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Should He Call All-In With Ace-High in a $250,000 Tournament? (Analysis)

One of the toughest spots in poker is when you have a marginal hand and face a decision for all of your chips.

It doesn’t matter if you play the micros online or live high rollers, these situations are almost always anxiety-inducing.

Cut to the Triton $250,000 Buy-In High Roller tournament, in which Daniel Dvoress was put all-in by David Peters when the former was holding just Ace-high.

To see how it played out, keep reading for a description and analysis of the hand.

Editor’s Note: This article is by Irish tournament pro and Unibet Poker ambassador David Lappin (follow him on Twitter here). Alongside Irish poker legend Dara O’Kearney, David produces and hosts the GPI global poker award-winning podcast “The Chip Race” sponsored by Unibet Poker. All episodes are available on Apple Music, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Background

Game: Triton $250K NLH High Roller

Stage: 42 players entered. There are 22 left.

Relevant Stacks:

  • Dvoress – 34.1bb
  • Peters – 40.7bb

Preflop Action

Dvoress opens UTG (7-handed) to 2.2bb with A♠️ K♣️. Peters calls with 8♠️ 7♣️ in the Big Blind.

Preflop Analysis

Standard stuff here from both players.

Ace-King is obviously a strong enough hand to open from every position. Dvoress’ raise size of 2.2bb is good.

Faced with the small open, Peters can call very wide from the Big Blind. His calling range should include some weak offsuit connectors like 87o.

Related Reading: How to Avoid Getting Crushed After Defending with a Weak Hand

Note: Want to know exactly how to play every hand in every common preflop situation? Get instant access to extensive preflop charts and lessons (for cash games, heads-up, and tournaments) when you join the Upswing Lab training course. Lock your seat now!

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The Advanced Solver Ranges for cash games — one of five sets of preflop charts in the Upswing Lab.

Flop Action

The Pot: 5.8bb
The Flop: J♠️ 6♣️ 5♠️
The Action: Peters checks. Dvoress bets 2.5bb. Peters raises to 7bb. Dvoress calls.

Flop Analysis

Out of position in this spot, Peters should be checking his entire range.

Even though he whiffed the flop, Dvoress’ c-bet is standard as he has a significant range advantage on this board. There will also be a lot of turns that he can continue to barrel on because he has two overcards, a backdoor straight draw, and a backdoor nut flush draw.

It is, however, worth discussing Dvoress’ choice of sizing. He could elect to split his range into two sizes like:

  • Big Size (70% pot): More vulnerable clear value bets and high equity bluffs
  • Small Size (30% pot): Less vulnerable value bets and low equity bluffs

However, instead of splitting his range, Dvoress elected to simplify his strategy and use one size of 43%. He believes that this middling sizing allows him to include some low equity bluffs in that range.

Once the action is back on Peters, he can proceed in a couple of different ways as calling and raising with his open-ended straight draw both have merit. He certainly has enough equity and implied odds to call. But he could also raise, giving himself a chance to win right away whilst also potentially winning a bigger pot on a later street should he make his hand or get a bluff through.

Peters decides to raise to 7bb, which is a good play. He is most likely randomizing his semi-bluff hands at some frequency to go with his flopped sets and two pair combinations.

Facing the raise, Dvoress has an interesting spot. He is getting a very good price and his hand beats Peters’ bluffs and has a lot of potential to improve. With that in mind, Dvoress’ decision to call is a good play.

Turn Action

The Pot: 19.8bb
The Turn: (J♠️ 6♣️ 5♠️) 5♦️
The Action: Peters checks. Dvoress checks.

Turn Analysis

The draws have missed and despite Peters’ decision to check-raise, Dvoress still retains the range advantage. That means that Peters must proceed with caution, which he does with a check.

Facing the check, Dvoress gives consideration to what his range would like to do. His overpairs, especially those with a spade, would want to check back as they require less protection.

The fact that overpairs mostly want to check back serves to protect other weaker holdings exactly like the hand he has. A♠️ K♣️ also makes for a very good bluff-catcher on a lot of rivers. For these reasons, Dvoress’ decision to check is good.

River Action

The Pot: 19.8bb
The Turn: (J♠️ 6♣️ 5♠️ 5♦️) 3♠️
SPR: ~1.25:1
The Action: Peters overbets all-in 25bb. Daniel calls.

River Analysis

The 3♠️ river means the flopped flush draw completes. From Peters’ perspective, Dvoress looks like he has overpairs or AJ/KJs/QJs a lot of the time. With Dvoress’ range potentially capped, Peters makes a decision and decides to apply maximum pressure by betting all-in. While this size is effective, the Solver prefers to bet 70% of the pot in Peters’ shoes.

Back to Dvoress, who has a tricky decision to make facing an overbet with his tournament life at stake.

When you beat the bluffs and lose to the value, then blockers become the most important factor, and Dvoress has the best blocker by holding the Ace of Spades. This card removes a lot of the value hands that Peters is representing, which consequently changes the bluff to value ratio.

The solver reveals that it likes to call 65% of the time in Dvoress’ spot. Unsurprisingly, the A♠️ is the crucial factor as, without it, the solver pure folds.

Results

Peters shows the bluff (8♠ 7♣) and Dvoress wins the ~70bb pot.

Final Thoughts

It was a superb call by Dvoress who courageously stuck to his fundamentals across the streets. It was an aggressive and slightly optimistic line from Peters, but one which would have born fruit had Dvoress deviated, even fractionally, from game theory.

What Do You Think of This River Call?

Let me know in the comments below.

If you want more tournament hand analysis, check out Should He Call This Jam for His Tournament Life? (Analysis).

Thanks for reading!

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