Last week in a home 20 player tourney with top 4 paid. Down to 5 players. Approx. chip stacks. 35K, 30K, 20K, 22K, 17K (me). Blinds are 2K/1K and going up soon. Big stacks are not allowing any limping, always raised to 6 or 7K. I am UTG and look down at 77. None of my options seem great. Fold? 77 with 5 players is likely to be the best hand. Limp? UTG almost certainly to be raised. Shove? This is what I did thinking I likely had the best hand and some fold equity even against the big stacks. How would you play it and why?
I guess it depends on how much time you have invested, how good the other players are, and how important it is to cash. Stack sizes aren't all that varied, and you have the BB next hand; before it goes up BTW. I would be tempted to (A) lay it down, but could also (B) min-raise to try to represent a monster, or (C) just shove. Remember that if any of the big stacks double you up, they instantly become the short stack. No one wants to be bubble boy. Without knowing any other details my action in order of likelihood are B, then A, then C.
I thought this was pretty close to being a shove. Then I looked at a NASH ICM calculator and it gave me this range:
16.6%, 99+ A2s+ A9o+ K9s+ KTo+ QTs+ QJo JTs
Then I thought about how that range is bullshit.
Then I thought about how it actually isn't.
There are basically two scenarios here:
1.) Your opponents will call wide and you shouldn't be shoving very wide here. Your range should be the top X% of hands(a small enough percentage it doesn't include 77).
2.) Your opponent's call extremely tight(they have good bubble play) and you should have a range like the one above. You won't shove hands like 66-77, but will shove a fairly wide range. Your range is constructed to have good equity against premium hands.
Just to be clear, I think OP should probably be jamming under 10% in reality here. The point is that there are 2 acceptable types of ranges in this situation, but neither includes any pocket pairs below 88.
The second scenario pretty much never occurs in reality. You'd need to have 5 players left in a small field MTT where each and every player happened to be an expert SNG player.
bet 5k preflop UTG (which has a fair expectation to win the blinds) and watch any caller's reaction to the small bet this late with a small stack...if they "give you action" shove the flop...if they call fairly automatically shove the flop...if they look like they wish it was more or might reraise you preflop there's another read to be made on the flop and if they do reraise preflop i'd seriously consider folding. You've represented a hand that wants action so a reraise means that you've found a hand that truly wants the action you are pretending to want.
This is a better play then shoving preflop here. you still have a large stack compared to the other players even tho you aren't high compared to the blinds. The dent you can make in someone's stack at the bubble will make almost any hand that missed fold the flop...including JJ if there's an Ace or king out there
If you min-raise, the JJ is re-raising all in. Jacks don't just call PF min-raise here. Still what I would have done; min-raise, then if they shove over, you have an opportunity to get a read, etc. and at least give yourself one more opportunity to use you poker brain to survive. You were smart or lucky enough to survive to now. Compared to the other stacks and the blinds, you have one more orbit of not gaining any chips before you just shove any position, any cards.