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  • Final Table ICM Jailhouse

    Posted by mikey_aces_0023 on March 17, 2024 at 12:53 pm

    Maybe a bit dramatic, but it got your situation. Here’s the situation: It’s the final table of the #10+$1 Ignition ‘Monster Stack’, $6k guarantee. One player has been eliminated, hero has 23 bb and sits 6/8 in chips. Chip leader has 45 bb, second has 36 bb, five players are between 22-27 bb, and one player has 9 bb.

    Payout structure: $96 for 8th, #137 7th, $194 6th, $274 5th, $387 4th, $546 3rd, $773 2nd, $1089 1st.

    With play being 8-handed, UTG min-raises to 2 bb (27 bb starting stack), hero in UTG+1 has AKs and 3-bet to 5.7 bb (23 bb stack at start of time). The short stack positioned in UTG+3/HJ 4-bet jams, action folds back to the original raiser who jams as well… nasty spot.

    A few other key considerations: two hands before this, hero 3-bet this same player, who ended up folding pre-flop. Have not played with this player prior to final table. A few questions to consider, will post my thoughts below with thoughts, but what would you do?

    – How would you play this hand pre-flop? Options are call, 3-bet (if so, what sizing), or 3-bet jam (23 bb stack)?

    – Given the action that unfolds behind, do you call, or fold (if fold, will be left with 18.4 bb)? What is your calling range in this situation?

    Thoughts/End results:

    – Tanked for almost my entire time bank before making a decision. After thinking it through, I decided my calling range should be QQ-AA, and AKs, QQ feels a bit loose, I decided I would fold AKo here which feels a bit nitty. Rationale behind includes that we are currently in 6/8. We are risking our tournament life, but we just did 3-bet this tournament two hands earlier, so he may think we are 3-betting a bit wider now due to his fold earlier. IMO the short stack who 4-bet jammed has the widest range after UTG 5-bet jams, so if both the short stack and myself were to bust out on this hand, we would get one pay jump, although modest.

    – If we win, we now are the clear chip leader and will have a significant separation with play being 7-handed, and one player being crippled, who is in bb next hand.

    – Blockers: feel one, or both players likely have relevant blockers (A and/or K), which potentially reduces our equity, or could simply have us dominated with AA or KK… but we do block those.

    – Fold: 18 bb still a good amount to work with moving forward.

    – Pre-flop: With 23 bb, I do think 3-bet is the best option here. If the situation were to evolve where not only the short-stack goes all in, but then another player behind him/her cold-4-bet all-in, then the original raiser UTG calls/5-bets, then feel AKs is an easy fold in this situation. AKs too flat to flat pre-flop, even against UTG range, and forces the original raiser to define his range, as it did in this situation.

    – Sizing: I did opt for smaller 3-bet sizing (relative to 3x), 3-bet to 5.6 bb, which I still feel is a good amount, think 3-betting to 5-5.4 bb gives villain odds that are just a bit too good, but curious in other ICM situations if going as low as 5.0 bb (or lower?) does play more optimal? Could maybe see that with AA or KK, but that feels too much like AA or KK IMO, so prefer 5.6 bb here to remain more balanced.


    – We called it off. Valued the prospect of potentially winning the tournament and becoming the defector chip leader with a premium right here, knowing that I’d likely be flipping against one opponent, and potentially likely that I’d have another opponent dominated, and blocking the other combos of AA/KK out there… maybe chopping with another AK, but having suited gives me some more potential for a flush.

    – Result: short stack had AQo, UTG had QQ. All rags, we turned a flush draw, but couldn’t get there on the river, GG, did end up laddering up one more spot.

    – Don’t have access to a solver, but some charts (non-ICM) on show in this position with 20-25 bb we should call off 99+, AQs+. Condensing it for ICM, think range I listed above is in the ballpark, maybe AKo/AKs are pure fold here, maybe a mix based on player type. Do think the 3-bet play two hands before likely widens villain’s shoving range just a bit.

    – Realize I just may be results oriented here and just need to call that one off and accept it. If it’s one of the other players who’s not the short stack, that complicates things even further knowing there’s potentially more opportunity to ladder up, and if UTG continues to shove if a bigger stack 4-b, then it widens range even wider and maybe we get away from AKs.

    Appreciate your thoughts in advance!


    mikey_aces_0023 replied 1 month ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • jim

    March 18, 2024 at 8:49 pm

    Hi Mikey we had a spirited discussion about this post on the forums podcast tonight – it will come out in April. Tough spot! Thanks for posting.

  • eanderson85

    March 19, 2024 at 9:01 pm

    Any chance you can ladder up without risk you should probably take it. Flipping isn’t close to good enough to call. Even Aces lose 19% of the time against Kings. You need to weigh how much you want to win vs how much you want the money. I think anytime there are two all-ins and you are covered at the final table, you either have to have and M less than 2, or have a reason other than math to call.

    • mikey_aces_0023

      March 20, 2024 at 10:01 pm

      Appreciate your feedback, that did influence my decision, was much more excited about being a defect chip leader and having a much improved shot to win vs folding and being last in chips, then in BB in two hands vs the pay jumps at hand… didn’t feel like a total punt, bottom of range call, and was okay if what happened happened. Think if top three in chips in that instance, becomes ‘easier’ fold, but still a tough spot.

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