MTT final table shoving All In...why?

Just curious to know why after surviving and making to the end of a MTT, especially when there is a large number of players, that some players decide to just go all Bingo? Several times I have made it to even the last two and all of a sudden it’s All-In pre-flop almost every hand. You have invested maybe an hour sometimes almost two hours and going to Bingo mode the rest of the way? Usually I will fold and not go along and hope for that pocket pair or potential Flush if pushed. Just I hope you don’t get upset if I decide to play the hands out a bit more instead of just finishing the game in Bingo mode.

Love to know what you do at the end of a long MTT and why.

1 Like

It’s due to the blind structures.

After nearly 2 hours, stacks become very shallow, and you will go broke if you don’t defend your blinds. This means that the blinds will defend a very wide range, and everyone is looking to steal at least one hand per orbit in order to afford the bleed on their stacks from the blinds and antes. They accomplish this by trying to avoid seeing flops and showdowns, and that is accomplished by shoving more frequently.

Additionally, there’s a common strategy in NL games that says if you are shallow stacked to where it’s more than 25% of your stack to call, you’re better off shoving, because calling basically commits you to the pot and you will be all in by the river anyway if the hand gets that far. So shoving preflop puts maximum fold pressure on your opponent and gives you another way to win the pot (opponent folding) with less risk {since you avoid showing down).

This comes at the risk of putting your tournament life on the line if they do call. So there’s a lot of thought that goes into constructing the ranges that can make shove plays and those that can call them, and that means that it’s not bingo.

Bingo is thoughtlessly shoving preflop either completely at random or with all hands and hoping to either steal a lot of small pots, or get super lucky when you get called and double up.


Complètement d’accord, en MTT la principale différence avec le cash game c’est la profondeur et également les paliers de gains, il y a une question de survie.
Selon divers paramètres : ma position, les stacks adverses, le style de jeu adverse, mon stack, ma main, et enfin l’avancement du tournois(début de tournois/bulle/places payées/table finale) , all in peut avoir beaucoup de “fold equity” pour voler facilement les blindes.

Cela peut paraître contre intuitif mais voici deux mains de MTT que j’ai joué presque à la suite et ou toutes les planètes se sont alignées pour que je fasse tapis :

Ici je n’aurais pas fait tapis avec beaucoup de limps/en début de tournois/contre des joueurs trop larges/contre des joueurs avec des stacks similaires au mien qui sont dans le coup/ sans les antes/ avec plus de 30 blindes/ ect… ect…

dans cette main je n’ai pas all in car il reste deux joueurs qui doivent encore jouer avant le joueur short stack, ils ont un stack similaires au mien ou je risque tout mon tapis, et l’un d’entre eux est très large, et nous ne sommes pas à la bulle :

Une autre situation plus commune ou il faut faire tapis et ne jamais limp ou relancer c’est lorsque j’ai peu de jetons(moins de 10 blindes par exemple), dans ce cas je peut faire tapis avec des mains très moyennes de manière profitable, avec un plus gros stack je fait tapis plus rarement et avec de meilleures mains.

J’ai rapidement expliqué quelques situations et il en existe encore pleins.

Completely agree, in MTT the main difference from cash games is the depth and also the payouts, there is a question of survival.
Depending on various parameters: my position, opposing stacks, opposing playstyle, my stack, my hand, and finally the progress of the tournament (start of tournaments / bubble / paid places / final table), all in can have a lot of “Fold equity” to easily steal blinds.

It might sound counterintuitive, but here are two hands of MTT that I played almost in a row where all the planets lined up so that I went all-in:

Here I would not have gone all-in with a lot of limps / at the start of tournaments / against too wide players / against players with similar stacks to mine who are in the game / without the antes / with more than 30 blinds / ect … ect …

in this hand I did not have all in because there are two players who still have to play before the short stack player, they have a stack similar to mine or I risk all my stack, and one of them is very wide , and we are not in the bubble:

Another more common situation where you have to go all-in and never limp or raise is when I have few chips (less than 10 blinds for example), in which case I can go all-in with very average hands profitably. , with a bigger stack I moved all-in more rarely and with better hands.

I quickly explained a few situations and there are still plenty of them.

1 Like

This really is the most important thing you need to learn if you want to win tournaments.


Yes, as others have indicated, that is often optimal strategy in tournaments where the blinds are growing fast. As M (the ratio of your stack to the amount invested pre-flop by blinds and antis each hand) gets smaller than 3 (and even larger, many will argue), you have only 3 trips around the table before all of your chips are blinded off if you don’t win anything (and usually less than that, as the blinds will grow again after a certain number of hands). You want to invest your chips while you can still win enough to buy yourself a breather from this tyranny of the blinds, and since you will really be pot committed (or losing too much of your investing capital) anyway, most believe there is some M beneath which the only reasonable choice is to go all in pre-flop or fold.

