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To Shove or not to Shove - that is the Question!

By: baud2death @ 05:09 (EST) / 762 / Comment ( 0 )

We all know that when you get down to 12BB or less, the correct play for your hand is to either Fold it or Shove it.


That is fairly standard.

What isn't standard is when to do it. If you are playing it right ideally you want to pick a strong range of hands between 10-12 (these should still be your top premium hands just as if you were to play them normally with more BB, ie 88+, AT-AK), 5-10 you are looking for about 50-60% of hands so any Ax, any one gapper in Broadway that is suited any connected broadway cards and 3-5BB you want to widen this a lot more to 70-80% of hands so anything suited, any Ax or Kx, most one gappers (except really low ones) and 1-2BB you are shoving any 2 cards.

WARNING : When you have no fold equity (this is the size of your stack compared to the size of your opponents) then although with only 1-5BB or so you want to be shoving with pretty much anything half good or anything... you will get called. This isn't a "Shove-and-hope-to-steal-but-try-for-a-DU-if-you-get-called" situation - you will get called... its that simple. So you now need SHOWDOWN equity. This isn't to say that you shouldnt be playing any 2 cards at 2BB but just be aware that when you do shove and get called with Kx and your Q3o doesn't hold up, it was down to your Showdown Equity being too short. It is a very tight rope to walk down and you don't want to get blinded away by being too tight... just be aware that if you do shove when short, you will get called and you often need a much better hand than if you were at 10BB to survive.


Next is position.

Ideally you want to play these only when open and from C/O, BTN but the position and openness you play these from is about your opponents, how desperate you are as well as theother factors.

AJs might seem like a monster at 8BB but when you have a x3 raise before you, it might be worth laying it down and waiting for an Orbit.

67s might seem like a dog but if you are in the SB and your opponent is mega tight, you haven't tried much or any steals from him SB>BB and your fold equity is strong with him - you might consider a shove right there.


The reason I bring some of these points up is that I see it all the time where people don't manage their 10BB game right.

If not done right it is either :

a) Players are min.betting with under 10BB and then either folding to a bet on the flop or worse still keep min.betting the action on each street.

b) Players hit the 10BB point and all of a sudden its "Shove from any position with anything that is half decent"


I won't even comment on the first point... too fish to go into, just don't do it - end of discussion!


On the second point....

Whilst an UTG large raise or shove looks dominating when you have a strong stack. People scream "He has Aces!!" - with a shortstack you are giving 8 other people yet to act the chance to chop your legs out. Sure, its not automatic that the Big Stack(s) will challenge you but why take the risk?

Unless you do have a good hand (AJs+, AK, TT-AA) in that spot you really want to be folding this UTG unless you have VERY strong fold equity or you are really desperate.

KQo can be a really good hand when short but all you need is 1/8 opponents to challenge you with any Ace and you are stuck.

Also, what you want to avoid is the Mexican Wave. Typically I won't get involved with your shove if I fear there are bigger stacks that might re-raise but it still doesn't stop a lot of other people calling your action or reshoving until you have a big family pot where your chance of holding up ANY hand is chopped down.

Less opponents when shoving is ideal... you want to make sure your flips (ie pair vs AK) are against 1 opponent not 8!


Sometimes you have no choice and are so short you have to shove but i can't tell you how many times I have had something like in MP and get raised from UTG or UTG+1, I fold it because I not only don't want to run into their increased liklihood of not only a call BUT a good hand to call with.... I also have to worry about the remaining players at the table to act.


If you are shoving early on, you will end up chanting at your Monitor "Fold, Fold, Just Fold, Please Fold"


However when I do fold this, I might lose a few BB until the next round but I then catch JJ and shove even UTG, i get called by someone with Ax or even Kx ... sometimes a lower pair! and they don't improve so i can double up


The shove is the most critical part of any Poker Player's game. Without it you are better off just sticking to STT because any MTT needs smart Shove-Play and if you don't have it you won't last past the first 4 levels!


Just like AA is not a winning lottery ticket, nor is Ax when short. Sure, Ax when short can really get you out of a bind but when you are using it far too early or out of position, you might as well be playing AA, raising preflop and then willing to just shove it regardless when the flop comes with 4 opponents, a raise and 3 calls to you and a very wet board... The cards are not everything, position is!

Good Cards with position = Big Money

Bad Cards with position = OK Money if you can use it right

Good cards without position = Big Money if you can use it right

Bad Cards without position = Busto!





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