News: Poker Basics – The Stop & Go

An old school strategy that can still be useful today, especially when you are getting short in a tournament.

poker basics
Call preflop, shove the flop

You don’t hear as much about the Stop & Go strategy these days but it was all the rage not so long ago and it is still quite useful today. 

The term was coined by WSOP Main Event champion Greg Raymer and describes when you call a bet with the intention of leading out the next street

It is most commonly used by short stacks in tournaments to take down pots without going to showdown. 

Out of position in heads-up pots

poker basics
A survival strategy

A typical example is you have 12 big blinds in the tournament and have 7 7 in the Big Blind. Your aggressive opponent opens from the Button, the Small Blind folds and you decide to call and shove any flop (or any flop that looks unlikely to have hit your opponent).

The logic goes that you have a strong but vulnerable hand. If you reraised all-in you might get called by a lot of overcard type hands that have five cards to outdraw you. However, your opponent will miss the flop 2/3rds of the time and be unable to continue most of the time if you shove. 

The strategy works well with a lot of mid strength hands but medium pocket pairs seem like a good candidate because you would prefer to see three cards than five cards with them most of the time

The Stop & Go only really works in heads-up pots, it is too risky to do it against multiple opponents. For that reason you also want to be quite confident that nobody will call behind you when you do flat, thus it works best from the blinds, especially the Big Blind where you can close the action. You need to act first on the next street so you have to be the out of position player. 

It is also a good strategy against aggressive players, especially ones you believe might call a reraise preflop but fold when they miss preflop. If your opponent is not aggressive post flop then there is not quite the impetus to be the one who bets first. 

The Stop & Go is a particularly useful survival strategy when you are short in a tournament but it is also a very exploitable strategy. Therefore you need a good read that your opponent would have called you preflop 3-bet and is also likely to fold to your post flop shove. 

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