Stop And Go Tournament Strategy
Back before Greg Raymer was the World Series of Poker Main Event Champion, he was a lowly part-time internet player like so many today.
Raymer was primarily a sit-and-go player where 9 or 10 players battle it out at a single table. While this advanced strategy can work in live poker, it is especially suited to online poker. These tournaments have a rapidly increasing blind schedule and require approach to strategy and technique that can differ from a multi-table tournament.
One tool that Raymer is credited with creating is a play using advanced poker strategy called the Stop and Go.
Small Pair and Short Stack
The stop and go is an advanced poker strategy used specifically for when you dealt a pocket pair and are short stacked in an online poker tournament. This strategy works best when you are in the big blind and face a raise from a single opponent. The best way to illustrate this play is through an example:
You are in the big blind with 9 big blinds and are dealt pocket eights. A player in late position opens the pot for a standard 3x BB raise. Action folds around to you and you simply make the call, however, you commit yourself to pushing all-in no matter what comes on the flop. This is the essence of stop and go, and why it is considered advanced strategy.
There are three reasons why the stop and go technique can be a successful play a high percentage of the time.
- If you re-raise and push your short stack all-in before the flop with a medium pocket pair, you are likely to get a call from a large range of hands. A push here will get a call from several pocket pairs that are beating you at the moment, or two over cards which you would be racing against. Neither are situations that you want to get all your money in the middle of the pot with in a tournament situation.
- If your opponent does have a better pocket pair than you and he faces over cards on the board after you push on the flop he will have a hard time calling your bet. This technique will force him to fold a better hand and give you the pot.
- If your opponent has two overcards to your pair and fails to hit one on the flop he will almost surely be forced to fold. Maybe he even has a hand like 10-9 suited on a ten high flop and will have a hard decision on his hand.
Push After Flop to Win Pot
By delaying your all-in move until after the flop with the stop and go technique you give yourself a few extra ways to pick up the pot, possibly with the worst hand. Unless your opponent hits the flop hard, they will have a tough time making the call after the flop, whereas pre-flop they may have easily called the raise.
The key to pulling off a successful stop and go technique is committing yourself to the push no matter what three cards fall on the flop. If you were to chicken out and check to the original raiser you leave yourself open to an easy steal with a continuation bet. If you are short, and spot your opportunity for this play, commit yourself fully to the stop and go strategy and hope to gain some extra chips to mount your comeback.
By Tom Bostic
– Poker Expert
Article courtesy of Vegas Poker rakeback program.