The Average Stack Shove


I came up with an idea after talking with someone about it a year or so ago. I tried it but didn't stick with it and should have because I did make it quite deep in an MTT using it.

This is my attempt to revive the tactic and I offer my findings here in case anyone else wants to give it a try, who knows, this could become a "thing"


We all know about short-stack play, 10-12BB and we start to get an open spot to shove our stack with fairly decent cards hoping to steal or double-up. We are desperate and need to rely on luck rather than good-play to keep us alive in the tournament.


The premise of the Average Stack Shove is that staying up with the blinds isn't enough. If all you are doing is floating between 10BB-20BB, how can you hope to see the Final Table?

We all know it, we get short and we shove with AK, called by 66 and catch a King --- weeeeeee now at 20BB. We go card dead and don't see anything worth playing or we see the occasional flop but haven't got the fit we want. Either way, we float back down to 10BB and its shoving again.

Its like a tide, washing us away and we eventually get the strength to push through or not.


So if we recognize that this tactic isn't enough, what more can we do?


The client gives us a great metric that we can use called "Average Stack"

This gives us a good approximation of where we need to be to keep up with the joneses.

So why are we aiming for 10BB instead of the Average Stack? The 10BB keeps our stack healthy in relation to the blinds but it has no correlation to our position in the tournament and how our stack compares to everyone elses.

What stack we have in relation to the blinds has no direct impact on where we are in the tournament and where we will be in the tournament going forward.

If we don't stay above the average... it won't matter what our stack size is in BBs since if all of our opponents improve and we don't, we have no chance of progressing in the tournament.


So to this end, I want to propose a tactic that involves basing your decisions primarly on your normal short/10BB technique but when you are higher than your usual shove/fold range (13BB+) you should next be looking at your position in relation to the Average Stack.

If your position is less than the Average, you need to pretend your stack is <13BB and begin performing your regular shove/fold behaviour until you are above this line.


This is crazy right?

You will be on a table and could have 25BB but are shoving your opponents. A few things will happen

1) Your table image will change dramatically, this could be a big benefit if your opponents don't know if you will shove at them because they don't understand this tactic, they will avoid playing you and act a bit scared of getting into marginal spots

2) You will pickup blinds quite a bit more than usual

3) Your variance will go up since you have a higher degree of being called and busting than if you play your regular game

4) When you don't bust, you should retain a very strong position in the tournament when you achieve a key doublup.


I would imagine that the sweet spot for an Average stack will depend on the speed of the tournament but lets say it is 20BB. This means that you will typically find your stack floating between 20-40BB rather than 10-20BB.

Personally I find this a lot more comfortable and if it is done right, you won't be doing this as often because you have a difference of 20BB as a cushion rather than 10BB.


Now, this may work - it may not and I wouldn't recommend anyone trying this without considering the massive variance it creates. If you get good or bad results please share them with me via comments or PM.

I will start running this in the 100k freeroll, I will post the results here and any significant decision points, ideally where the Average Stack Shove was used to a positive/negative result.


... I could be wasting my time here or this could be a revolution in MTT thinking.

We will see