1 Like

Listening to his theory it started to sound like the school teacher from a Peanuts special but I did find it helpful in understanding a bit more with the last table action I see.

Thank you for the video…interesting and helpful.

1 Like

Thanks All…very helpful…replayed my last MTT final table hands and can see the strategy playing out as explained in your posts. Got lucky with All - In pocket 5’s beating out A9 which set me up to finish out two hands later. Have a great day and thanks!

I have witnessed the same thing at the end of some tournament games and have a bit of a theory. The main reason I believe is that these players very likely have not played many final tables and even more so made it to the last few players. The pressure or decision making may not be easy to handle for them. Experienced players see this time of the game as what you play for and become cautious but aggressive in this position. By the same token I have seen players with a huge chip advantage at the break but continue to play in a very loose aggressive style and not make it to the final.
Your strategy fits the scenario well.

1 Like

I like that theory also BeeSlick.

I would also add that some players shove because once everyone is in the money the chip difference between bottom and top may be not enough to hang around longer. MTT that give out tickets or the smaller payouts may not hold a players attention or bring some back after the break. If you get knocked out, oh well, you achieved some reward.

For larger payout tables I wager (pun intended) the above posts on strategy apply most of the time and good players understand those dynamics. I guess I will find out as I enter higher stakes MTTs.

LOL - I totally get it. A lot of theory is wonkish and boring. The heart of the theory is simple though. We are always looking for the most efficient way to realize our equity. Sometimes that means taking flops and other times it means we’d rather just take what’s in the middle and move on. If the math says shoving AKo has a higher expected value with 12bb on the CO than open raising it does, then we shove it. The result of any one hand is irrelevant.

Another thing to think about - try to view the game from other players perspectives. Is it reasonable that many of them think the same way you do about late-stage tournament play? Is it reasonable to assume they also value the time they put in and don’t want to take risks if they don’t have to? Well, if that’s the case, then it is reasonable to assume they won’t call shoves wide enough (they will over fold to avoid the risk). This makes the value of shoving go up because you get more than your share of equity by their folds.

Don’t worry about the math or specifics. Look at the concepts and get a feel for what is going on. When people are risk averse, take advantage of them and force them to fold. When they are playing too loose, go for as much value as you can and don’t try to make them fold. Always try to look at the game from all perspectives and find the strategy that best fits the moment.

ADDED: here’s a good example. You’re in the CO with 11bb and its been folded to you. Stacks left to act are all 10-15bb. You have pocket 4’s. There are 2.5bbs in the middle from antes and blinds. What is the most efficient way to realize the equity of your hand? If you limp, you allow 3 other players to come into the pot, where you will almost always see overcards to the 4 and you’re screwed unless you hit your set. What if instead you shoved and forced the remaining players to fold hands like J8o, Q5s and stuff like that? BTN isn’t calling with hands like A3s or A9o either. If you are called, you are probably flipping with overcards and that’s fine. This is the most efficient way to play the hand then. Your 2nd best option isn’t to limp, its to fold. If you want to win tournaments, you want to play more hands with positive EV, not less.


well here is a funny final table all in/s hand

Button played the hand very well, but also got kindof lucky.

Blinds are at 400/800, which isn’t overly huge for the stack sizes, but there are a couple of short stack players at the table, and two of them limp for 800.

Button raises big, makes it 4400 to call on top of 800. This is a very big raise, and gives the limpers poor pot odds to call here. It also is enough to put three of them all in.

The player in the SB seat calls with Q8o, which is a mistake, and it costs them their stack.

The shortest stacked player, the BB, was already halfway all-in, and has a suited Ace, it’s a call for them here.

The next player to act wisely folds, as it would be all-in for them to call, and they can only continue the game if they showdown and beat three people ahead of them. By sacrificing 800 chips, they stand to move up at least two rungs on the tournament leaderboard if the other players at risk are eliminated.

The CO also calls, with ATo, going all in. ATo is a decent starting hand, but probably here this is a fold. If it were heads up vs. the Button’s pocket 88s, ATo is a coin flip, but with two calls ahead of him on such a large raise, you should be figuring at least one of them has a monster hand. On the other hand, with 13000 chips in the middle, going all-in for 3000 with ATo isn’t such bad pot odds that you can say it’s necessarily a -EV play to call here. It just depends a lot on what you think you’re facing. ATo vs Q8o and A4s is in pretty good shape, but there is still the instigator with their pocket 88s. ATo actually has the highest equity of the three players, preflop, but needs to hit something in order to make good against pocket 88s.

A4s nearly gets there, missing a straight 3-4-5-6 and flush AJ54, but had the worst equity preflop out of anyone. But again, being the short-stack, in the BB for half their stack, they obviously needed to call here.

