Call shoves and win millions!!!

OK I might have lied about winning millions, but there's no reason why getting better at calling shoves and understanding the mechanics can't lead to a more profitable future.

This week I would like to talk about how to work out which hands you should call with when someone else shoves. In this hand we see the Cut-Off (CO) shove for just under 14bb and we have to decide whether to call or fold in the Big Blind. I've decided not to show my hand here since I want to encourage you to think about these spots in terms of ranges rather than simply, "I have AQo here - easy call!"

The first thing we need to do here is work out what our opponent is shoving. The easiest way to do this is to copy and paste the hand directly from Poker Tracker straight into a program like Holdem Resources Calculator (HRC).

HRC suggests Villain 70 can shove 29.7%, 22+ A2s+ A4o+ K6s+ KTo+ Q8s+ QTo+ J8s+ JTo T8s+ 97s+ 87s and we should call 20.0%, 22+ A2s+ A7o+ KTs+ KTo+ QTs+. Simple... right?

But what if we don't have access to HRC or similar (like ICMIZER)? Then we have to go the old-fashioned route and use a program like Equilab or Pokerstove (does that still exist?). Equilab is like Pokerstove on steroids - and the best part is that it's completely free!!!

At the top of the Poker Tracker replayer you'll see our odds - 1.25:1 or 45%. This means we need at least 45% equity versus the CO's range to call here.

Just as a side note, in order to get from 1.25:1 to 45% all you have to do is take 1.25, add 1 and then use the great 1/x function on your calculator. Poker Tracker rounds up to 45% here, but the calculator answer is 44.44%.

Now all we need to do is guesstimate the range of hands our opponent is shoving and put that in one of the boxes in Equilab and then evaluate the equity with different hands. If you're struggling to think about what hands your opponents might be shoving, be sure to sign up for the free MTT tools that includes the free push/fold guide with exact ranges that the better players are shoving.

As you can see, 22 has enough equity to make the call here, but only just! I like to give myself a bit of room for error so I'll add 5% extra to the required equity. With that, 22 now becomes a fold and 55 (50.37% equity) now becomes the lowest pair we can call. Now try unpaired hands and see what our whole range looks like.

This is all-in equity calculations in its most simplest form, thinking about the hands in terms of chips won. As soon as we start recognising ICM (Independent Chip Model) our ranges have to change. If the villain raises QQ+ and shoves the other hands then our ranges have to change too.

You can learn all about this and more in The Classroom and private one-on-one lessons. You can also pick up the perfect companion to the free push/fold guide in our shop - 6 Pro-Level Calling Charts.

I'll speak to you again next week!

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