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Stop and Go Play

Being short stacked is one of the most difficult positions to be in at a poker table.  For on thing, your options are truly limited.  You can't enjoy the nearly unlimited range of fun plays.  You're usually waiting for that particular moment when you can push All-in.

But hold on – before you do that.  There may be something you can do that allows you to win a hand without putting everything at risk.  The Stop and Go.

DEFINITION

The Stop and Go starts with a hand that you would consider going All-in with, especially when Short-stacked.  But rather than push against a pre-flop raiser, you simply call (the "Stop").  After the flop comes, that's when you push (the "Go").

WHY NOT PUSH PRE-FLOP?

By essentially waiting until after the flop, you're giving your opponent an opportunity to get out of the hand after he misses the flop.  If you push All-in pre-flop, as the initial raiser, he'll feel compelled to call you, especially if your stack isn't large enough to force him out.  In that sense, he's in for the whole ride.  The Stop and Go gives you a chance to limit his ride.

Also, waiting for the flop also gives the illusion that your hand actually improved with the flop.

‘SPLAIN, LUCY

Let's take a look at an example.  Let's say you're down to your last 800 chips with blinds at 50/100.  You catch pocket 8s in late position. 

A player in mid position raises to 300.  Your read on him tells you he probably has something like A-J. 

Under most short-stack circumstances, you would be willing to go All-in with the 8s.  But this time, you decide to make a Stop and Go play, so you smooth call.

The flop comes 9-7-2, with two spades. 

Now it's Go time.  You push in and force your opponent to make a difficult decision.  Is he truly pot committed?  Or is he more likely to fear your hand now than he would have if you went All-in over the top of his raise?  If he didn't catch anything on the flop, he's less likely to call with only two cards to come.  Thus, the Stop and Go has worked it's magic, and you've lived to play again.