A Guide When Going All-in

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An Introduction to All-in poker

When going all-in in poker is a common question but also one that is hard to answer as there are so many ways to get our chips in the middle. We will explore some overarching general concepts as well as look at a few more concrete scenarios.

When to Go All-in

  • With a strong hand playing against hostile players, because it is easy to cut off their chips before an opponent then claims them. Aggressive players don't like backing down and can turn that mindset against them.
  • A go all-in move on the flop can hold opponents back from limping in to see the river and turn cards. This will secure an early advantage and discourage players from holding on before the cards they need are obtained.
  • Going in all can work as a bluffing tool, but only against the right players and cards. A modest opponent that rarely takes risks, for example, is the perfect target for bluffing with an all-in move.
  • Each player must inevitably face a time of watching their chip stack dwindle away. Eventually, the last stand has to be made, but preferably when a strong hand presents itself. To hold out too long could eliminate any chance to stay in the game.

How to Calculate Side Pots

Side pots are a common phenomenon in betting at both, as it is unlikely all the players involved will have the same count. This is not sufficient for two players, but it can allow several side pots for three or more players. So, it does not mean their opponents have to stop betting on a hand just because some players have fewer chips.

It's easy for online poker players to deal with side pots because the program is programmed to monitor the chips automatically and perform all the calculations. Using a pen and paper in offline games can be helpful, especially when there are four or more players involved.

All-in Poker Rules:

Table Stakes

The rule of table stakes states that a player can not be tempted to wager more than he has brought to the table. In the past, richer players may have been able to bully poorer players by betting amounts so large that even if they wanted to, no-one would be able to call. A reluctance to call should have been known to be folding equal, and the rich player is even richer.

Side Pots

Side pots are primarily generated in multi-way situations where one player is all-in, but the remaining players compete for additional chips.

Poker All-ins – When to Commit

Now that we are out of the way to the rules let's think about strategy. To get our stack all-in, we will outline some general guidelines.

Facing an All-in-The most important concept in the face of an all-in from our opponent is pot-odds. If we are not familiar with pot-odds, this is a great opportunity for us to look for some material on the topic. The basic idea here is that to call an all-in from our competitor; we don't need to be a statistical favorite.

There are still some chips in the pot, so for us to call an all-in even as an underdog is mathematically right. If there are a large number of chips in the middle, then being a big underdog is okay. If there are a very small amount of chips in the centre, when calling, we must be just a slight underdog.

Things can often be a little different for the poker tournament matches. It's possible to get the pot-odds on a call, but due to ICM considerations, the call can still end up being incorrect. Often, conserving our stack based on the structure of the tournament is more important. Tournament players may want to look for "ICM" details to understand better how that affects their calling decisions.

Making an All-in-Being the poker aggressor is better than being the caller as a really rough reference. When we shove as the aggressor, there is always a possibility our adversary will fold. When it is called, it is a combination of our fold-equity and our pot-equity that determines our expectation. There's no easy formula for this, but by learning to run EV calculations and using tree-building tools such as Cardrunners-EV, we can improve our effectiveness here.

Exploitation of players who fold too much is especially profitable. A player who calls on the previous streets for too many all-ins is undoubtedly exploitable, but they are somewhat protected by the fact that they will always be able to realize their equity fully.

Poker All-Ins – Relevant Variables to Consider

Of course, there is a lot more involved than just knowing who the aggressor is and who the caller is. Now we will list some of the other essential variables to determine whether to commit our stack.

Effective Stacks and SPRs – The type of hands we choose to go all-in with will be greatly influenced by the successful stacks. The deeper the successful stacks, the stronger our hand needs to be for getting all-in. With effective stacks of around 20-30bb, folding any top-pair is rarely considered right. Usually, we will go for our side if our opponent tries to go all-in. Certain holdings may be subject to similar laws. At stack depths of about 40-50bb, folding over any pair would usually be wrong. Folding sets are frequently incorrect at stack depths under 100bb. Stack depths can thus help formulate a rough guide to commitment decisions.

