The featured hands this week showcase correct play at a major final table with multiple short stacks when you have a medium stack and you are in position against another player who has you covered.
Due to the presence of the short stack players along with the pay jumps at this final table, you will be subject to a tremendous amount of ICM pressure against any opponent that has you outchipped. ICM Pressure occurs when you are highly incentivized to not bust out before the other players at the table with shorter stacks. Your preflop opening hand ranges should be significantly narrower due to this effect. A good player in the Big Blind will be defending much wider than they otherwise would in a similar spot and will be looking to exert ICM pressure on you postflop as well.
There are two things working at odds with each other here. On one hand, you have a large range advantage on most flops as you are raising significantly fewer hands than a normal range in the Cutoff and your opponent is calling with significantly more hands than they typically would in the Big Blind. On the other hand, you’re under extreme ICM pressure from the Big Blind and want to be careful betting too frequently on early streets to build pots that may put your stack at risk.
Pay close attention to the pot size and your remaining stack size. Be cautious not to bet with too high a frequency on the turn with medium strength hands and try to get to a controlled showdown. Slow down on the flop in situations where your hand has a showdown value but has few chances to improve, especially on flops that are coordinated and good for the Big Blind’s range. Include a balance of bluffs and strong hands that can withstand pressure on future streets in your betting range, while paying special attention to cards that significantly favor your range as well as key blockers.
To see more examples and test your skills, you can play through five free solved hands from this scenario.
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Use this series of articles to practice the strategies you learn on LearnWPT (or at the table) and test your progress by playing a five-hand sample each week.