In this summer’s $3,500 MSPT Venetian, located in fabulous Las Vegas (speaking of, be sure to check out Grande Vegas Casino here), event there were seven players left – each guaranteed $98,202 but with $640,062 up top – in Level 30 (60,000/120,000/100,000) when action folded to Thomas Boivin in the small blind and he moved all in for 2.2 million holding the A♣9♣.
Yat Cheng, who was sitting with 2.8 million, was in the big blind and called with the A♥Q♣. The board ran out 10♥2♥4♥8♦J♦ and Boivin, who won the 2016 MSPT Venetian for $352,153, hit the rail in seventh place.
It seemed like a standard blind-versus-blind shove, but we decided to consult poker pro Jonathan Little of PokerCoaching.com to get his take.
MSPT: In your opinion was this a pretty standard spot for Boivin to shove? Why or why not?
Little: I think the shove all-in with A♣9♣ is quite standard. The only other reasonable line, in my opinion, is to limp with the intention of calling off against an all in or jamming all in if the big blind raises.
MSPT: How can a recreational player determine a good range of hands to shove in this spot? Any chance you might have a range chart for blind vs. blind with stacks like these?
Little: Conveniently enough, I created a free Push/Fold chart and quiz app called "FTT Poker", available in the app stores. It lists a profitable all-in range as 65% of hands, which is 22+, A2+, K2+ Q2s+, Q4o+, J2s+, J7o+, T3s+, T7o+, 95s+, 97o+, 84s+, 86o+, 74s+, 76o+, 63s+, 53s+, and 43s. As you can see, that is an incredibly wide all-in range. Pushing with a wide range with a short stack from late position is a powerful strategy.
MSPT: Is there any argument to made that Boivin should limp, maybe with intention of either limp-shoving or executing a stop-and-go play? Why or why not?
Little: In general, when developing a folding, limping or all-in strategy, you want to limp your best hands that do not mind letting the opponent see a flop and weak hands that are on the cusp of playability. While A9s is certainly strong, I do not think it is strong enough to let the opponent see a free flop.
MSPT: If you were in Cheng shoes in this hand, what sort of hands would you be willing to call with? What’s the bottom of your range?
Little: This is an interesting situation because it is impossible to know the optimal calling range because the other players' stacks are not listed. For example, if everyone else has five big blinds, Cheng should call quite tightly. If everyone else has 50 big blinds, he should call quite loosely. That said, AxQx will almost always be a call because it has a large amount of equity against all shoving ranges.
PokerCoaching.com is an interactive poker learning experience from two-time WPT Champion Jonathan Little. Try it for free at PokerCoaching.com/mspt.