Q8 in the SB with the 2nd least equity preflop made the hand more interesting with their blunder. Having one 8 in their hand, they took one of pocket 88’s outs away, making it 50% less likely that they can find a set, which would make it rough for them if the board had provided a Q, T, or A for a higher pair.

So the board ran out in such a way that on the river, 88 got super lucky to dodge 3 Tens, 3 Queens, two Aces, 4 7s, 4 2s, and 8 hearts to win the hand. That’s 24 bad out-cards to dodge, or about 48% of the remaining deck.

They really threaded the needle there, and got paid big-time for it, plus eliminated 3 players.

I just don’t know what 8Q was doing calling that all in on flop. I wasn’t getting any type of playing hands to play all through out this tournament and manage to get to payouts and thought I was going get 7h and all of a sudden 3 players busted out and I eventually got 3rd place.

1 Like

Thanks for this video - most interesting! I’m obviously not clever enough for this level of thought though!

The first part of the equation is, I’m guessing, the fold equity calculation. The way I learned to calculate fold equity is (opponents fold% * opponents pot equity%). If I estimate that the opponent will fold 50% to a shove, in this instance, and I estimate his pot equity to be 60% then fold equity is 30%.

If this is a heads up situation, my actual equity for estimating EV is pot equity (40%) + fold equity (30%) = 70%.

The next part of the equation seems to be some sort of EV calculation that I also don’t understand!

I would just use the standard EV calculation with my “actual” or “adjusted” equity (70%).

EV = (equity% * amount to win) - ((100-equity%) * amount to bet)

I wonder if you or anybody else can clear up my misunderstanding.

Many thanks for your time.


The idea is that you win 100% of the hands when everyone folds, taking whatever dead money was in the pot at the time. Plus some of the time when you get called, you win a lot of chips when you’re good at showdown. Minus some of the time when you get called and you are not good at showdown.

The idea is pretty simple, but the numbers you plug into the equation are guesses. The guesses are figured out by constructing and analyzing ranges. This is done with software. You plug into the solver the range of hands you’re considering shoving, and the range of hands you guess your opponent will call with.

The opponent’s calling range represents a proportion of the possible starting hands, and so that percentage of starting hands they’ll call with determines how often they are folding vs. calling, and the analyzer tells you how often that range is expected to beat the range you’re shoving.

That gives you all the information you need to calculate the profitability of shoving at any given time.

The calling range your opponent is likely to use depends on a few factors: pot odds, stack to pot ratio, whether they have chips in the middle to defend, their position at the table, how many other players have called, how many players are left to act, and whether they are going all in to call and have their life on the line, or if they have everyone covered and can eliminate opponents if they win the hand, their level of acceptable risk, and so on.

It’s a lot to consider, and easy to be wrong, but if think the odds they’ll fold is high, and if the amount of dead money in pot is high, then it is generally profitable to shove with a wide range of hands. But you need to consider if they do call, as well, and pick a shoving range that you can feel comfortable with losing a certain amount of the time with.

1 Like

Thanks puggy … I understand exactly what we’re trying to calculate. The what isn’t a problem. My difficulty is the how!

I know a different method of calculating and applying fold equity to that shown in the video. It’s obviously reasonable to assume that JL knows what he’s talking about but I don’t understand how I am wrong.

I appreciate your time and your assistance very much!


The same applies wrt the EV calculations. I probably have a very close approximation for the ranges of players at my level. I am using a “standard” EV calculation that is most often used to gauge to call a raise. I am hoping to get some clarification on the mathematics of the formula that JL uses because, it is seems fair to say, what I am doing is not correct.

JL also says you don’t actually need to perform the calculation; you only need to understand how it works in order for it to be useful.

Basically, if there’s a lot of dead money in the pot, it’s worth considering to shove and try to steal it. The incentive goes up if there are fewer players behind you who can call, and the stronger your starting hand is.

If you don’t need to actually perform the calculation, you don’t need to know how to do it.

What I said above does explain how to do it, but I still don’t expect you to actually do it at the table. It’s too much to calculate, and it’s a guess what your opponent’s calling range is in any case.

If you have the software, you can plug in your shove range and a guess of your opponent’s call range, and the software will tell you the outcome probabilities exactly, and you can put that information back into the equation.

(% of times your opponents fold * blinds) + (% of the time your opponent calls) * (% times you get called and win * pot size when they call) - (% times you get called and lose * pot size when they call)

Let’s say you figure your opponent will call a shove with a fairly tight range of hands, say the top 10% of starting hands.

So that means they’ll fold to a shove 90% of the time. That means you win 90% of the blinds+antes when you do shove, and in some hands you may even get a few extra chips from limpers or early opens that also fold to your shove.

