Why is it that so many players go all in in poker tournaments preflop when they could just as easily call and hope to hit the flop? It’s very common on free poker sites but also, surprisingly, in money games.
The reason, of course, if the player is simply not doing a free poker game chip fling, is to steal the pot. the question in the serious use of the all in then is, if called, what benefits does going all-in give?
I will look at 2 hands to analyse why:
- Blinds: 6k/12k
- A has Q-Q raises to 36k
- B has 10-10 calls 36k
- C has K-K reraises to 140k
- A reraises all-in (Pot 989k)
- B folds
- C calls 643k (Pot 1.632m)
Board ended Jc-Jd-6c-Qd-3d
A went all-in for the reason that by three-betting, he could push one of B and C from the pot, and if C (the likely caller) calls, A hoped that it will be A-K or A-x, where he has still an edge.
But it turns out, C had K-K, so A was the underdog.
Yet A won the hand with a Full House (Queens over Jacks).
But if A just called, what would happen then is that B would also call, and so it will be a three-way pot.?
On a FLOP of Jc-Jd-6c, C would have position over A, whose Queens are weakened as the Board is paired, so if one of B or C bluffs, A will have a difficult time playing.
Plus if A decides to play on strong he may make B and C believe he is on a J and they may both fold.
Or later on the hand, if A, who hit his Full House on the turn, suddenly played strongly, the remaining player/s may fold because their hands are not so strong enough.
The result either way will be that A wins less than if he’d gone all in and taken the hand.
So one reason for moving all-in preflop is: Your chip stack is so low that any decent hand you have will be sufficient for an all-in (on the above, Q-Q should be played cautiously with two more players and a reraise on the Flop), and it pays to win more chips than less if you are to get back in the tournament Cmd368.
HAND #2 – After some hand action
A has 8s-8h moves all-in 387k
B has 7d-7c, calls 307k (Pot 819k)
They could both have played safe. But A decided to gamble with a common all-in hand.
Common all-in hands include Pairs, A-x and any two face cards (preferably suited).
So another reason is: If you don’t have A-A or K-K but a common all-in hand, you will be called also with a common all-in hand.
With Pairs vs. two overcards, it does not much matter what you have, because you’re both even-money. With Pairs vs. Pairs, you may be the underdog but you can also become the favourite if you get lucky.
With any other cards, you either have two live cards or at worst, say A-K vs A-Q, if you have the A-Q, you still have a 25% possibility.
How did the hand turn out?
It ended with 5s-9s-6h-2c-8d. So A hit a Set, B hit a Straight. B eliminated A. It doesn’t matter; we can also imagine a situation that B was the one who moved all-in and A called. B hit his Straight still.
But if B just decided to see a Flop, what would happen? A can push B out by representing a Nine on the Flop and the Turn so that B will fold (unless B has the courage to move all-in).
Also, if B hit the river Straight, A will be unwilling to play the Set he has. B will win fewer chips than he would (similar to HAND #1). But this example gives us another reason.
You move all-in so that no one can push you away later if your marginal hand beats a more marginal hand later, and so your marginal hand will evolve into a strong hand uncontested, unpushed.
Here is a clearer case: Suppose it’s A-10 vs 7-7.
The board might finish 10-K-K-Q-5, with overcards there’s a Straight chance, and on a paired board the 7-7 can pressure the A-10 at some point. Or it may be 10-K-Q-4-J and the one with the A-10 will be out of the pot before the river if the one with 7-7 plays aggressively.