DECISION POINT: You are in a tournament with a stack of 18 big blinds. Preflop, it folds to you on the button with . The action is on you...
PRO ANSWER: First-in late position play with an awkward stack can be tricky. Our awkward stack size makes it somewhat easier for either the small blind or big blind to play back against us.
In general, you should tighten up your late position open-raising range with awkward effective stacks (10-20 big blinds), since failed steal attempts use significant portions of your remaining stack.
There are two main strategies to pursue when holding hands in our tighter, late position opening range. We can either move all in (using an awkward stack push/fold strategy) or we can open-raise to a smaller amount. When open-raising to a smaller amount, we will call off our stack versus a reraise with our better hands and fold our worse hands.
Against most opponents who are predictable and relatively tight three-bettors, choosing to open-raise a smaller amount is by far the better play. This allows you to fold certain hands to reraises and avoid confrontations when you are behind.
With -suited on the button, open-raising to between 2 and 2.5 big blinds with the intention of folding to an all-in reraise is the better play against the vast majority of opponents you will face.
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