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Facing Limpers in a $5 Buy-In Kitchen Table Tournament

Here’s a change of pace — today’s hand comes not from a mid-to-high buy-in event on the tournament circuit, but rather from a $5 buy-in “kitchen table” no-limit hold’em tournament. It was a game played with friends, some of whom had never played before. Therefore — as this hand shows — it presented some unusual situations not typically encountered in regular tourneys.

The blinds were 100/200 and everyone had around 3,000 in their stacks (quite shallow). A straightforward player limped in from under the gun, then two more also called as the action moved around the table.

It got to me in the cutoff and I looked down at {K-Hearts}{J-Clubs}. As I explain in the video below, against a table full of good players this would likely be a good spot to raise all in. But these were a different set of opponents, many of whom weren’t opening with raises the entire tournament, were checking strong hands on the river, and so on.

I nonetheless decided to push my 15-big blind stack all in with king-jack offsuit. Take a look below to see how that went, and hear some further thoughts about the right strategy to play versus inexperienced opponents:

Looking back, I think my play was still fine. But when playing against opponents who are playing a tournament for the first time, is the decision so obvious? What would you have done in this spot — would you have gone all in?

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,300,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

Photo: “Poker Night II,” Peat Bakke, CC BY 2.0.

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