five ways. Everyone checks to me on the flop and it looks like a pretty good spot to bet since I’d expect a queen to lead out and there are only gutshot straight draws available. I expect a bet of 2/3 the pot to take it down a pretty good percentage of the time. The blinds both fold, but both the limpers call. With only weak draws possible, at least one of my opponents probably has a made hand and my decision to shut it down becomes even easier when another 8 hits the board on the turn. It checks around and I’m quite happy to see a King peel off on the river and plan to value bet if it checks to me or hope to pick off a weak bet on the river. The first player bets 750 and the next one raises to 1500. I don’t have much respect for either player and the one that’s raising has been playing a bit goofy. What do I do?

Hand #5: Level is 200-400-50, I have 13K, which is 32.5 bigs and an M of about 12. The small baller opens to 875, nearly a minimum raise and one that he has made 3 times in the last orbit. It folds to me with JJ in the big blind. What do I do?

Hand #6: Level is 200-400-50 still. My stack is down to about 8200 (20.5 bigs, M of about 8). It folds around to the small blind and he raises to 1200. Again, this is a weak player, but in similar situations in the past he has completed from the SB instead of raising. One other note, I have had a rough level and my image is not that great right now. I look down at 33 in the big blind, what do I do?


  1. so 2 and 5 are the toughest spots in my opinion.

    1. easy fold.
    2. you could easily justify goin with your AK and trying to gain some momentum…but at the same time you could just as easily decide to find another spot. youre definitely facing a call. call, fold. its all the same. and theres no reraise button….
    3. easy push. one of those spots where its right there where the blind levels are high enough and youre far enough in the tournament that you gotta make your stand. or face potentially withering away. with the pre deal pot size with the antes….go for it no matter if you have a strong player raise with a weak player all but all in reraise ahead of you. great hand. you have two hands that have you dominated. time to gamble.
    4. pretty easy fold on the end. i smell on 8 from the guy that raised it to 1500. but who knows could be some dumbshit trying to get value out of K10…..or KQ. fold though. too many outcomes that you would not be happy about. the 750 bettor could have anything really from the way youre talking. im a huge fan of the squeeze play pre flop here though.
    5. reraise or call….reraise is the simplest action and gains you the most info in my opinion. a call is aight but it kinda leaves you in the dark for the flop. i would sometimes call and proceed with the hand cautiously since im out of position. maybe throw out a bet on the right textured board and fold to a raise? kinda depends on how my tournaments going at that point and how my table and the player im up against is playing..
    6. easy fold. you got 20 BBs. dont flip for em.

  2. 1-3 all in 4 call 56 all in

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