As you can see from there, that’s already a lot of variables that can change quite a bit from one hand to the next. So is it worth doing that work for every hand, or is it only necessary to visualize a large pile of chips sliding your way 90% of the time if you’re playing against someone who will only call with their top 10% of hands?

So the remaining 10% of the time you’re getting called. If they’re calling 10% of the time, with the top 10% of hands, then you need to work out how good your shove range is against the top 10% of hands.

Say you’re shoving with 50% of your hands. You you get the small pot 90% of the time, and you get called 10% of the time. Of that 10%, the opponent has a range advantage over you. Depending on exactly how you construct those ranges, it can affect the calculation, but we can loosely estimate that you’re going to lose to the 10% best hands about 60-70% of the time, perhaps more, but not much more than 80%.

The size of the big pot is the same whether you win it or lose it, and it is equal to the (size of the smaller stack * number of callers) + whatever dead chips came from other players who put chips in the middle before folding.

Whatever that amount is, you lose it some % of the time, probably somewhere between 60-80%, and you win it the balance of the time. I didn’t take the time to plug ranges into a solver to figure this out, it’s just a rough estimate.

So then:

90% * (small pot) + (10% * (20-40% * large pot) - (60-80% * large pot))

Say that you’re employing this strategy at 10BB effective stacks. Small pot is 1.5BB (for simplicity, we’ll consider a game where there is no ante, and situations where there are no limps and no opens ahead of your shove).

Additionally, we’ll split the range of estimated wins/losses and use a 30-70% split of times you win vs. times you lose when you get called 10% of the time.


=0.9 * 1.5BB + 0.1 * ((0.3% * 21.5BB) - (0.7 * 21.5BB))

= 1.35BB + 0.1 * (6.45BB - 15.05BB)

= 1.35BB + (0.1 * -8.6BB)

= 1.35BB - 0.86BB

= +.49BB

So if the numbers we plugged into the equation are accurate, then you’re profitable shoving, making on average about a half a big blind overall.

But keep in mind, 90% of the time you’re taking 1.5BB with no risk. With effective stacks at 10BB, that’s huge. If you are able to get away with this 2-3 times in an orbit, you’re taking a lot of chips (relative to your stack size) away from your opponents with little risk (there’s always some risk you’ll get called, but otherwise you’re taking the pot).

Does that mean you should shove a 90% range of hands, then? Well, no. Just because your opponent’s calling range is 10% of their starting hands, doesn’t mean that will hold true if you’re shoving 90% of the time. Because if your opponent see you shoving 90% of your hands, they’re going to quickly realize that you’re shoving a lot of junk, and they’ll adjust their calling range accordingly, meaning that the equation will need to be re-calculated. So if they start calling wider, you’ll need to tighten up and shove less often with better hands.

You’ll also need to use the concepts that this equation illuminates to determine when you should be calling when your opponent shoves.


Fold equity is an estimate. If you assume all opponents left to act will only call with x% of hands, then you know they will fold the other times. So, if there is 1 player left to act and you think they will only call with the top 20% of hands, you plug in 80% (0.8) for your p1 part of the equation. If you assume that you will be behind when called (say 36% equity), you use the calling % (0.2) for the p2 and .36 x pot for your equity when called.

Don’t go too deep in the weeds on this one. The biggest factor in whether any shove will be profitable or not is how high you think the aggregate folding % is. This is why you can shove more hands from late position than from early position (less people with a chance to have a calling hand). Its also why you need to shove when your stack is still large enough to have fold equity. Below a certain point, it makes sense to call with any 2 cards because the dead money in the pot will result in you needing ~33% raw equity for the call. You’ll have that with almost any 2 cards vs any shoving range that isn’t exactly AA.


The advice was really was great l!!! (Still think there is Bingo sometimes at Final Table)

Thanks all…made it to final table of a B&R bankroll builder…(110 entrants)…Three key hands that make more sense to me now and profitable to me.

In this hand I went all in: Hand #697019472 · Replay Poker
button was very short stacked and All in.
I called sitting in the SB with not a very great hand and was not raised by BB. Flop went favorable and I raised, BB raised, I called, got a two pair, raised, was re-raised big, I went all in and lucked out.
BB had large stack and had been playing fairly loose so I felt he probably was pushing for a fold. I was close but that six saved me.

Not a big winner but raised to get fold equity if that is what its called (lol still learning the lingo)

This hand is where I wonder if its more Bingo than strategy…the player goes all in and has been playing loose in this final table with some success and failure. Several All ins before and after this hand till luck ran out.
Pocket Ladies won for me this time (most of the time they disappoint).

Ended up finishing second place…during the heads up I had an epic run of crap cards where even bluffs won against me!

Thanks for all the replies and advice!