How to loosen up your shove/calling range in heads up hyper and super turbos

loosen up Far too many players are not calling shoves anywhere near as wide as they should when they're short stacked and even more so after they have raised pre flop in the first place.

Rather that tell you what to raise and then call shoves with, I'm going to teach you how to work it out yourself, and you'll probably be surprised at some of the results.

Step One - Pot Odds

The first thing that we need to think about are our pot odds. What pot odds do we need to call our opponents shove and how do we work that out?

A really simple math exercise is this one:

1) How much is it going to cost us to call?

2) Take the answer to question 1 and divide it by the total amount of chips that we can win if we call.

3) Multiply that number by 100.

Here is an example

Let's say that we have effective stacks of 12bb (effective stacks meaning that's all we can win or lose in any one hand, or the shortest stack) and we min raise from the button.

Our opponent then decides to shove on us. Now let's do the math.

It will cost us 10bb to call. So that's 10/24 (24 being the total that we can win) which = 0.416.

We take 0.416 and multiply it by 100 and that gives us 41.6, which is the equity that we need to call the shove.

Step Two - Working out the equity that our hand has vs his shoving range

So here we need to guestimate a reasonable shoving range for our opponents. Obviously this can vary from player to player but I think this is reasonable for a tightish but aggressive player.

Step Three - Our Hand

This is the part that you should be working out over and over again. You'll often be caught in a game where you raise and get shoved on and you won't know what to do. These are the hands that you should then make a note of before crunching the numbers.

The more you repeat this process, the more instinctual your understanding of ranges and equity will become and the sharper/ more accurate your decisions will become.

Example hands

Lets give ourselves a variety of hands to try and get a handle on our equity. I'm going to use some free poker software called 'Poker Stove' to help us with our equity calculations bellow.

1. K6 off suit - 41.138% Equity (so it's a fold)

2. T9 off suit - 39.28% Equity (snap fold)

3. T9 suited - 42.489% equity, and it's a call.


By far one of the biggest leaks I see is new heads up hyper and super turbo players waiting for Ax, good broadway hands and pairs to call it off in spots like this, and that makes them hugely exploitable. Also, understanding this fact means that you'll now be able to widen your 3 bet shoving ranges at this stage vs players that you feel are being too tight in this exact same spot, so you both improve your calling game and very likely your 3 bet shoving game too here.

You now need to look at many different stack sizes, alter the hand ranges and play around with the situation generally. As I have already said -- for me -- the best learning came from taking spots from actual games that I played, where I wasn't sure what to do and then doing the math in the example here to get to know the right answers. When you've done it enough, you'll just automatically know what to call with.

It's a lot like driving a car, you start out bunny hopping down the road and grinding the gears (for those of you that 'drive stick') but after enough practice of doing it right, eventually, you don't even think, you just do, and that's how poker becomes. However, before you get to that point, you have to put the ground work in.

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