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I’m wondering if you can help sort out an argument. We were playing a 10-handed home game (3000 starting chips) when the following happened. A short stack (around 575 chips) moved all-in under the gun and the next player raised it up to 1250 (she was sitting on around 3500 chips at this point). I had A-J off-suit and moved all-in next. At this point I was the big stack with about 6000 in chips. We were still 10-handed but everyone else folded and I ended up pushing the raiser off the hand and winning against the initial all-in, but a huge argument blew up as to whether I made a good move or not. Another – extremely vocal player – said that it was idiotic to risk nearly all of my chips on a hand that had been raised and re-raised. But someone else agreed with me saying it was a fine move. What do you think and would you have made a similar sort of move yourself?
SF: In the exact case that you mentioned, I most likely would have folded A-J knowing that the hand isn’t that strong against a raise and re-raise. However, that’s not to say that making that type of move is something you should never do. A lot of times in tournaments I will make a play like the one you described in order to isolate myself against the short stack that pushed all-in first, and try to push the player that has more chips and can do some real damage to me, out of the hand. The play you made is a good one – just not with the exact stack sizes that you mentioned. However, I will say that it’s a great idea to discuss hands like this with your friends at these home games and listen to each other’s points of view. This is one of the greatest learning tools you have at your disposal, so you might as well take advantage of it.
Set over set
Do you think folding a set on a flop with no made flush or straight possibilities and no knowledge on your opponent is ever correct? For example, I had just joined a $0.25-$0.50 no-limit Hold’em cash game on PokerRoom and was dealt 5-5 on the button. There had been one limper from early position before a mid position raise to $1. I called and so did the limper, all others folded. The flop came Q-6-5 rainbow. The original limper in early position bet out $4 and the raiser folded. The only hand I could put him on was 6-6 and my gut instinct was to fold. However, I have never folded a set in a situation like this before and I believe Doyle Brunson once said that if you get all your money in with a set and get beaten by a better set, you played the hand correctly. Bearing this in mind, and the fact that there are a fair few idiots around these low-stakes games that would make that play with any Queen or straight draw, I pushed all-in for my entire stack – $25. Sure enough he turned over 6-6 and I was left a little poorer but strangely pleased about my read. Should I have trusted my instincts and folded or was I just unlucky?
SF: I agree with Doyle on this one. You should never fold a set under those conditions. I might have a different answer if this was a tournament and your entire stack was at risk, but in a cash game folding a set in this situation is not something I would do. You had a tough beat but in the long run you will win.