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How to Play Broadway Cards in Tournaments

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About Playing Broadway Cards MTTs

Face cards (aka Broadways) can be very attractive pre-flop, but they can do serious damage to your chip stack if you don’t release at the right time.  So-called “Broadway” hands are those that contain any two cards with a value of 10 or above, but not an ace.  For example, K-Q and J-10.  These hands can be played with in position but they can get you into a lot of trouble against the wrong sort of opponents.

This article discusses some basic tips, including the pros and cons for playing broadway cards in tournaments.  First, let’s discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses on these hands.

Advantages of Broadway Cards:

  • They do extremely well in heads-up situations, either by hitting a pair or better, or by allowing you to bluff/semi-bluff/float pots with overcards.
  • Easier to fold than pocket/drawing hands after you miss the flop (compared to AK or 77 which can be harder to fold when you’re behind).
  • You get paid off generously for calling 3bets out of position and hitting a Broadway straight, especially against opponents who hit the flop hard with a big hand like AK.  You’re more likely to get called-off with monster hands.
  •  Broadway hands are great hands to open pre-flop because you can limp, steal or shove with them (being in the top 10% of playable hands). 

Problems with Broadway Cards:

  • Hitting a pair can cause big problems with negative implied odds.  In post-flop with an opponent’s better kicker hitting a pair of Jacks with QJ whilst your opponent has AJ for example.  How long do you stay in the pot for example?
  • The hand has little showdown value unless you hit a pair or better.
  • In many ways broadway cards are hit-and-miss hands that require you to hit something on the flop.  This makes implied odds more important.

When to Correctly Play Broadway Cards Pre-flop:

Now let’s look at the good opportunities to get our broadway cards in pots for expected value.

  • First to act in Middle Position or Later: Stealing pots in mid position with these hands is very profitable on un-raised boards.  You should aim to do this alot with these type of hands.  Stealing from late position will work too (but you need to limit yourself when you have players on the blinds who hit back at you).
  • Calling/Re-Raising an LP Raise from the Blinds: Firstly, most LP players will be blind-stealing so there’s a good chance you have their range beat.  Secondly, if you do manage to hit the flop you can lead out or check-raise your opponent – or even value shove if you’re short-stacked (this makes gives you better value from players with bigger calling ranges). 
  • Limping into Multi-Way Pots from Late Position: Broadway hands are hit-and-miss hands in multi-way pots as I mentioned before, but the implied odds from hitting the flop after limping with these hands are massive.  Just remember though, that you need to be folding  these cards with anything less than two-pair on a flop with multiple opponents.  If you carry on playing you’ll be losing chips in the long-run.
  • Short Stack Shoving Hands: These are excellent hands to shove with because you will be way ahead of most deep stacks with their calling range. Think about it, with a 10BB shove you’re going to get called by any big stack’s A5+ or suited connectors.   

When to Fold Broadway Cards Pre-Flop

  • When There’s a Re-raise or 3bet Before You: You’ve got to fold broadways here.  Not only are you likely dominated, but the negative implied odds from hitting the flop will be huge i.e. opponent hits a set or full house when you hit two-pair. Basically you can’t get +EV from playing hands in these situations.
  • When a Tight Player Opens in Early Position: A tight player who opens UTG is likely going to have one of two hands: high pockets, AK or mid-pairs.  Against the former two you’ll a great deal behind, and against the latter you’re still “racing” so to speak.  Unless you have a very strong read or want to outplay him post-flop, you should fold.
  • In a Raised, Multi-Way Pot in the Late Stages: The basic point here is that the blinds will be worth up to 5% of your stack on average in the late stages, which makes calls worth 20% of your stack.  This is too big a risk, which would also be very negative tournament equity.
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