10 Essential Texas Hold'em Moves: The Stop and Go

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The stop and go is an essential Texas Hold'em tournament move.

We’re here to tell you, winning at poker isn’t all about fundamentals.

There are a handful of special moves that, when mastered, can make the difference between winning a little and winning a lot.

In this ten-part beginner poker strategy series we’re going to show you exactly how to use these powerful poker moves to make more money.

Today we examine the Stop and Go, a move that will disorient, confuse, and ultimately break even the toughest of competition.

The What: At its most basic the Stop and Go consists of just calling a preflop raise while out of position with the intention of betting (usually all-in) on the flop no matter what cards come.

The Where: The Stop and Go is a tournament move that can be used effectively in MTTs and SNGs. The most common scenario involves calling from the blinds against a late-position opening raiser.

The When: This move is best used when short-stacked, with between five and ten big blinds.

The Why: The objective of the Stop and Go is to make your opponent throw away hands on the flop that he would have called with if you shoved pre-flop, therefore increasing your chances of winning the hand and staying alive in the tournament.

The Stop and Go Done Right

The Stop and Go is a powerful move you need to add to your shortstack tournament strategy repertoire. 

Picture this: You’re in the big blind, holding A-J with a 10,000 stack at 600/1,200 with a 100 ante. It’s folded to the button who puts in a raise to 3,600. The small blind folds and you’re faced with a decision. Do you move all-in now, just call, or fold?

Even if you’re holding a premium hand like A-K, there’s good reason to just call.

Day 1B
The stop and go will increase your chances of survival when stuck on the shortstack.
 

If you move all-in, the button will have to call 6,400 to win over 20k, which means he’s priced into calling with basically anything. In fact, most good players will already have taken note of your short stack and will only raise if they’re willing to call your shove.

Because your A-K is going to lose to two random smaller cards about 35% of the time, you’re better off taking down the pot uncontested. Since that’s unlikely to happen by just shoving preflop, you need to take another approach.

That’s where the Stop and Go comes in.

Call preflop with the intention of moving all-in for 6,400 regardless of the cards that come down.

When you bet all-in on the flop, your opponent is faced with a much tougher decision. Two random cards are going to miss the flop about two thirds of the time.

First of all he will fold a lot of hands he would have been right to call with preflop. Let’s look at the hand from before.

If your opponent had a hand like pocket threes he’s going to be looking at overcards on the flop, and will have a harder time calling than he would have preflop.

If he called with a hand like K-Q and the flop came T-8-5, he’s also faced with a tough decision.

By just calling before the flop you not only stand a better chance of winning the pot uncontested, you force your opponent into tough spots where they can make mistakes.

Daniel Negreanu Explains the Stop and Go

In case you're still wondering about the effectiveness of the stop and go, let Daniel Negreanu school you up.


Read More Essential Texas Hold'em Moves:

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About Matthew Showell

Matt Showell was born and raised in the fair city of Vancouver, Canada. He now spends the bulk of his time traveling the globe, reporting on the world’s biggest poker tournaments. Matt has lived and breathed poker since the end of high school when he learned the most common variants at home games with his friends. In university he made his living playing low-stakes cash games and multi-table tournaments online while following the professional circuit on television and the Internet and in magazines.

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Quadaces 2013-11-24 13:40:06

Addition: It is good to perform stop and go with small pairs because: You are most likely up to a coinflip preflop. If all 5 cards come down you are out in about 50% - but if you push all in on the flop you have about 66% of winning chance (fold equity) since your opponent has to hit the flop. And even if A K4 comes and you have 77 you need to push since he can have also a small pair or Q 10. Well that flop really sucks but you have to because that is a stop and go. No matter what cards come you need to push.

Quadaces 2013-11-24 13:34:46

Sorry imo the example with AK or AJ as Shortstack for a stop and go move is total bullshit. If you have these cards you are obviously committed with your stack to push all in preflop. The only effect could be that the opponent folds a small pair after the flop but then yet you want to max value with these hands even as small stack you want a double or nothing. When the button raises me when I am in the BB he most certainly has KJ , Ax, or small pockets. First of all AK owns everything except the pockets. You are favorite more than 65% if you dominate his hand. Small Pockets will call you on every flop without two overcards >=10 - if he has 77 and the flop comes with 8 10 3 - he will call you if you shove. If the flop comes J Q 3 then you might win with AK vs 77 but then again you have 10 outs here (imagine you were all in preflop it is a "ok" flop for you) - but if he has something like Q10 and he raised you are busted. So essentially you are giving him with a wide range a chance to hit the flop if you even call with that good hands just to push after the flop. And the thing is you made the mistake when he hits and you push all in. Of course he hits only 33% but as I said AK already dominates many hands (=lost value) and even has 65% win against random small cards preflop so why how exactly is 33% which is not even total acurate and 35% which is just for small cards not for cards like Q10 suited...how exactly is that a big difference?! And: How exactly is it better to win less in 66% of the time than to win more in 65% of the time when you put all your chips in preflop. (Note: He will always call you with Premium Hands so you are out anyways) --- a Stop and go should be performed with small pairs or with any2 cards. You are obv going for fold value in a stop and go move and not because you have the better hand preflop and don't want to see the showdown. If you play pussy poker you should not play poker at all.

Andy 2012-12-20 23:26:06

@ Liam: No, listen to Daniel's video again. You need a very short stack (which you should never be playing with in a cash game; if you ever find yourself that short you should immediately re-load) and have survival, not value, as your goal. It's basically a defensive tactical against blind stealers.

Liam Morris 2012-08-25 15:08:07

Can a stop and go be used in a cash game effectively?

doktordiversity 2012-05-18 22:06:56

Your out of position and get to act first. so only works for blinds essentially.

Timothy Buktu 2012-04-30 08:10:56

This assumes the opponent is going to check after the flop.... What if they make a hand and raise or even push you all in?