Isolating short stacks in Sit-and-Go tournaments

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Posted on: June 9, 2020 6:55 pm EDT

Putting a short stack on the edge is a great way to control the pot in Texas Hold’em

Building a workable stack is one of the best strategies that can be implemented in a sit-and-go tournament; it gives you freedom to make other plays like stealing blinds or isolating players. Isolating a short stack is when you raise or shove over a short-stacks open-shove. It is easier said than done and there are many variables including ranges, pot odds and table dynamics that need to be considered before applying this strategy.

The decision becomes difficult when only one of those variables is acting in your favor while the others aren’t. But the most important one of those variables to pay attention to is the opponents’ shoving range. For this, you need to place each opponent on a range of possible hands to determine if yours has more equity.

This can change from player to player. One player might choose to shove 15% from a middle position with ten big blinds, while another player might go for 25%. But, if you manage to place them in a range effectively, half of the job is done to isolate a short stack. As a rule of thumb, players sitting near the button will have much wider shoves than those under the gun.

When you have the range established then you need to determine your opponent’s range to figure out how much equity he has. This is something that can be done by reviewing hands history out of the tournament as it can be complicated, especially if playing on multiple tables.

Finally, after reviewing those odds, you need to determine if the risk is worth it. Think about how much you need more chips; sometimes it is not worth it trying to take a 5% edge while risking losing the race.