What to do when you get shoved
on in poker
The successful player
in late tournament play will be faced with decisions such concerning
when to shove and when to call pre flop. This is particularly
the case in online tournaments whereupon a player will often
face a shove after making an open raise. Knowing how to handle
such a situation is vital in feathering the cap of a successful
player and can be the difference between another close miss
and a final table finish. Fortunately the solution is usually
In fact, this game
play article shouldn’t be too difficult to grasp even for a
beginner player. It should be the sentence, always open "always
have a plan", or at least this is true for the times when
you are the initial raiser. If you have yet to act there is
an all in in front of you it’s a bit trickier, but most shove/fold
situations are black and white, while the grey ones – lets call
then marginal and are too close to spend a lot of time analysing.
So the solution
is simple. Have a plan. Know your guns, count your chips then
decide what’s right. Happy days.
Once you get into
the shove or fold stages of a tournament all your decisions
are simplified. If you raise you should always know in advance,
whether or not you are happy to call a shove. However, even
the best laid plans can go wrong. There will be many variables
involved that sometimes your plan will and must change. Poker
is a complex game and a small change in starting conditions
can determine your final impact.
There will be many
factors to consider but some of the most obvious ones are golden:
Relative Hand Strength
And finally payouts if you make the final table.
An experienced player
may take some or all of these factors into a final course.
For instance if
you’ve got JH TH in the cut off and the 30BB stack and 3 equal
stacks behind you then you should open raise. However if the
situation is such that a player has a 15BB stack it would probably
be of benefit to fold given the high chance of getting shoved
on. If you know the maths it’s because against a standard shoving
range, here you have about 37% equity and need %41 to break
even. Likewise a change in the starting conditions can also
change a raise into a flat call by taking the same scenario
as above but in this instance you have AC AS and there has been
a raise from early position in the first situation with equal
stacks behind you ,you would almost always raise fro value.
In the second instance you could consider flat calling to induce
a 15BB stack to squeeze for the all in.
Calling ranges in
In the later stages of MTT’s, when you’re dealing with situations
with effective stacks of up to 20BB, most decisions become a
maths problem. But that doesn’t mean you need to be a maths
whiz to work out he solution. A lot of times really you’ll just
mark it as standard and go with your feeling. For instance,
say it folds to the small blinds, which shoves all in for 12
big blinds. You’re in the big blind with AJ suited and you know
you’re ahead of his shoving range, so you must call. But most
decisions aren’t that simple.
Sometimes it can
be very easy to narrow a players range down, as they will vary
their bet size according to their hand strength betting bigger
with bigger hands for example. But when stacks get shallower
many players (good and bad) will simply open-shove their entire
range, making it harder to pinpoint their hand.
As a general rule
if a player is good or competent, they’ll have a wider shoving
range than a so called fish, and as such you can call wider
against better players. Also if a short stack shoves from early
position you’d generally assume their hand was stronger than
if they did it from late position. However as the stacks get
shorter the desperation of early position player rises, as they
know the blinds passing through them can render their fold quality
almost nonexistent. As a result, they will start to shove wider.
Pay attention to you opponents and note which players shove
from weak positions and with what stack sizes so you can get
handle on their style of play. Take good notes, and specifically
not anything unusual. For example, if a player raise-folds with
a 15BB stack or flat-calls preflop with A-K suited and 20BB
What all these decisions
essentially break down to is putting a player on a range. Although
no two situations are exactly alike there are plenty of situations
that crop up time and time again.
One example i’ve
noticed is when you hold a low pair 3-3 and are facing a shove.
This is the kind of spot you will find yourself in time and
time again. If we give you 30BB stack and you are shoved on
by a 12.BB stack with antes in play you will need around 43%
equity to call. If you open-raised to 2.5BB before being shoved
on by only 15BB you will need around 37% equity. Your decision
here depends on stack sizes and your position in relation to
the person who shoved on you. Facing a short stack shove when
you are in the big blind, you will often fold against all but
the very loosest players. If you have open-raised and then been
shoved on from the blinds it’s a far more frequent call.