Summary of a Stop and Go
A stop and go involves calling with the plan of launching all-in on every single flop. The main purpose is to manufacture a fold where one wouldnt exist if you were to just re-raise all-in pre-flop.
As a general situation, if you launched pre-flop your opponent would be priced-in to a call pre-flop regardless of their hand, however when you launch on the flop you opponent can perceive their hand to be extremely weak in relation to that particular flop and may fold. The stop and go therefore gains fold equity by allowing the opponent to see the flop. More often they will miss than connect, hence why it is frequently successful if done in the right spot.
Ideal Dynamics of Opponent
- Around 5BB to 8BB is about the best as a general guide. Any higher and there is a case that you're risking your tournament life too needlessly.
- Works best from the blinds. There are some other rarer spots (eg following a 3-bet), but if you're in those spots you've often on a far from optimum, much more risky, line.
- Dont do it if you're in the BB and the SB calls.
- You must launch every flop. No backing off if you dont like the look of it.
- Late position raiser
- Raise of approx 2.5 BBs
- Raiser is not shortstacked following the raise
- Single Opponent
The first 2 of those dynamics are fairly important for increasing the chances of it being a pure steal, and thus increasing the chances of a fold to the stop and go. Many will fold the hand simply because it is too embarrasing to call, and/or too inconceivable they're ahead. Many shallow raisers like this will already be atuned to the possibilty of "getting away from the hand", so those dynamics are ideal to getting your desired end result.
Contrary to some people's belief this move is probably most suitable when you dont really have much of a hand. If you have something halfway decent then you arent really looking for the fold at all, you're looking to extract max value. Hence launching pre is likely more effective as they will often be priced in with worse hands. On that basis, you are better to rule out doing it with hands like 77+, AT+, KJ+. Obviously the looser the villain, you wider you may place your own range of what you'd launch with, and what you'd stop-and-go with.
Although any mediocre hand is ok (as we've just established), as you're primarily wanting villian to fold, probably the best of the lot are hands like 22, 33, A2, A3, 2 cards in the 8 to Q spectrum (eg J8). If you consider 22 for a second, an opponent is always drawing to 2 overcards no matter what rubbish they raised with. You'll often only be 50/50 there against a complete random hand. Therefore the stop-and-go trims the board by 2 cards, improving the hand's chances due to some gained fold equity all the times he misses the flop with rubbish.
More details in relation to stack size
Whilst you are not expecting high success rate with 5BBs, it is still fine. If you were BB for example you'll only have 3.5BBs to fire at the flop. Despite this being tiny, it nevertheless still creates a small possibilty of a fold, especially against a light steal, an inexperienced opponent, or sometimes a multi-tabling opponent.
As you often have antes by this stage, it is unlikely you want to pass you blind this shallow stacked with any two cards, especially to someone who's likely stealing. Therefore a stop and go can gain a little equity, when you'd virtually certainly be sticking it in anyway.
Too much above about 8BBs you've really got to start questioning yourself a lot more (dont rule it out completely, but be much more scrutinous). Because if you have a hand, then you dont want the fold; and if you dont have a hand then you need to think to yourself is this too high risk when a better open raise spot may come? A second way to look at it also (whilst scrutinizing the stack depth of the spot in relation to bluffing), is that if you really felt this guy was stealing and you had almost anything half reasonable (~75% of hands), once you get much above 8BBs there's enough fold equity combined with back-up showdown equity to start to take some players off pre-flop steals, especially light ones which they dont really want to show.