SNG ABCs: The Resteal

Fleeting victory!
The resteal: feels so good when you pull it off.

Everyone knows a successful sit-and-go player has to steal blinds. As the blinds go up, players know they need to make moves to survive.

Though most players know how essential stealing is, few actually take it a step further and resteal with any sort of regularity.

The concept is simple. If players are stealing, they are raising with less-than-stellar holdings.

These players will often fold to a reraise, forfeiting their original raise. This wins you not only the raise but also the blinds.

Restealing at opportune moments can sometimes make the difference between being blinded out of the money and going on to win the proverbial bracelet.

The Ideal Opponent for Sit & Go Resteals

Though restealing seems like a simple concept, it's actually fairly complex. It requires the perfect mix of the right timing, the right opponent, the right table image and the right hand.

The ideal opponent for a resteal is an aggressive blind-stealer. Ideally, you'd rather resteal against a good player than a bad one.

Barry Greenstein
Good players are better targets than bad players for a resteal.

Good players frequently steal from late position but do not want to risk their chips in marginal situations.

Bad players, however, still know how to steal but don't have that same risk aversion.

A bad player will be more likely to raise a hand like Q J, then call off 10 BBs more because he feels he is "pot-committed."

Agood player will not do this. A good player will realize he's been caught, muck his hand and move on.

It Should Be Obvious Who the Winners Are

Watch the table flow.

It should be fairly obvious who the winning players are. If they are often raising from the button and cut-off, you can likely infer that these players are decent sit-and-go players.

If you play sit-and-gos a lot you should take notes on players who go deep frequently.

Keeping track of the regs is just as important as keeping track of the fish.

There are plenty of regulars who grasp the concept of stealing but fail to realize that they are often getting re-stolen from.

Watch Your Table Image

Patrik Antonius
Watch your table image.

Table image is a crucial factor in all facets of poker. It's especially important in sit-and-gos.

If you've been raising regularly, a few times an orbit, and restealing against late-position raisers, players are bound to catch on.

They are going to view you as a maniac and they are going to want to bust you. If you don't change speeds, it's inevitable that eventually some player is going to look you up.

Be cognizant of how you are perceived at the table - some players love standing up to the table bully and others are more than happy to wait and hope another player takes him on.

Try and identify which player is which, then avoid the former and punish the latter. That way you can maximize how often your opponents fold and minimize the chances they will call.

Seldom a Good Idea to Re-Shove Any Two

The nature of the resteal is that you're doing it with a less-than-awesome hand. If you were reraising with AA, it wouldn't be a steal, would it? No; it would be for value.

So the idea is you do it with an average hand. You know your opponent is raising light and you are banking on him folding. Your hand value isn't as important.

That being said, it's seldom a good idea to just re-shove any two. There is always a chance you'll be called so when you do re-shove you want to have some type of hand to fall back on.

For example T 9 does a lot better versus K K than 3 8 does. You're relying on fold equity, but you need to have some hand value as a backup plan.

Fold Equity in Sit & Gos

Since you're relying on fold equity, it doesn't make much sense restealing without fold equity, does it?

Ben Lamb
Be sure about your fold equity.

No it doesn't. But people attempt to do it all the time. If you're reraising without fold equity, it better be for value.

The resteal is an attempt to steal the pot. If your opponent is pot-committed, he's not going to fold.

So add up your reraise, his raise and the blinds, and if his call is laying him 2-1 or better, do not resteal. Fold and wait for a better spot.

Fold equity is the single determining factor in choosing whether to steal or resteal.

If you have a good reason to believe that the original raiser is going to fold, you can absolutely shove very light on him.

It's a move that, when added to your repertoire, will start winning you pots you had no business being in in the first place.

It's a move that feels great when you pull it off and makes you feel like an idiot those times you do get called.

However, if you follow my instructions and look for good spots against known stealers, you'll find yourself getting more folds than calls.

More sit-and-go strategy articles from Dan Skolovy:

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Steal Re-Raise 2010-01-16 06:23:42

I like the picture in this post of Alexandre he is using the same look that chan uses to take a pot down!

bennie99 2009-10-30 11:14:00

I hate people like enzo who think that short stacks are always bad players and big stacks are always great players. In a sit ng go, that's far from always the case.

Seasonal Dysfunctions 2008-08-28 19:41:00

Enzo, in your humble opinion, are you a profitable multi-table SNG player? According to SharkScope, if you are player name 'Enzo' on Inter, the proof is in the pudding.

Seasonal Dysfunctions 2008-08-27 01:32:00

Re-steal ftw. Esp in HB situations. And, I love to push on the HBLs. Apparently Enzo doesn't collect many bracelets at the 45-man turbos. Enzo, do you play on Inter?

Mark 2008-08-27 01:27:00

Enzo, you are wrong. If you have to steal the blinds does NOT mean that you have screwed up somewhere along the way.

Think about when you are down to the last 3 players in a SNG when the blinds are pretty big. Stealing the blinds is essential to winning here. Your opponents are not going to fold, and just give you pots. They will be raising to try and steal the blinds and antes, and you should be also. If you don't you WILL get blinded out. It's a simple as that.

rick johnson 2008-08-26 23:41:00

Lol you are clearly a losing poker player if you think that way.

Enzo 2008-08-25 05:22:00

I understand the concept of stealing blinds, but it is usually obvious and also there's no reason the SB or BB doesn't have a monster hand.

Against anyone decent, you'll lose as many chips as you steal. I'd rather concentrate on building a big stack, playing solid poker and defend my own blinds instead. Usually the chip leader didn't have to worry about stealing blinds. While stealing blinds can help you stay in the game, if you have to steal blinds, you have screwed up somewhere along the way.


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