Poker Trends and Plays: Part 1

Published on Dec 6th, 2008

Over the course of the evolution of tournament poker, certain plays have come in and out of style and popularity based on how well known they've become and their effectiveness. In an earlier article, I discussed the difference between manipulative and deceptive play and most of these plays fall down on the manipulative side of things as you're often making said play with a pretty narrow range, and it's important for your opponent to be unaware of what you're doing in order for the play to work up to it's potential. We'll take a look at what the plays are, how they're used, and what their utility is in the current tournament poker environment.

The Stop-n-Go

How it's used: By calling a raise or reraise pre flop out of position with the intention of open shoving the flop.

Current utility: Almost none. The stop-n-go is a highly outdated play though you still see it attempted in low to mid stakes tournaments from time to time, as well as in some live play. The stop-n-go was originally a useful play because people would actually make terrible pre flop calls for 1/3rd of their stack then open shove the flop when they flopped a pair in order to protect their hand. Anyone with half a brain can figure out why nobody should be flat calling 1/3rd of their stack pre simply hoping to flop a pair, and then shove that pair instead of checking to induce a bet to gain value before cramming. I've seen a few rare instances in live poker where I think this move can still be appropriate, but anyone playing mid to high stakes tournaments online should retire it.

The Squeeze

How it's used: By making a re-raise (be it nominally or all-in) after one player raises and another player flat calls behind and the action comes to you.

Current utility: Occasional but increasingly rare. At this point most players (including many recreational live players) are aware of the squeeze and the fact that people can show up very light when doing it. The play used to be more effective when players were looser and weaker and made bad flat calls with no real plan for action behind. However, there are still numerous situations, both live and online (though I think it's a bit better live where people are still making too many bad flat calls pre-flop) where making a light squeeze is the best play because of the players and stacks involved. Additionally, when playing on a table with thinking players, you need to have the light squeeze in your arsenal otherwise they can feel confident folding considerable hands to you if you're only re-raising in that situation with big hands.

The Go-n-Go

How it's used: A player in late position raises and you re-raise out of one of the blinds to an amount that leaves you with roughly a pot sized bet on the flop, which you will shove close to every time (with the exception of flops you absolutely crush). It is normally done with a good hand that can connect well with the flop in a situation where you don't expect the original raiser to call a shove, though it can be done with some weaker holdings.

Current utility: Moderate online, massive live. There are still many players online, even in high stakes tournaments, who will flat call a re-raise for approximately 30% of effective stacks with too wide a range and no real plan for the flop. In the arena of live play, this still has huge effectiveness as even many professionals still call pre-flop re-raises far too wide and will wind up having to fold on the flop a ton when it whiffs their hand. However, it's worth noting that this play is essentially useless against most online high stakes MTT regulars who are fully aware that once you put in roughly 30% of your stack pre-flop you are basically never intending on folding.

* This is Part 1 of 2 of Bond18's "Poker Trends and Plays" article. Read Part 2


Tony Bond18 Dunst is a Triple Crown winner and a respected poker author. This article is Part 22 of his Things it took me a while to learn series. To read more articles from Bond18, visit his PocketFives profile page, our Poker Articles section, or his blogsite,

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Articles by Bond18

Catching Bluffs from Weak PlayersThe Difference Between Manipulative and Deceptive Poker PlaysPutting the Pieces Together - Part 2Putting the Pieces Together - Part 1Self ImprovementThe Flaw in Level 2 ThinkingRanges - Part 2Ranges - Part 1



  1. <p>Gotta love anything from Bond.</p>

  2. <p>Stop and stop.  Cold call pre oop and open fold the flop.</p>

  3. <p>stop and stop ownage</p>

  4. <p>what if you stop and go aces</p>

  5. <p>lol @ stop and stop</p>

  6. <p>i'll be expecting my royalty check in the mail</p>


    <p>great article as per usual, sir</p>

  7. <p>Isn't stop-n-go somewhat better than shoving sometimes with a marginal hand and a stack with no FE preflop? </p>

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