The EV Of 3-Bet Shoving Preflop

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Today’s question comes from Tim who wants to review this hand played in a tournament. In this hand we have J9s, there’s a $40 ante, the blinds are $150/$300, and in this exact situation there’s a raise from DIOGEN, it folds around and Tim decides to rip it.

Tim says the villain had just joined the table and he had no HUD stats whatsoever. Unfortunately I wasn’t given any other information. I don’t know where we are in terms of payouts. I don’t know any of that kind of important MTT information – which makes this very very difficult to analyze and give correct tournament analysis from it. But that being said I still want to show you how to proof this hand mathematically and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

To do this we’re going to use a custom spreadsheet that I created. Essentially we throw in some information, we get the EV, and then down below I created this little custom graph which shows us what are current EV looks like but also what things look like in a better case scenario and a slightly worse case scenario and for me I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to this kind of stuff so I appreciate having all the extra information at my fingertips. To figure out the EV of our show we just need to start filling in some simple information.

free ev spreadsheet

Let’s start from the top. Pot size before we shove, what was that? That was $1560. How much do we have to call? At this point that’s another $450, perfect. How much are with shoving for? $7508 because our opponent covers us. Equity when called, we’ll have to figure that one out. The last thing we need is our equity when called and let’s plug that into equilab. We have Jack 9 suited. Let’s think about the kinds of hands our opponent would open raise from there and then call our shove with. Let’s just say TT+/AK.

Okay maybe you agree with that, maybe disagree with that. We’re just going to use this for the time being and that’s 28% equity, perfect. There we go. We notice that in this situation if villain never ever folds and this is where we are that we are making a horrifically terrible shove and this would be really really bad. If that’s the case, what this is essentially saying is we’re making the assumption if he’s never folding of course that this is the only stuff he opened right? This is his open raising range from early middle. If that’s the case and that’s his only range from there obviously this shove is terrible.

But chances are he opens probably wider than just 3.5% of hands. I think that’s probably pretty reasonable. If you thought that he were opening something like say deuces plus Ace Queen plus, which is 8.5% which means he’s folding a decent chunk of the time then we’re in a situation where this could look a little bit better. Let’s say, instead he’s actually folding half the time, we’ll start with that first. Okay, that’s not too too bad but still negative. Better than what it was. If he’s folding a ton of the time we’re making some profit but not very much right?

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This is not a ton of profit considering the risk. We are shoving a lot of money to win that and we’re making the assumption that he’s folding a huge chunk of the time. Given that, this does not look like a good shove unless you have a dead on read that this dude is going to fold a ton of the time I’d say this is probably not the best shove in the world and you probably could have waited for a better spot. Unless you have some really crucial information, chances are I don’t love this shove all that much. Now you know how to solve for this situation. It’s not too too complicated.

But otherwise, just understanding how this is solved, where the EV is coming from and the really crucial point is understanding how often you need your opponent to fold. Of course in this situation if you expect him to fold a ton of the times so he opens really wide and then continues very tightly, this could be okay but overall I think this is going to be not the greatest shove in the entire world. I just think that it’s a little optimistic and there’s not a lot of buffer considering how many big blinds you’re ripping into this pot.

Unfortunately we do end up getting called by Aces, end up losing the pot, and it is what it is but at the end of the day the most important thing is that we know how to solve for it. Tim thank you very much for the hand!


My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 500+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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