On Day 1b of February’s MSPT Canterbury Park, it was Level 11 (1,000/1,500/1,500) when Vic Peppe jammed for 24,100 from UTG+1 and a player in middle position called off his last 16,600. The hijack then called off his last 18,000 and action fell to Craig Trost in the cutoff. He jammed over the top for 30,300 total, chasing out the rest of the field.
Middle Position: K♣K♥
All four players held pocket pairs, but after the 3♠4♠8♠ flop, Peppe had the best chance at cracking the other three pairs with his flush draw. The 4♣ turn was a brick, but Peppe celebrated with a loud yell and a fist pump after the J♠ fell on the river, giving him a flush and a double knockout, while leaving Trost on fumes.
It seemed like a pretty straightforward hand, but we decided to consult poker pro Jonathan Little of PokerCoaching.com to get his take.
MSPT: What are your thoughts on Peppe’s jam UTG+1? Should he have considered a smaller raise instead?
Little: Middle pairs from early position always prove to be difficult to play when shallowstacked. If you go all in, everyone yet to act who has a premium hand will call, which is a bad result. If you min-raise with the intention of folding to someone else’s all in, you will often be folding a hand that has plenty of equity, which is not ideal. Folding is usually a bit too tight. In this situation, given many of the players yet to act had 10 big blinds or fewer, going all in is perfectly fine. If most of the players had 24,000 or more, min-raising or even folding may be ideal.
MSPT: If you were in Trost’s shoes what sort of things would be going through your mind? Would you ever consider folding the queens in this spot? Why or why not?
Little: Whenever there is an all in and a call, it is safe to assume the caller has something that is at least reasonable. When there is a second caller, you can be confident that player has a premium hand. So, how do queens fare against what should be a strong initial all in and two callers? It turns out it has right around 30% equity, assuming relatively tight, but not incredibly tight,
ranges. This is way more than the required 25% equity. It is also worth mentioning that Peppe, who has either the weakest or second-weakest range, has more chips than the other two players, so even if Trost lost to one of the callers but beat Peppe, he would still have 12,000 chips. While it is never fun to call off in this situation, it is likely the best play unless either of the callers is known to play incredibly tightly.
PokerCoaching.com is an interactive poker learning experience from two-time WPT Champion Jonathan Little. Try it for free at PokerCoaching.com/mspt.