View Full Version : Ace-rag short-handed, to call or not to call?

01-31-2004, 02:14 AM
Hi All,

An interesting situation I've run into three or four times in recent SNGs:

Final table, last five or fewer, and I'm the chip leader. Obviously, by this time, the blinds are big and some of my opponents are getting desperate. I'm on the button, or in one of the blinds, with Ace-rag, and a shortish stack moves in ahead of me. To call or not to call?

I've taken to calling in most of these situations, and it's been surprisingly successful. More often than not, he has moved in on Kx, Qx, Jxs, or some such -- once it was T3o, a naked steal -- and I'm ahead if not dominating.

What experience have y'all had with this situation?


01-31-2004, 02:24 AM
In that situation as the chip leader I would call if I was able to get heads up. I don't think I want to be playing beyond the flop with Ax but this way I get to see all 5 cards for that one bet. To get heads up I may even consider a reraise if I think the rest of the table will fold.

For me the marginal calls come when I am limped to in the BB and I have those Ax hands and I get an Ace high flop. Usually I will bet only to be raised all in and then I have to fold. Because you are all in PF I think it makes it an easier play.

Tonight I saw a SS push in with 72x and my A5x from the BB was good. /images/graemlins/smile.gif

01-31-2004, 09:34 AM
Hi Cris,

For me this is a very situational-realated question. It depends first on how really big-stacked I am. As I see it, being simply the biggest stack, doesn't mean I should make any close call, especially if my lead is not so huge. If I'm the giant stack, it will be different of course.

Second, it depends on my reading of the player. There are players who play much too tight, and most of the time will just get eaten by the blinds eventually. If it's one of those, and I'm not huge stack, I will probably call only with A9 and above.

As a rule, I don't like calling these all-ins with less than A7-A6, because many times desperate stacks will go in with any ace, so with A5, for example, it's more probable I'm behind if he does have an ace. Unless he's very short and I'm big enough to take a risk with A5 against his A6, or hopefully Kx.

I think that as a big-stack, you are in a perfect situation to apply the gap-concept: so I'd say I rather attack with some really weak hands than call with marginal ones.

Only my thinking, and I play mostly 10-20$ SNG's...


Poker Jon
01-31-2004, 10:43 AM

Its an interesting question I think (and one that I was going to post!)

I don't think it neccesarily depends on your chip lead, but more on the size the stack that has pushed all in, relative to the total number of chips in play.

If they are pushing in with less than 7-8% of the total chips in play then I call with Ax (x being 5 or above). I think you have to be wary of doubling an opponent up, where they can then get within touching distance of my chips.

EG normal 1 table Stars satellite has 13,500 chips in play. If we are down to 4 and the player pushing in has less than T1000 then i call with AJ, A6, Ak etc If they have 1000-1500 then I have to have lot better hand, as I am giving them a realistic chance of winning the tournament (I would prob only call with AK or AQ - AJ tenously)

I do think, that one of the biggest leaks in a lot of online players games, is doubling people up too easily at the end of tournaments. I know that at times it is appropriate to call with any two cards, but you see it far too often in online play - its amazing how many times I have seen the short stack in 4th place win the tourney as people have doubled them up twice in quick successio with poor calls.


01-31-2004, 12:15 PM
I agree with Jon. Online players way too often double or even triple up the short stack by calling all-ins with Ax or worse. In fact it happens with such regularity that I have had SNG's where I don't catch any cards for almost and hour, but know that if I catch something, I'll likely get doubled up. I had one SNG recently where the first hand I won was hand 46 when I was down to the final 4 and only had 250 out of 10,000 in play...35 hands later I won it b/c a couple bigstacks were willing to make all-in calls with garbage hands (ie. 95o, Q7o, etc...)and helped me build a workable stack. It actually takes a lot of pressure off of good players because its not a huge concern if they are severely out chipped with 4-5 left because all it takes is one hand and they know they'll get a call or two.
Its different if the all-in is made b/c the BB is coming and it will put the person in anyway, but when someone has enough chips that doubling them up makes them a force in the tourney, why not let them steal the blind and take them out in a couple hands when the blinds hit them again? Once a good player gets his hands on some chips, he can use them much more effectively than the weaker players at the table. Im sure you've been able to frequently roll over tables once you have the chip lead.
There are times to make the call and times not to. Remember, even desperate all-ins are allowed to have good cards. Make them earn it, don't give it away for free.

01-31-2004, 03:55 PM
Let's look at the flip side and ask "As the short stack, what hands will I go all in with?"

Any pair above 5's.
KQs maybe KJs.
QJs - situational.

So if you look at what you would call with as the big stack - is that hand usually a favorite over what you'd need to shove all in yourself? Of course take into account that you probably play tighter than many so their standards for shoving in are probably even lower.

jerome baker
01-31-2004, 05:11 PM
if you call and lose and will still be in 2nd place (in terms of chips), then call. of course, just use this method 60- 80 percent of the times.