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So I love poker and I also hate poker. I’m moderately frustrated that I’ve had some amazingly deep runs in the past few days on 888 and not managed to turn them into anything but moderate cashes. But here are a couple of hands that might give you something to think about. The things I love and hate about poker. Here are 3 hands from my tournaments yesterday.

How to play a set vs the big stack in position

No Limit Hold’em Tournament T400/T800
Buy-in: $2 + $0.20
888 Poker
8 players
Formatted by Poker HUD for Mac and Windows

UTG – UTG (T15,736)
UTG+1 – UTG+1 (
MP – MP (
MP2 – MP2 (
CO – CO (
BTN – Hero (
SB – SB (
BB – BB (

Preflop: (T2,000, 8 players) Hero is BTN with T♥ T♣
3 folds, MP2 raises to T2,200, 1 fold, Hero calls T2,200, 2 folds

So I have TT on the Button vs the table big stack. I have around 50 big blinds. I don’t want to 3 bet here and make the pot get too big with the mid/high pair. So I flat the raise from Mid position big stack. I don’t want to over-represent my hand and be playing for all my stack on a flip.

Flop: 5♥ T♠ 6♣ (T6,400, 2 players – MP2: T53,307, Hero: T41,951)
MP2 bets T4,000, Hero calls T4,000

I hit the dream set of Tens and now need to work out how to get paid off. If I go off here, I make hands like AK, AQ fold. The board is pretty dry. So if I go off or raise then only a big pair or lower set calls me. So I think we smooth call every day of the week here.

Turn: J♦ (T14,400, 2 players – MP2: T49,307, Hero: T37,951)
MP2 bets T8,000, Hero calls T8,000

Turn is a J which now makes JJ ahead. I’m still totally in love with my hand and now we get value from things like KJ or AJ that c-bet the flop. Again it’s not super scary and AK might fire a 2nd barrel for the inside straight draw.

River: 3♣ (T30,400, 2 players – MP2: T41,307, Hero: T29,951)
MP2 bets T13,600, Hero raises to T29,951 (all-in), MP2 calls T16,351

River isn’t scary and now we tank and shove all in over his bet. He did tank for a long time and made the hero call with KJ.

Total Pot: T90,302
MP2 shows
J♥ K♠
Hero shows
T♥ T♣

Hero wins T90,302


Is AKs really the King of all tournaments?

When you have a loose table image and a big stack behind you. Sometimes picking up AKs in early position feels scary. Because it is so hard to lay down to a lot of action. Especially mid-tournament when the short stacks are shoving with wide Ax ranges and small pockets. We do well with little invested. The big stack behind me in question has 3-bet me before and we’ve been duking it out a bit. So I know he is after me.

No Limit Hold’em Tournament T200/T400
Buy-in: $5 + $0.50
888 Poker
9 players
Formatted by Poker HUD for Mac and Windows

UTG – UTG (T11,620)
UTG+1 – Hero (
UTG+2 – UTG+2 (
MP – MP (
MP2 – MP2 (
CO – CO (
SB – SB (
BB – BB (

Preflop: (T1,050, 9 players) Hero is UTG+1 with A♦ K♦
1 fold, Hero raises to T1,125, UTG+2 raises to T1,850, 3 folds, BTN calls T1,850, SB calls T1,650, BB calls T1,450, Hero calls T725

I raise pre and get a 3 bet with 2 cold calls from short stacks. I really don’t think I can shove here with the big stack behind me. My plan is to smooth call and look to get in on any reasonable flop with an A or K. There is an argument for 4 betting here and isolating either the short stacks or getting more info on how strong the big stack is. Because his 3 bet looks suspiciously small. But if he shoves, what do we do? Let AK go? I’ve thought about this hand a lot and I think that is probably the best play here. Stick a 4 bet in about 4k, if he shoves, we lay it down. If the short stack shoves and he folds, we call.

Flop: K♠ T♣ 5♣ (T9,700, 5 players – BTN: T34,671, SB: T12,504, BB: T9,390, Hero: T32,387, UTG+2: T36,867)
SB checks, BB checks, Hero checks,
UTG+2 bets T9,700, 1 fold, SB raises to T12,504 (all-in), BB calls T9,390 (all-in), Hero raises to T32,387 (all-in), UTG+2 calls T22,687

The flop is a King so we hit one of the scenarios we talked about. This is my check shove spot. Big stack bets and the two short stacks shove. So I’m happy to shove over the top. When the big stack insta-calls, I take a big gulp.

7♣ (T96,368, 4 players, 3 all-in – SB: T0, BB: T0, Hero: T0, UTG+2: T4,480)

River: A♠ (T96,368, 4 players, 3 all-in – SB: T0, BB: T0, Hero: T0, UTG+2: T4,480)

Total Pot: T96,368
SB shows
T♥ T♦
BB shows
9♣ 6♣
Hero shows
A♦ K♦
UTG+2 shows
K♥ K♣

So we get a cooler with the KK behind and we possibly could have got away with the 4-bet line. We were deep in the tournament with an above average stack. We don’t have to get invested for all our chips to the only bigger stack on the table. AK is not always a 4-bet and snap all in and we should always remember that. One to remember for the future!

BB wins T47,260
UTG+2 wins T9,342
UTG+2 wins T39,766

AA is the dream when down to 12

So we are down to the last 12 of a 250 man tournament. We get dealt AA UTG on a 6 handed table and I’ve been stealing a lot of blinds from early, mid and late position. So my image is splashy. Which is great in this spot.

No Limit Hold’em Tournament T2,500/T5,000
Buy-in: $2 + $0.20
888 Poker
6 players
Formatted by Poker HUD for Mac and Windows

UTG – Hero (T130,345)
MP – MP (
CO – CO (
SB – SB (
BB – BB (

Preflop: (T11,250, 6 players) Hero is UTG with A♦ A♣
Hero raises to T13,125, 1 fold, CO calls T13,125, 3 folds

We get flatted by the short stack who we cover 2/1. We are pretty much going on any flop.

Flop: 7♦ 4♥ 3♥ (T37,500, 2 players – Hero: T116,595, CO: T53,196)
Hero bets T18,750, CO raises to T53,196 (all-in), Hero calls T34,446

Flop is kinda drawy but would induce a semi-bluff all in from most short stacks. I bet, he shoves, I insta call.

Turn: Q♥ (T143,892, 2 players, 1 all-in – Hero: T63,399, CO: T0)

River: J♦ (T143,892, 2 players, 1 all-in – Hero: T63,399, CO: T0)

Total Pot: T143,892
Hero shows
A♦ A♣
CO shows
4♣ 4♠

CO wins T143,892

We get shown the bad news and go out a few hands later. I think I played the short stack well but we ran into AK when we shoved the button with Q8o and we didn’t connect. Next time boys!


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