Jun 28 2010

Why Shove/Folding is Optimal

written by: John under Poker Pros Comments: 1

In tournaments, your stack is often going to be dwindled down to virtually nothing. This is nothing more than the nature of tournament poker, and sometimes there is nothing you can do about it. What you can do, however, is play the short stack as close to perfection as possible. There are, for all intents and purposes, three moves that become viable as a tournament progresses. Players can either fold, go all in, or call off their stack. Making a call of a raise while leaving an insignificant amount of chips behind is typically a terrible play. So too is raising anything less than the entirety of your stack when the blinds are high. Why? Because by making an all in raise, you are simplifying your post flop strategy, and, more importantly, putting your opponent to a tough decision.

The more chips that you raise with, the more likely you are to force a fold. In the later stages of a tournament, folds are often just as good as calls, even when you are holding a strong hand. The blinds become so large that one round of blinds can move you up the payout ladder. There are going to be plenty of times where a shove is going to be called by a superior (or inferior) hand that ends up beating us, but you can’t win them all. Make the best play available and things will work out. This is the unfortunate aspect of tournaments. Sometimes you have no choice but to go all in, even if it is far from the most relaxing play.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 33 Tournament, 300/600 Blinds 50 Ante (9 handed)

Hero (MP1) (t6058)

MP2 (t9813)

MP3 (t49602)

CO (t8076)

Button (t33893)

SB (t10464)

BB (t19144)

UTG (t3876)

UTG+1 (t9558)

Hero’s M: 4.49

Preflop: Hero is MP1 with Ac, Kd

2 folds, Hero bets t6008 (All-In), 3 folds, Button raises to t11416, 2 folds

Pre flop we are dealt a very strong hand. It is clear that folding AK in this spot would be a terrible mistake. No one raised before us and the odds are that we have the best hand, so we will be in good shape even if we are called. Sometimes we are going to flip a coin with someone who calls, but this is OK, the folds we get and the times we win will more than make up for it.

We are working with about 10 big blinds, and our stack is relatively short. Our open shove garners just one call, from AQ, we land a K on the flop and dodge running Qs or straight cards en route to a double up. If we had called or made a small raise, it would have been much less effective than putting all of our chips in the middle.

Flop: (t13366) 7c, Kc, 3h (2 players, 1 all-in)

Turn: (t13366) Ah (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: (t13366) 8c (2 players, 1 all-in)

Total pot: t13366


Button had Qh, Ad (one pair, Aces).

Hero had Ac, Kd (two pair, Aces and Kings).

Outcome: Hero won t13366

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