Pushing From Late Position After Several Limpers Can Be A Great SNG Move
Under The Right Circumstances!
Mid-Stages of SNGs always present us with a strategy dilemma, raising can use chips that would be more valuable (in terms of maintaining fold-equity) at the bubble… yet we would ideally like to grow our stack. With the blinds at around 10% of your stack and 7 or so opponents still in the game then the shove over limpers can be an effective – and relatively risk free – way to gain chips.
This article will look at the circumstances in which to use this move – and calculate the expectation of each attempt based on example hands. First a more detailed description of the kind of scenario we are looking at.
You have 1200 chips and are on the button… the blind is 150 and you see 2 limpers enter the pot ahead of you. You look down to see a hand like Ace-Jack or 99. Instead of making a raise here you simply shove all-in. If the limpers fold you just increased your stack by 525 chips (including the blinds), if someone calls you have a hand with some showdown value and may double up. The combination of these factors giving you a nice positive expectation on the move.
In order to work out the math behind this mid-stage SNG strategy we need to answer 2 questions.
- How often do we expect to have a caller? (discounting the rare cases of 2 callers for simplicity)
- When we are called what is our expectation against the range of hands which might limp and call an all-in reraise?
For the % called many factors come into play – the level of SNG you are playing will affect this – generally this will only be a small percentage of the time. After all, if anyone had a raising hand they have already had the opportunity to raise once.
For the blinds the range is vary narrow, premium pairs and AK (maybe AQ suited) we will give them 5% combined… they have seen 2 limps and a push ahead after all.
The limpers may have been sandbagging a premium hand. How likely this is depends on the individuals involved. The fact is that they have already shown weakness by limping rather than raising – we would expect the gap between their limping hands and those they would call a re-raise with to be fairly wide here.
Let us work with a 10% chance of a call from the first limper and an 8% from the second. The small differences taking into account that the second limper would probably have re-raised with many medium pairs (10-10 for example) to avoid a multi-way pot.
The sum of these chances of being called are thus 23%.
So – 77% of the time we win 525 extra chips with no showdown.
For the remainder of the time we need to work out how our hands fare against the range of hands that we might be called with. The difficulty here is that (again, especially in the lower levels) we might get a ‘donk call’ by a wide range. On the whole we would expect to see a decent hand when called though – something like 77+, AKo+ and AQ suited.
Our equity is thus:
- 99 – 44%
- AJs- 36%
That is a nice percentage of wins to combine with the 77% that we win without a showdown. It should be crystal clear that this move has a positive expectation over time – as long as it is not over-used!
The last question is this: Could we have an even bigger expectation by playing the hand in a different way? Difficult. A raise to 500 or 600 chips might work, but if we are called then we are pretty much committed to the pot. The pot would be more than twice our remaining stack so any bet after the flop would offer us 3/1 pot-odds – what hands would you seriously fold here?
In summary, the push over limpers is a great way of gaining chips in the difficult middle stages of a Sit N Go tournament. The combined chances of your opponent’s folding with and your hands showdown value making this a win-win situation over time.