Image by eddie.welker via Flickr
A few thoughts on a previous sponsored post about coin-flips in poker tournaments. Let's go over a few situations and when it is right to be in a coin-flip and when to avoid a coin-flip.
Big Stack, Small Stack, Below Average Stack
1. If you have a big stack compared to the blinds, like 15+ times the big blind, you really don't want to be all-in for your tournament life on coin-flip.
When you are doing well in a tournament, you don't want to be risking all your chips on a 50/50 situation. You have some time to wait for premium cards or to make a play against weaker opponents. Patience.
2. If you have a small stack compared to the blinds, like 8 times or less the big blind, you really don't mind being all-in for your tournament life on a coin-flip. Of course, you prefer to be the one doing the betting and not the calling.
You should play tournament poker to win, not to survive. When your stack gets low, you want to double up. If you move all-in with pocket 9's and run into A-K, you may get knocked out but you may experience a nice jump in chips and perhaps, even in prize money.
Frankly, if a player moves all-in ahead of you and he shows you he has pocket 9's, you should call with A-K. You may be slightly behind, but tournament poker comes down to accumulating chips. You have to take risks to win. With a low stack, this is as good a time as any.
3. If you have a good chip stack compared to the blinds, but way below average, you really don't mind being all-in for your tournament life on a coin-flip. Ideally, though, you want to be the one moving all-in rather than the caller.
This is one of the areas where you will end up being the caller with a hand like A-K. While you have enough chips in front of you to survive more blind increases, the fact is that to win the event you need to double up. If a player moves all-in in front you, strongly consider risking your tournament life with A-K.
You may get knocked out, but you may win. Let the poker gods decide if this is going to be your day.
One caution: If you are one of the chip leaders at the late stages of a tournament, and the chip leader moves all-in in front of you, folding A-K here is a good play. You don't want to get knocked out if you are in an excellent position to possibly win an event.
Any other thoughts on coin-flips?