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Stop and Go with short stack...

    • deezer79
      Joined: 13.06.2011 Posts: 191
      Hi All. I keep coming across players who'll put a third of their stack in pre-flop OOP and just open shove the flop. I struggle to see how it'll be profitable calling off so much of your stack from the BB but lately wonder if it'll work as a way to win flips. Most of the time I get screwed on either turn or river so say I have 10bb in the BB with pocket 10s and get raised 3x, should I call and open shove a harmless looking flop?
      Just getting opinions cos I don't think it's wise to play short stack so passively pre-flop but might do something to appease the angry Poker Gods (or variance if your an atheist). Would rather take 6.5bbs on the flop than go bust.
  • 5 replies
    • kurrkabin
      Joined: 12.10.2010 Posts: 5,976
      No, if they do that, they are making a mistake for sure.

      When you have pocket TT for 10bb or less preflop, you shouldn't be calling raises. You should usually shove over the raise depending on how wide your opponent's range is.

    • pzhon
      Joined: 17.06.2010 Posts: 1,151
      Usually a stop-and-go refers to a flat-call preflop followed by a push on the flop. The OP's description could also refer to someone who makes a small raise, then shoves the flop, which is a bit different and is not usually called a stop-and-go. I'll talk about calling.

      This stop-and-go tactic has its place, particularly in SNGs. There are a few reasons to do it:

      :spade: 1) Your opponent may make the right decisions preflop, but may tend to make mistakes postflop when you use a stop-and-go. Many players know that they are "supposed" to call with almost any hand if they are closing the action get 2:1 odds all-in preflop (although that is not always true). They might not know what odds are good post-flop. Many players will snap-call preflop when getting 2:1 odds when they hold 66 or A3 or even J4, but will they be so eager to call a pot-sized push on a KQ8 flop, when they will have 2-3 outs if you really hit the flop? They might be way ahead, but that's not a type of decision they are comfortable making. This reason applies to other forms of poker, not just SNGs.

      When you are down to something like 2 big blinds in the small blind, and everyone folds to you, you might try a limp-and-go. If you push, the big blind will call you with ATC getting 3:1 odds. If you just call, and then push the flop, a lot of players will happily fold hands like Q5 unimproved, which might be better than your 95 unimproved.

      :spade: 2) You may feel that you gain more information than your opponent by seeing the flop. For this to work, you want to have a good understanding of your opponent's range and how he plays postflop, or a type of hand which either clobbers the flop or not. With a pot-sized bet left, a pair is clobbering the flop--you are not looking to flop a set or straight. A hand like A5 will often still be ahead even if it misses, but a hand like 85s may be clearly trash if you flop neither a pair nor a draw. You don't want your opponent to have a wide range so that 85 will often be ahead, or this loses its efficiency.

      :spade: 3) You may be reducing the impact of the collision between the raiser and yourself. According to the ICM, players not involved in the hand usually benefit when you get all-in. When you decrease the chance that you end up all-in, this can help both you and the raiser at the expense of the players who folded. Sometimes you are the main beneficiary of the decreased collisions. Sometimes the raiser is, but it's still worth it for you. Rational risk aversion is much more important in SNGs than MTTs before the final table. If you see MTT players discuss the stop-and-go they generally will not describe SNG stop-and-gos. They usually try to provoke errors instead (reason 1 above). It's not necessarily the case the you or the raiser will err when you use the stop-and-go. This is more important when you or the raiser is quite risk-averse.

      For example, if you are in a folding war on the bubble against another short stack, you are not risk-averse against that short stack, but you are risk-averse against big stacks. So, don't look to use a stop-and-go against the other short stack, but do look for opportunities against the big stacks.

      :spade: 4) If you are not closing the action preflop, flat-calling may give you valuable information preflop. If you call, a third player pushes, and the initial raiser isolates, you might be happy to fold. If there is a shorter stack acting after you, then you might get to see whether that player is all-in before deciding whether to get all-in. For example, suppose the blinds are 200-400 on the bubble, the big blind has 400 left after posting, you have the third stack with 2400 chips in the small blind, and a big stack minraises on the button with a wide range. You have a decent but not premium hand. If you push and the big blind folds, you might end up all-in against the big stack when you are quite risk-averse. If you flat-call, you get to see whether the big blind is all-in or not. If he gets all-in, then you become much less risk-averse.

      Here is another example peculiar to SNGs. Suppose you have the short stack on the bubble in the small blind, the second stack minraises with a top 20% range, and the big stack is in the big blind. If you push, you are getting all-in against the second stack. If you flat-call, the big blind gets to shove very widely, and the second stack can't call with much because if he calls you should fold anything other than AA, and then he would be all-in against the chip leader on the bubble. So he will fold a lot of his range, and then you can call against the much weaker range of the big blind, while getting better pot-odds. If you push, then the second stack is much less risk-averse against the big stack, so you will more often simply end up against the second stack's tight range, and you will sometimes pay the multiway penalty when you are the short stack all-in in a 3-way pot on the bubble. Sometimes the bigger stacks will flat your push and then check it down, which hurts you even more.

      It can be right to use a stop-and-go for a combination of these reasons. However, there are also reasons not to play a stop-and-go. Sometimes you lose value, or (when you choose to give up the hand on the flop instead of pushing) you let your opponent bluff you.

      Because stop-and-gos are complicated, it is easy to decide either that they just aren't your style, or to overuse them. Be careful of both errors.

      If you don't usually use stop-and-gos, a good time to consider them is when you compare pushing with folding, and find that pushing is a little better than folding, but still isn't very attractive. (As kurrkabin says, TT is usually way too good for this, but in some situations it would be ok.) This may mean that there is a lot of room for a stop-and-go to be better than pushing. Check whether the above reasons might apply, and see how the stop-and-gos you attempt work out.

      Would anyone want to see a video covering the above, or do they exist already?
    • ghaleon
      Joined: 17.10.2007 Posts: 5,940
      Might be interesting topic and as far as I know there has not been video for this. It's good way to create fold equity versus some recreational players or as you mentioned in some bubble spots.

      Also one way to kind of use this is in bubble when some short stack does almost all in play and you are middle stack. Blocks the situation that you shove, bigger stack call and open raiser folds. Obviously open raiser likely won't fold flop outside of miss clicking.

      I have sometimes thought of using the classical version versus regs in way that I call preflop, shove flop when hit and check unimproved. You know when you see some reg calling preflop with shallow stack ->"oh he goes for stop&go", flop comes and he checks - >"damn he has hit and hopes me to bet, A high is not good"

      I have seen that line many times even from decent regs and well have they hit? Yes most of time.
    • wiarygodny
      Joined: 16.07.2009 Posts: 1,395
      Originally posted by pzhon
      Would anyone want to see a video covering the above?
      Sounds like a great idea to me!

      p.s. it's great to see you back with the coach avatar! Congrats to you and!
    • pzhon
      Joined: 17.06.2010 Posts: 1,151
      I hope something will be worked out, but that is far from certain. If you value my videos and forum posts, please tell PokerStrategy.