SPRs, or "column-to-pot ratios," vary slightly from column size. SPRs describes the ratio of chips in the pot to chips on the stacks in effect.

They provide a model for engagement decisions which takes into account how the pot is on the flop "bloated." Maybe we should get away from TPTK (top-pair-top-kicker) in a single-raised pot where the SPR is high (around 15). However, it may be wrong to get away from TPTK in a 4bet pot where the SPR is in the 1.5 region-though in both scenarios we may have identical effective stacks.

Another way to express this concept is as follows: the larger the number of preflop chips that we have invested, the less correct post-flop folding will be.

Type of Opponent

We don't want to make choices simply dependent on the SPR and the kind of hand we have. Poker is a people's game, and our all-in decisions should be heavily tailored according to the type of opponent we face.

If our opponent is exceptionally tight and only gets the stacks in with substantial holdings, then we want to be very careful in calling his all-ins. A certain holding may seem like a proper all-in based on our knowledge of SPRs, but we want to retain the ability to ignore that and make the best exploitative choice.

As described earlier, if our opponent folds too frequently, aggressive all-in decisions are particularly useful. Even if he calls too often against shoves, we can leverage this by broadening the number of hands we use as value-shoves. In the 5bet example, we reflected, we could not significantly expand our 5bet range against a non-folding opponent.

This assumption was because a) we thought his range of 4bet was fair and b) he had more preflop equity than he would have on later streets. In later streets, where our adversary has fewer resources to know, extending our value-shoving range is especially profitable.

This condition is especially true on the river where our opponent might be content to call against a jam a wide range of zero-equity holdings.

Some All-ins are stronger than others. We want to analyze as best we can whether the line of our opponent is checking out. Is he holding the hand that he represents? Our capability to figure this out will increase as we become well versed with various trends displayed by the pool of players.

One of those variables is the extent of the flop boost for our opponent after betting the flop. Player pool analysis shows a strong trend toward small flop rises being stronger than all-in flop shoves. Without understanding the setting, many players do not realize this. It seems logical to assume, after all, that a greater increase is always stronger than an average smaller increase.

Calling our overpair vs. a flop jam might therefore always be right but consider folding our overpair sometime before the river after our opponent uses the short flop-raise line. Of course, the answer to the GTO style is a little different. We should essentially never fold overpairs in 3bet pots, with effective stacks of 100bb, according to GTO poker. That factor does, however, matter relatively little. We should be interested primarily in creating efficient exploits based on our knowledge of what specific lines represent.

Relative Hand Strength

It can be problematic following some type of engagement system based on the absolute strength of the hand. Imagine, for instance, that we had an all-in rule where we never fold a set of effective stacks with 100bb.

Poker Tips for Going All-in

  • Never get everything out of frustration, even if you play with a short stack. When the opponent calls with a higher pair, a low pair or lower card would have limited interest in a single-on-one showdown.
  • Players who are in the weaker position may use an all-in motion to unsettle their opponents.
  • Betting in hand from the early position would offer an advantage to opponents because they have more details to use in their answer. This can form an even more effective bluff when paired with an all-in but only with a strong read on opponents.
  • Being predictable will only make it easier for opponents, so it's important not to overuse or underuse everything that goes into it. The opponents can figure out how to win by adopting an unbalanced strategy.

Going all-in is unavoidable in poker, so it's important to at least grasp the fundamentals make successful use of this technique.

When to go all-in

There are a few basic situations where it makes perfect sense to bet all-in:

  • You 're confident you've got the best hand, and you know you'll be called
  • You are pretty sure that your opponent is one card short of a winning hand and all-in movement will stop him from having the card he wants
  • You don't have many chips left, and you just need to go all-in to stay in the game, but the odds are that it's the right thing to do

Poker is about an information game. You look at your rivals, and they do the same to you. If you're just modestly betting on a strong hand to draw people in, they will finally see what you're up to – and your perfectly decent, classic strategies will stop working.

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