by Al Hart and Jonathan Little
The FloatTheTurn Push/Fold App, (available at FloatTheTurn.com/app), gives you Game Theory Optimal hand charts for short-stacked situations. The App and the Charts show you which hands you should go all in with when the action folds to you based your effective stack size. Game Theory Optimal means that if you play this strategy, you will be nearly impossible to exploit. Your opponents cannot learn or use a better strategy against you except to call with optimal calling ranges, and any deviation your opponents make from that strategy will win you money in the long run.
However, there will be times when you should not use these charts – such as when you decide to limp or raise with some of the hands, or fold some of the hands in the chart. I asked Jonathan Little for advice on how and when to use the charts when you are not using them precisely for push/fold decisions.
(Al Hart): Jonathan, in your new book, Mastering Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em, coming out this summer, you write about these charts and say that they assume your only options are to go all-in or fold. At what blind levels would you suggest always using the App?
Answer: (Jonathan Little): I usually follow the app when I have about 13 big blinds or fewer from the button and cutoff and about 11 big blinds or fewer from the earlier positions. From the small blind, I often use a wide limping strategy and adjust to a push/fold strategy with about 7 big blinds or fewer.
Q: If you are not going to always push/fold using the App – say with more blinds then you recommend, can you still use the App to decide what hands to push rather than simply fold, or open raise. For example, if you are going to raise with AA, KK, QQ and AK. How does that change the logic of the rest of the App’s ranges?
Jonathan: When you remove premium hands from your pushing range, you should remove some of the hands from the bottom of the pushing range. That said, if you plan to min-raise your best hands, you should also consider min-raising some of the hands that would normally fall in a pushing range in order to have some bluffs in your range. That said, if you are min-raising with your best hands in order to exploit your opponents, perhaps adding bluffs to your min-raising range does not make sense.
Q: If you are not going to use the charts in the App with 11 to 13 BBs or less because you feel people call too tightly how should you adjust your shoving range?
Jonathan: If I think my opponents are going to call too tightly, I would almost always widen my pushing range, or use a wide min-raising strategy. If you want to increase your pushing range a bit, you can simply use the “add 10%” option in the FloatTheTurn app to see which hands logically fit into the wider pushing range.
Q: Similarly, if you have pushed all-in often recently, how should you adjust you use of the App?
Jonathan: It depends on how you expect your opponents to adjust to your pushes. Some players may assume you are pushing overly wide and will adjust to call with a wider range whereas others will assume that you would be crazy to push all-in a second or third time with junk, leading them to think that you must have a strong hand. Since it is impossible to know how your opponents will react, you should continue to push with optimal ranges (assuming you were not already adjusting to take advantage of their tendencies.
Q: Should you change your use of the App because you have busted out the last two or three times you used it – because you got called by premium hands which won, or called by bad players with inferior hands that sucked out?
Jonathan: Not at all. When you go all-in, you have to understand that you will get called some portion of the time. When you get called, you will lose some portion of the time. Sometimes you will have the best hand and other times you will be behind. That is part of poker that you must accept. However, if you keep stealing the blinds in situations where your opponents pass on the opportunity, you will win more money than them in the long run.
Q: How can users learn more about using the App?
Jonathan: I have created an instructional video for the App and other Float the Turn Tools on this page: Instructional Videos. Also, I have written instructions for the app at the top of the App Page.
Al: Thanks Jonathan. If readers have any questions about using the App, or if they want to share their experiences, visit the FloatTheTurn Poker Forum.
Thanks for reading!