Shoving in 3-4 Handed Play
In the previous article our focus was on the equilibrium calling strategy. Today we start to see how the bounty factor in Grand Tour affects strategy. As we know, Grand Tour is a progressive bounty builder tournament. This means that the money comes from knocking out other players and adding to your own bounty by doing so. We score the big money in Grand Tour by winning the race and scooping up our own bounty at the end – provided that it is over $100. Since there is a lot of extra money up for grabs every time you get it in against an opponent you cover, you are incentivised to gamble more when you have a shot at someone else’s whole stack.
Shove wider when you cover opponents and be a little more patient when you are the shortest stack.
Being the Short Stack
While there are still multiple opponents remaining, and we are covered by them all, we want to be quite patient – much more so than we would in a regular SNG or MTT where bounties are not a factor.
The point here is that by hanging around a while longer and turning down a few marginally +chip EV shoves (shoves that they are profitable in terms of tournament chips but not necessarily in terms of money) you might get a shot at another player’s bounty when one opponent ALMOST eliminates another. One of the most lucrative situations in Grand Tour occurs when an opponent is hanging on by a few chips. His tiny stack and bounty then become easy prey for anyone who happens to wake up with a half-decent hand.
This is why it pays to be patient as the short stack when there are still three or four players involved. You might get into one of these tiny stack hunting situations. In a later episode we will see how crazy the other players are incentivised to play when someone is almost out and committed to the pot.
Note, however, that applying the same philosophy heads up is pointless. In these situations, you need to double up to even get a shot at your opponent’s stack so what are you waiting for? Hanging around cannot lead to a good opportunity, only an even worse one!
Even in three or four handed play, we want to avoid becoming massively tight as the short stack – just a bit tighter than normal will do. Here are some ranges to get your teeth into.
Shoving as the Short Stack in the CO with 12BB
Let’s say that we have taken a hit early on are down to just 600 chips from our starting 1200 or so. The blinds are still at the starting level of 25/50 and we find ourselves on the CO. We are covered by every other stack at the table meaning that everyone has a shot at our bounty, but we don’t have a chance at theirs until we’ve doubled up. Here is the range we should shove with. Regular MTT players might be shocked at how tight this is, but remember, the incentive of future bounties makes us more inclined to bide our time.
It is deeply counterintuitive to fold a hand like KJo here or A7s but if we are playing push fold in order to preserve maximum clout with our future jams, then into the muck these hands must go.
What if we Cover the Big Blind?
Time for a little thought experiment to help us appreciate the true effects of bounties. If the player in the Big Blind has suffered a similar fate to us early on and is down to say, 11.5BB; how much wider can we shove now that his bounty is ours for the taking?
This much wider:
As you can see, it makes a huge difference when we have a shot at even just one bounty, especially because the big blind is the most incentivised to call since there are no players lurking behind him.
Shoving as the Short Stack on the BU with 12BB
Again, as the short stack there is little to gain by risking 12BB just to win the blinds. While a double up is nice, it does not lead to any immediate money through bounties. You might well end up crippling an opponent just for someone else to come along and finish them off. Moreover, you have to be alive to pick off a bounty, so again, the game theory of Grand Tour involves loitering around as the short stack, waiting for the tide to turn and for someone else to get shorter than you.
Make light shoves when you cover opponents
Avoid light shoves when opponents cover you
Think of it from the SB and BB’s points of view. They will be itching to call off your shoves lighter to get a shot at your bounty. The high multiplier bounty prices are a huge temptation so some players might even call you too wide. You need a much stronger hand when you’re expecting less folds.
Here’s the BU shoving range at 12BBs deep when we’re covered by both blinds:
What if we Cover the BB?
And again, this widens hugely when the BB has a big blind or so less than we do. As he is forced to tighten his calling range, we get to expand our raising range due to the extra fold equity. If he decides to get stubborn and call it off too wide, then fine, we get a shot at his bounty.
Here is our shoving range with 12BB when we cover the BB, but the SB covers us both:
There we have it – the difference is huge here. As the number of players decreases, the effect of covering one opponent increases, as you become more likely to get that opponent to yourself.
Always make sure that you scan the stack sizes and understand who covers whom before you act.
- Be cautious when you are covered by all opponents. You have little to gain by shoving, and, if eliminated, you’ll miss out on a shot at anyone’s bounty and that jackpot prize!
- Shove much wider when you cover an opponent, especially when that opponent is in the big blind.
- Whether or not you cover a player can have a larger impact on your shoving range than your position at the table!
- Scan the tale before you act, the money is in the detail!
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