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Grand Tour – How to Win a $25 Sprint

January 26, 2021
by Pete Clarke

It’s always nice to get off to a good start in Grand Tour. The format is viciously fast and losing an early pot can prove fatal. After this hand, I didn’t fancy my chances of making a comeback or a final.

Spot 1 – A Bad Start

I play a ‘limp everything I’m playing’ strategy in the SB at the beginning of Grand Tour heats. Players tend to raise only with good hands so I’m happy limp/fold some fairly bad hands and also building limp call and limp/raise ranges. My current hand is good enough to limp and call a raise, but Villain checks. I bet the flop to deny equity to my opponent and because I have good barrel prospects later on a lot of run-outs. Betting often on a board with two high-ish cards is a solid plan since these flops favour my range. Villain calls.

My hand is pretty poor as a bluff now. Firstly king-high has a bit of showdown value and might win vs. passive players who want to check down missed draws. Secondly, I block his folding range by removing some backdoor missed clubs and king highs from the deck. Thirdly I don’t have a heart to reduce his flush combinations. I check and Villain checks back.

I check again on the river and Villain bets one quarter pot. I need 17% equity to call and beat some [T8 T7 87 QT Q8] type hands. An easy call, but I expect to usually lose.

And lose I do. Villain find a nice little value bet with his 9. It is hard for me to have much in this spot so he does well to target hands like the one I hold.

Having folded a bunch of trash and been card dead for a while, I find myself with only seven big blinds. Fortunately, I pick up an ace in a spot where my big-stacked opponent is incentivised to jam almost anything to go after my bounty. This hand is a dream in this situation.

Spot 2 – And Finally my Chance Comes

I manage to hold up against the 83s. A very standard shove for Villain in this spot. When you’re covered by everyone and card dead, it is important not to get frustrated. In these scenarios, you want to wait around for something half decent, knowing that your opponents will (rightly) come after your bounty with some speculative stuff.

This is a commanding position to be in. I get to play much more aggressively now that I cover everyone else at the table. The bounties are a major part of our EV in Grand Tour. It’s now time to gamble with the back up of extra bounty dollars within my reach.

A few hands later, a lovely looking opportunity comes up.

Spot 3 – So Much for my Comeback…

This KQs is a fantastic hand to shove and go bounty hunting. Unfortunately, I run into a monster.

And fail to suck out.

Spot 4 – Take a Peak

Crippled once again, I find myself in the BB in a very bizarre situation. The BU opens and the SB calls.

I have no fold equity here if I shove. That’s quite obvious. Clearly folding for this price is also out of the question. Some players feel nauseous about flat-calling here but this is an illusion.

There is no reason to think that just because you are investing most of your stack that you have to invest the rest.

I have the sort of hand that will either flop a pair or a draw, or nothing at all. If I flop absolutely nothing, I can get away from this with two and a bit big blinds and see if I can get lucky on another hand. I would much rather pay 150 to see if I get there than the rest of my chips so I make the call.

The flop rescues my tournament.

Needless to say, when SB bet, I stuck in the rest of my chips with two pair and couldn’t have been in better shape. A massive pot from nowhere. I thank my opponents for their courtesy in letting me steal a peak at that flop without having to risk my entire Grand Tour life.

Spot 5 – Time to Roll the Dice

With the blinds being huge, we had entered the shove or fold part of the game. I had to felt this QTo covering the BB.

Winning a 40/60 is always a nice bonus and this kind of fortune is necessary if you’re going to go from the $12 level all the way to the final.

I went on to win the ensuing heads up battle via another flip and took this one down. Back from the brink of defeat twice and onto the final.