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How could you call that?!

I’d like to relate a funny story from one of my MTTs a while back. We were deep into the tournament with average stacks nearing 60k and the blinds were $1200-$2400. I was in the big blind with a monster: 6[spades]4[spades] when the cutoff raised all in for $6000. The small blind then called-all-in with his remaining $4800 and I was left to decide to call for $3600 more.

Well, let’s see. There is no one to act behind me, it costs me $3600 to play and possibly take out two players, and the pot is already over 12k. I was getting around 4:1, not that I could put them on a hand, but if I had live cards (not dominated or beat by a pocket pair) then I might have a shot if I catch a lucky flop. So I called… People went hysterical, especially after this flop:

Flop: 3 5 7, oops! Did I just flop the nut straight? The other players had KJ and A9 and were drawing dead to runner flush draws and I scooped the whole pot. The guy who had raised all in with KJ berated me for awhile and a few of the other players said things like “How can you call with 64 suited, what a newb, donk, etc, etc.” Finally, one of the more experienced players (and coincidentally another high stack) remarked, “Nice call man, I would have too.” Then they started berating him, haha.

You’ll find late in tournaments people taking ‘chances’ with non-premium hands calling all ins, but if you have the chips and you feel you’re getting a good price for your money it probably isn’t as bad as you think. Let me show you some numbers that might open your eyes a little:

A10o vs KQo — 59% vs 41%
AJo vs QQ — 30% vs 70%
J10s vs AKo — 59% vs 41%
A9s vs Q6s — 62% vs 37%

Surprised? I was too when I first figured out these numbers. Of course it gets more difficult when it’s three handed, but heads up, say there are three limpers and short stack moves all in, you could get plenty of odds to try with KQs (hoping that don’t have AK or AQ). I wouldn’t call a big stack’s raise or all in with these hands, but the short stack’s predictament makes them a lot more prone to be pushing with lots of hands (like A9s or even KJo) just to take down a pot or get lucky and double up.

Here are the percentages for my 64 of spades hand:

A9: 35%
KJ: 35%
64: 30%

I was getting 4:1 when all I ended up needing was 3.3:1, nice! Even right now after just looking up that percentage that seems unreal, it’s basically a toss up! Just keep it in mind, and feel free to play around with your own situations using Pocketfive’s Card Calculator!

Good luck!

I've been playing poker for almost four years now (well before it was legal for me, woops!) Besides poker I enjoy playing the guitar and I'm very enthusiastic about pursuing Dentistry as a career. I'm currently at The Ohio State Univeristy studying Microbiology, living with three of my close friends. I'm dating a lovely girl from Australia and am looking forward to the oppurtunity to study abroad over there as well.

4 thoughts on “How could you call that?!

  1. Um.. I think there must be a mistake above. JTs vs Ako, provided neither the ace or king is the same suit as the jack is indeed 41% vs 59%, but in the other direction: AKo is favoured, not JTs as you seem to have listed above. I’ve checked with poker academy, and unless there’s something in your assumptions you didn’t state…?

  2. Eww you’re right, I flipped the order of the percentages. J10 is certainly not ahead here, haha, sorry for the mix up. It should be:

    J10s vs Ako — 41% vs 59%

    Thanks for pointing that out.

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