Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments Casino News Sports Betting Poker Strategy

PokerStars Caribbean Adventure - Part IV

Move in or fold preflop?

by Tom McEvoy |  Published: Jun 12, 2007


When I last wrote of my tournament adventure in the Bahamas, we had just completed the fourth level of play and I had increased my starting stack of $20,000 to $25,000. At the start of the fifth round of play, the blinds were now $300-$600 with a $75 ante. I still had not only David Williams at my table, but fellow Team PokerStars members Isabelle Mercier and Humberto Brenes. In short order, I busted both of them. I raised with pocket kings and Isabelle moved in for her last $12,000 with pocket fives. I called, the kings held up, and she was eliminated. Humberto then moved in a few minutes later and I called out of the big blind with pocket nines. They also held up, and Humberto was out the door. He was very gracious and came over to shake my hand and wish me luck the rest of the way.

I then won a large pot with K-Q, which is not exactly my favorite starting hand. The hand came down like this: I raised to $1,800. A short stack went all in for a little more than that, and then the player in the big blind went all in for $5,600 more. I thought I had the worst of it, but decided that now was a good time to gamble. The player who moved in was definitely on the loose side, so I figured that if he had a small or medium pair, I was not in too bad of shape. The short stack who went all in could have anything. I thought about it, and finally called. Much to my surprise, the short stack had Q-J and the other player who had moved in showed the Q 4. I had them both dominated! My hand held up, and I finished the level with $63,075 in chips. The final level of day one saw me win a few small pots here and there when I either raised preflop and nobody called or bet on the flop and got no action. I finished the day with my career high in opening-day chips with $86,500.

During the opening level of day two, not much good happened, but I did not get seriously hurt. I had kings and ran into aces, and doubled up a short stack. On another hand, I raised from late position with the 9 7, got reraised, and folded. My chip stack had slipped to about $67,000, but I was still above average.

We were now into level eight, which had a $200 ante and blinds of $600-$1,200. Many times, the last hand you play in a tournament is not the hand that decides your fate. That was certainly the case for me. I raised from middle position with pocket sevens. Two players called my $3,500 bet. The flop came 7 5 3. I decided to make a feeler bet of $5,000. One player raised to $15,000, the other player called, and I was faced with a major decision. Calling seemed weak with top set, but I could be up against a flush or even a straight. A straight seemed unlikely, because not too many players would call a raise with 6-4, so both of them could have an overpair or even the nut-flush draw. I believe that if they had a big pair, they would have raised preflop, unless it was something like pocket nines or tens. Finally, I decided that I could not throw it away, so I moved in. I had both of them covered, so I would not go broke if I lost. I was hoping both of them would give up, or at least one of them would fold. Well, the original raiser did fold, and the other player went into the think tank. Finally, he said, "I hope you have just aces and the nut-flush draw," and called. He had the K Q and had flopped the flush. I didn't pair the board, so he more than doubled up and I got knocked down to about $35,000 in chips. I managed to get some of my chips back on a later hand, when I raised to $3,000 with the A K, got reraised to $9,000, and called. The flop came with two diamonds and all small cards. I moved in, my opponent folded, and I finished the level with almost $50,000.

Level nine saw me lose the only two hands I played, and then I got blinded down. I was now in chip trouble, but we were getting close to the money. They paid 180 places. I went into the 10th level with $24,500 in chips. The blinds were now $1,000-$2,000 with a $300 ante. I played exactly one hand at that level. I moved in with pocket sixes, and got called by A-K. All small cards came, and I ended the level with $31,900 in chips. Level 11 would get me into the money if I could survive long enough. The blinds were now $1,200-$2,400 with a $300 ante. I went through the blinds once and was now sitting on around $24,000 in chips. We were down to 182 players and they had just announced hand-for-hand play. I was under the gun with the A K. Now what? If I folded, I would perhaps make the money, but would be so crippled in chips as to have no chance. If I moved in and got called, I could bounce out just short of the money. I have to admit, I am still second-guessing myself. I moved in. Another player with about $40,000 in chips and several large stacks yet to act behind him decided to move all in. Why he would risk going out with pocket sevens is still a mystery to me. I guess he thought he could isolate against me, and it worked. The flop came K-K-7. I had flopped trips and he had flopped a full house. I got no additional help and just missed the money. This was not a pleasant experience, to say the least. It cost me at least $9,800 in prize money. What would you have done – move in as I did, or fold? That is the question.

Tom McEvoy is a representative of He can be found playing under his own name on PokerStars, and is happy to chat when he can.