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Pocket Eights vs. a Middle Position Raise -- What Do You Do Here?

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LearnWPT - Pocket Eights vs. a Middle Position Raise: What Do You Do Here?
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  • You have 8h-8s in the BB in a satellite and there’s a MP raise. @LearnWPT breaks down your options.

  • How to play pocket eights in the BB vs. a raise? @LearnWPT analyzes a satellite tournament situation.

DECISION POINT: You are in a satellite tournament with 140 players left and 26 seats awarded. A player in middle position raises preflop and it folds to you in the big blind with {8-Hearts}{8-Spades}.

Before reading further, answer what you would do.

PRO ANSWER: Whenever you play a satellite tournament, you should keep asking yourself a fundamental question: If I fold every hand from now on, how likely am I to win a seat?

In the beginning of a satellite, the answer to this question will be zero percent. Later in a satellite with a sufficient stack, the answer can be almost 100 percent. The higher this estimate, the less incentive there is to play any hands and the tighter all of your hand ranges should be.

In this case, with 140 players left and 26 seats, you are not yet close to winning a seat. In fact, at this point your play should be very much like a regular tournament with a focus on accumulating chips and growing your stack.

Against a middle position raise, your {8-Hearts}{8-Spades} is around a coin flip against their likely range. Given the chips already in the pot relative to your stack, you should not fold. If you move all in, you will nearly always be called by your opponent, since they will be getting nearly 3-to-1 on a preflop call.

This is a good situation for a stop-and-go. You should call the 1,900 additional chips, then move all in for your remaining 5,500 chips on every flop. You can create some fold equity postflop where none existed preflop, and cause some opponents' hands to fold the flop that would have hit on the turn or river if you were all in preflop. Overall this is a more profitable play than simply moving all in preflop when you have little to no fold equity.

In this case, a stop-and-go (calling preflop, then moving all in postflop) is the best play.

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