Looking at chances to shove in SNG’s

One of the key skills in playing SNG’s is survival. This is key because many of your cashes will depend on a carefully staged entry where you shove all in and either win the pot without being called or if you do get called and you double through. I think that there is a key stage in SNG’s where you have either made a move too early or left it too late. I call this stage of the poker tournament the “pivot point”. Moving all in too early risks needless elimination and if this happens at the four or five player left stage then you can be left feeling frustrated when you feel that you could have done something else.

Getting the timing right

However this is in stark contrast to leaving it too late and being the smallest stack on the table. You really need to have fold equity to maximise your stack preservation strategies and if it isn’t present then one of two things will happen. The first one is that your opponents will call you and this isn’t really what you want when you move in unless you have a premium hand or a huge stack. Let us look at an example here to show you what I mean. There are five players left and the stacks are as follows, 4100, 3800, 3000, 2800 and 1300.

You are the player with the 1300 stack and so you are clearly under pressure to accumulate chips. In all probability then the player with the 2800 stack will want to do one of two things. They will want another player to knock you out so that they can get to the final four stage with no risk or they will not want to do it themselves. If they call your all in and lose then their stack becomes 1500 while yours becomes at least 2600 and probably more if there are blinds or antes.

Will they call you

So in one second flat and in the blink of an eye and the situation has been completely reversed. In fact even the player with the 3000 stack will think twice about calling you. If you allow your stack to drop a mere 400 points then only having 900 has serious consequences. It means that any of your opponents can call your all in without becoming the short stack or the short stack by much. I feel that at the five player mark then you need to make a move at this stage rather than wait for the final four players and there are two reasons for that.

This is because with only four players left, you are far more likely to be called because your opponents know that they are only one more elimination away from the money. But also the fifth player has been eliminated and so their stack has been absorbed by the other players which means that your fold equity is even less because the average stack size has moved further away from you.