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Calling 3Bet Shoves in MTTs


Knowing when to Call a 3bet Shove in an MTT Pre-Flop

You’ll be faced with loads of situations in tournaments where you make an open-raise/call and someone shoves all-in from late position.  Here you’re faced with a decision: to call or to fold.  Things to take into account before making a decision to call an overbet-shove includes the stage of the tournament, your hand strength, your opponents stack size, his positional shoving range (i.e. TAG or LAG)and your table image up to this point.

Before we consider these issues I want to narrow down the range of hands your opponent is likely going to be shoving with with from late position:

TAG vs Lag 3Bet/Shoving Range

Tight players always 3bet/raise their premium hands pre-flop to get rid of limpers. The  likely range of 3bet hands you can put a TAG with a 3bet% of 5% includes AK-AQ, JJ, 1010 and 99.   

Loose aggressive players (LAGs) will be stealing and 3betting light with a wider range of hands than TAGs.  This makes narrowing down their relative hand range and your equity in the pot even harder.  However, in the late stages of a tournament, a LAG with an average chip stack (30BBs) will be shoving rather than raising most of his good marginal hands in LP.  A LAG will shove with any low-mid pocket pair, high broadways or suited connectors from late position. 

Calling Equity & Other Factors

Narrowing down your opponents shoving range is only half the story before we decide to call.  Now we need to work out what type of hands we can call with at +EV play.  In addition sometimes +EV play isn’t always optimal playing strategy for tournaments, for example our “tournment equity” decisions might be more important, or if there are lots of fish at the table there might be better chances to get our chips in the table.

In either case players should essentially be using tournament calculators or even ICM models to work out the expected value of a call against these shoving ranges.  Calling a large overbet raise pre-flop will usually yield 40-45% pot equity.  Example: You open for 150 at 25/50 blinds, your opponent shoves for 1,400 an you have 1,250 to call what would be around 2,850 in chips.  That’s 44% equity.

Conlcusion When to Call Late Position Shoves:

With a holding like mid-pairs or high face cards, you can call a LAG opponent’s all-in shove but you should probably fold to a tight player’s jam from late position in a tournament.

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