Stop-and-go can pre­serve a short stack

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Showtime - Palm Beach - - POKER - By Chad Hol­loway

Poker tour­na­ments are tough, es­pe­cially if you’re short-stacked. When you’re low on chips, it might seem as if fold­ing and shov­ing are your only two op­tions, but that’s not the case. Another po­ten­tial op­tion is the “stop-andgo,” a two-part move set up pre­flop and ex­e­cuted post­flop.

The stop-and-go play be­gins when an op­po­nent raises pre­flop and you just call, as op­posed to mov­ing all in. This is of­ten done when you have a medi­ocre hand that you’re hes­i­tant to move all in with for fear of be­ing called. In­stead, you call with the plan of shov­ing on the flop if you hit any part of it.

A great ex­am­ple of this ma­neu­ver t ook place dur­ing a $5,000-buy-in tour­na­ment ear­lier this year. There were 84 play­ers re­main­ing from a field of 366, each Daniel Ades’ hand: look­ing to make the 72-player prize-money cut­off. With blinds at 1,200-2,400 and an ante of 400, Michael Lech raised to 5,500 from the cut­off, and ac­tion folded to Daniel Ades, who was sit­ting with just 16,000 in the big blind.

Most of the time, play­ers in this spot would ei­ther move all in or sim­ply fold. How­ever, the time was right for a stop-and-go. Ades held 8c 5c, which isn’t a great hand, but it’s not a bad hand when Flop: you al­ready have 2,400 in­vested and it’s just 3,100 more to see a flop.

Re­mem­ber that with the stopand-go move, the plan is to move all in if you hit any part of the flop. That puts the pres­sure on your op­po­nent, who can ei­ther fold or call. If he elects to do the for­mer, that’s great, as you’ll pick up the pot with­out re­sis­tance. If he calls, you may be ahead, but if not, chances are you’ll at least be draw­ing live.

The flop came down 3s Kh 5h, and Ades, true to form, moved all in with his pair of fives. He had some fold equity — the equity a player can ex­pect to gain from an op­po­nent fold­ing his or her bets — and it proved enough to get Lech to lay down his hand.

“I had deuce-nine off­suit,” Lech said of the hand. “Ades had been quite tight, and I was at­tempt­ing to pun­ish the [money] bub­ble. It back­fired. I should have made my open bet big­ger, but I didn’t think he wouldn’t de­fend eight-five suited there, hon­estly.”

When asked what sort of hand he would have needed to call Ades’ shove, Lech had an an­swer.

“I think for my stack size and his four-big-blind shove, I’d prob­a­bly call with any­thing that had back­side draws such as all ace-high hands down to jack-ten, most likely,” Lech said. “If my deuce­nine was suited I might have even called.”

The next time you’re play­ing poker and find your­self run­ning low on chips, don’t for­get about the stop-and-go. It’s a strong move that, when prop­erly ex­e­cuted, can help you re­build your stack.

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