10 Essential Texas Hold’em Moves: The Stop & Go

Winning at poker isn’t all about the 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.

How to Do a Poker Stop & Go

poker stop & go
Stop & Go is a tournament move.

The What: At its most basic the Stop and Go consists of just calling a pre-flop 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 & Go Done Right

The Stop and Go is a powerful move you need to add to your short stack 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.

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 pre-flop, you need to take another approach.

Stop & go poker

That’s where the Stop & Go comes in. Call pre-flop 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 pre-flop. 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 pre-flop. 

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.

Related Reading:

Practice the Stop & Go in Free Tournaments on PokerStars

Learn the Stop and Go in Less than 3 Minutes!

Watch the video below to see the Stop and Go move explained in less than 3 minutes:

Daniel Negreanu Explains the Poker Stop and Go

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

More Essential Texas Hold'em Moves:

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