SNG Strategy - Is There a Place for the Stop-And-Go?

The ‘Stop and Go’ Is Usually Used When Short Stacked in Multi-Table Tournaments
Could This Move Work In SNGs?

The phrase 'Stop-and-Go' was coined by Greg Raymer (aka The Fossilman) some years ago to describe a play associated with Multi Table Online Poker Tournament Strategy. The idea is that - instead of re-raising someone pre-flop when out of position - you flat call their raise with the intention of betting any flop (well almost any flop!). This bet is most often all-in.

The thinking behind this is that you can get the pre-flop raiser to fold hands which they would have called a re-raise with before the flop. It avoids 'racing' with a strong but not premium hand and gives you extra ways to win the pot... here is an example:

You have 6000 chips after posting the BB in the mid-stages of an online poker tournament - the blinds are 600/300 with a 25 chip Ante. It is folded to the player in the C/O who makes it 2000 to go and has a big (25000 chip) stack. Folded round to you in the BB and you look down at pocket 8's. They range you assign to the C/O is 55+ A10o+ KQo+. What to do now??

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Here re-raising all in is an option - there are 3000 chips in the pot after the CO's raise - you then make the pot 9000 in total and it is 4000 more for the big stack to call... he is getting over 2/1 on a call that can not bust him and should make the call with any legitimate raising hand - and many 'stealing hands' too. You have approximately 50% against his range and doubling up would give you a chance to progress in the tournament.

The stop-n-go could be a better option here. Flat calling the raise with the intention to push those last 4000 chips on almost any flop... the advantages of this are that you could now get the CO to lay down many of the hands he would have called with before the flop - some of which would have had you dominated and others which would have been a coin-flip.

Missed Ace-x hands and KQ would most probably fold. Pairs - especially those under the highest flop card might

fold too... the stop-n-go has given you more ways to win a pot that you would have contested anyway...

I should note that a pre-requisite for this play is that you are first to act after the flop... if you act second and someone bets ahead of you then -poof - all your plans go up in smoke!

So - my question is whether there is a place for this in SNG Tournament play?? Not such an easy one to answer!!

If we were to transpose the above scenario to a SNG bubble then the default play would usually be to fold pre flop as you really need fold equity to play (of course this would heavily depend on the raisers range and the stack sizes of all the players in relation to the blinds). The key though to the scenario outlined is that you have 10BBs... how about a situation where you only have 5 and a medium / small stack puts in a small raise??

Here you have a case for a stop and go against a passive player especially... he may think is AJo is good before the flop but would not be happy to call a big bet after the flop if it missed - similarly if he were holding 99 in the same situation and the flop came K 10 2 he may fold – you have given yourself some ways of winning a pot you might not have contested.

My personal feeling is that people are in general too likely to call in a lower limit SNGs to make this move effective - but in exactly the right circumstances there may well be a place for the Stop and Go!!

Greg Raymer can be found online at PokerStars – Find out for yourself why this site is the world’s number #1 internet poker room today. Use Affiliate Marketing code = PSP3108 (when you register) and then Bonus Code = STARS600 to claim your 100% to $600 start off bonus which can be claimed over up to 3 separate deposits- check out PokerStars for yourself now!.

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