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Poker "Go Plays"

Fold equity is extremely important in sit and go's and MTTs, especially considering that these games rely so much on a push/fold strategy. Sometimes, however, you won't have any fold equity preflop, making an open shove a less than desirable option.

So since you can't shove preflop, you'll instead use what I call a 'go' play. These plays maximize what little fold equity you might have by shoving postflop instead of preflop. To better explain how these plays work, I'll outline the basic idea of each one below including the best situations to use them in.

The Different 'Go' Plays

I'll list each individual play below. Afterwards, I'll go over some tips that you can use to help improve the effectiveness of these plays.

Stop and Go

The stop and go play is probably the most known and most commonly used 'go' play.

The stop and go is used when you have a hand you want to open shove with, you have the fold equity to do so and yet someone opens the pot before it is your turn to act. This leaves you with no fold equity if you were to re-shove.

So, instead of re-shoving, you flat call preflop. And then on the flop, you shove all-in.

Limp and Go

The limp and go is the play I recommend using when you are first to act and have no fold equity if you were to shove preflop. This is generally when you have around 5 big blinds or less - sometimes more if antes are in play and/or the big blind is deep enough to (spite) call.

To perform the limp and go, you simply open limp preflop and then on the flop, you open shove.

Go and Go

The go and go play is a play I use when I have something like 10 or 12 big blinds (give or take) and have a hand that I don't want to just open shove, but extract some value with. These hands can be premium or medium pocket pairs or hands like AK and KQ suited.

To perform the go and go play, you raise preflop and then on the flop, you shove.

Tips to Improve the Effectiveness of the 'Go' Plays

Here are some tips to help improve how well these plays work. Unless noted otherwise, most of these tips should apply to each play.

  • 'Go' plays are more effective when you can act first postflop. When you are able to act first postflop, you can shove and put the pressure on your opponent. It really is a headache to be 2nd to act, ready to shove and your opponent decides to donk the flop.
  • 'Go' plays are more effective when you are in a heads up pot. The more players that are involved in a hand, the more likely it is that some has a made hand. This in turn means you are likely to be called if you shove. By using these plays in heads up situations, you're counting on the fact that your opponent misses the flop 66% of the time.
  • 'Go' plays are more effective if you follow through postflop. Many players make the mistake of starting a 'go' play (stop, limp or go), but then chicken out on the flop when they miss. It's a big mistake to use up so much of your stack only to fold on the flop. I do realize some boards are really gross for stop and go's. But aside from heavily coordinated flops, you should always be shoving.
  • 'Go' plays are more effective verses regulars when you have pairs or high face card hands like AJ or KQ+ (depends on villains obviously). The reason for this is that most regulars know what you're doing. They'll counter by making thinner calls. For example, when a regular stop and go's verses me, I snap them off with a good ace like A9 or AT+ and sometimes KJ or KQ. I know what they're doing and know that they're doing it with a much wider range. If you can stick to pairs or higher face cards, often times you'll have the best hand, if not the best unmade hand when you're called light.
  • 'Go' plays are more effective when the amount you have left in your stack makes up almost a pot sized shove on the flop. You won't always be able to control this, so it's not critical. It should definitely not keep you from doing a stop and go. However, it's effective because the more that your opponent has to call to win the pot, the worse the odds they'll have. With bad odds, they're more likely to fold and less likely to make thin calls, even if they know what you're doing.

Summary of Poker 'Go' Plays

I do realize that some players will have the attitude that if you need to shove, you need to shove. It really shouldn't matter whether you have fold equity preflop or not.

However, having fold equity means that you don't have to race - you get folds and then collect the pot. You don't get that by shoving preflop with no fold equity because you'll have to see all 5 cards. You'll have to rely on what little edge you have, if you have any edge at all.

'Go' plays are lifesavers in these situations, as they maximize what little fold equity you have left and give you the best chance of avoiding an early exit in your SNG or MTT.

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