Shove in poker: what is it and why to do it?

Poker is full of strategic possibilities, and one of the most surprising is the all-in. This move, which consists of betting all the remaining chips, pushes the rest of the players into a complicated situation in which good judgment is key to succeed.

In this post, we are going to tell you what is the shove in poker, how it affects the game and why you should take it into account in certain cases.

Shove Poker: what does it mean?

The concept of “shove poker” can be used as a synonym for all-in. All-in is an aggressive technique based on betting all the remaining chips in a single hand. It is a very drastic and forceful move, also bold if it works out well, which is usually used in the later stages of the game, in a tournament or in desperate situations, where a player wants to push another player into a situation where he has to decide whether to play and bet it all, or fold.

The shove pushes the other players to make a difficult decision. Facing a shove involves many risks, and sometimes it is a decision between two evils or two impossible options, because quitting means giving up the chance to win, but playing it can be a condemnation to lose all the chips.

One of the main assets of the shove in poker is the pressure it exerts on the opponents. In what we know as “poker psychology“, it is important to know how to apply these resources to get the most out of them. The pressure that can be exerted with an all-in strategy is a lot, and well executed, a shove can be very productive.

In addition, the shove can have a delayed effect on the decision making and strategy of the other players. Some, especially those less accustomed to the pressure, may begin to show erratic behavior or not make the right decisions.

They are also susceptible to present a blockade, which obviously benefits the player who has caused the shove, by pushing all the opponents into a complex situation in which they will have to decide what to do, whether to stay in the game risking everything or give up to continue.

The shove in poker has a clear meaning of complexity. All all-in strategies are bold and aggressive, and seek to maximize the value of the player’s hand by adding additional pressure on the players. Well used, a shove can even change the course of the game, modify the trend or provoke a change in the decision making of the opponents, although all this is conditioned both in the moment in which it is decided to execute it and in the circumstances of the game at the moment of applying it.

Why doing shove in poker?

There are several reasons why it is advisable to adopt an all-in strategy in poker:

  • It adds pressure on the opponents. Any all-in strategy you use will increase the pressure on your opponents. Doing it at a specific moment can benefit you, especially in case you are facing excessively conservative players. It is a good way to surprise them and prevent them from relaxing, or to break their schemes and blow everything up.
  • Take advantage of the chips you have left. Shove in poker also allows you to make the most of the situation in case there is a player at the table with a short stack of chips. The logical thing to do would be to wait for the blinds to erode their stack, but by shove at the right time you can even make those chips triple in case many players fold when they see that you are going all-in.
  • Use it to provoke a change in mechanics. Sometimes, there’s nothing like shaking up the table and turning everything upside down. Shove and you can achieve this, thus generating a change of dynamics at the table. You may find that players who are very bold suddenly take on a more cautious attitude, or are less willing to put their chips at risk. This gives much more control to the player who has made the shove.
  • Take control of the situation. Just as we said: with a shove at the right time, it is the player who makes the shove who takes control of the situation. Moreover, although shove strategies are associated with a higher risk, in reality it can actually encourage you to lose fewer chips in the long run. Because shove strategies avoid having to play several rounds of betting and blinds.
  • It avoids excessive conservative play. The shove in poker can be used to exploit the option to prevent conservative players from clinging to an eternally cautious game. The shove, as an aggressive strategy, should push them out of it and change their game, which can come in handy to prevent them from stacking their chips and not betting them. Putting them between a rock and a hard place is the best thing to do if you want to get them out of their comfort zone.
Shove in poker: what is it and why to do it?