Becoming Pot-Committed in MTTs

Filed Under MTT Strategy Comments Off on Becoming Pot-Committed in MTTs 

Point of No Return 

High volume tournament players will be used to playing hands that effectively become “points of no return.”  What are these?  A point of no return is where you end up getting committed to a pot due to the amount of chips you put in.  This is particularly relevant for tournaments where the blinds are so high that you get committed to the hand pre-flop.  An M-ratio of 15 makes a player pot-committed just by calling a 3bet for example (12xBBs).  This leaves zero “wiggle” room for backing down on missed streets and basically means you need to decide beforehand whether it’s worth it or not.

Sometime it may be better EV calling in the hope of a poor hand being improved down the line.   However, very often in tournaments, especially against LAG and aggressive players, shoving all-in from EP pre-flop is better +EV and gives you better pot odds than becoming pot-committed by calling.

This guide will provide a few examples of how easily it is to become pot committed during a hand.

Example of Moving All-in Preflop More +EV than Becoming Pot-Committed:

1st Situation: We’re sat in a tournament with a stack of $1,000 (blinds are $50/$100).  You hold a premium hand AK and a player raises $400 preflop.  Looking at the maths, if we call $400 we will only have $600 left with about a 33$ chance of hitting a pair. You are getting around 1.5:1 pot odds, with around 2:1 hand odds to call for the flop.

Obviously it is negative EV to call.  Along with this, if we miss the flop we will be forced to fold or move all-in (as we are pot committed).  If we 3bet preflop however, instead of flat-calling and move our $1000 stack all-in, we would be guaranteed to see at least 5 cards, and that gives us a 50% chance of making a pair.  Our hand odds are now 1:1 and our pot odds are at least 1:1, but with the added factor of fold equity over our opponent.  In conclusion, it would make more sense to move all-in preflop in terms of EV than to flat-call and hope to hit the flop.

This example was fortunately quite simple.  Most decent-ish players would have known to move all-in preflop.  However situations are not always this simple as we shall see below.

2nd Situation: We’re sat in a tournament with $300 and the blinds are $10/$25.  We have 99 in Big Blind and a late player raises the pot $75.  Now the odds of flopping a set are more than 7:1, and calling $50 for a $75 pot gives us 1.5:1 pot odds; in summary we have negative pot odds.

The problem however is: what happens if we call and miss?  It will be very difficult to know if we’re in front or behind.  We are also out of position, and the best we can hope for is a dry board with no overcards.  In summary, it is much better to value shove in these type of situations (especially in the mid-late stages), then to call pre-flop with over 20% of our stack and a 14% chance of hitting a set on the flop. 

Unless we have more players in the hand with implied pot odds, it’s an easy fold/shove situation.

Comments are closed.