Coin flips

Coin flips

Monday, 13 July 2009

Dear Tom,

I was playing a NLHE STT with some friends when one of them went berserk due to a bad beat. He started moving all-in pre- or post-flop, regardless of position. He was getting lucky, and began winning some chips back until he had more chips than me...

The blinds were huge and I got dealt pocket twos. My opponent was first to act and moved all-in again. I knew that with my deuces every hand was a coin flip (unless he had another deuce or a higher pocket pair). I am very confused when it comes to coin flips. When should I take then? When should I muck? Can you help me? Just for he record I folded and he showed A-K offsuit.

Best regards,

Nuno, Porto, Portugal

Dear Nuno,

The merits of sticking in your whole stack on a coin flip in a SNG depend on three things: the number of players left, the size of the blinds and the ability of your opponent. If your opponent is bad – and it sounds like yours was really bad – you want to avoid a coin flip because you have no edge in this pot, whereas if you wait a bit you’ll find a situation where you’re very likely ahead and you can get him to stick it all in anyway.

Another excellent reason to avoid a coin flip in a SNG is the exceptionally steep payout structure. If you pass a pair of deuces on the bubble then you may get lucky and find 7-2o next hand – lucky in the sense that it’s an easy fold and then a player behind you busts out making you instant risk free money.

However, it sounds like you were heads up, so there’s no possibility of making money from folding. And you say the blinds were huge. How huge is huge? If folding here leaves you with only about five big blinds, you’d better stick it in, because it will have to go in on the following hand or the one after that anyway, and you’ll likely not be dealt anything better than 2-2. If you have nearer ten big blinds, then it’s a fold. He’ll carry on with his madness and you have a few hands in which to wait for an ace, a couple of painted cards or a slightly better pair.

Tags: Tom Sambrook, Strategy,