Push-Fold Charts

Push-Fold Charts

This blog is dedicated to push-fold charts for no limit Hold’em poker tournaments. The purpose of push-fold charts is to help you play perfect poker while on a short stack; consequently, they’re primarily used for poker tournaments.

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What are Push-fold Charts

Push-Fold Charts are mathematically solved hand ranges arranged into a simple chart to help you play perfect, preflop poker while short-stacked in tournaments.

These charts are designed to be used when players are short-stacked, because players are in a “push-fold” mode: their preflop decisions are limited to “pushing” all-in or folding.

Why Push-Fold Charts Work

Push-fold Charts are based strictly on mathematics. Using complex poker programs such as ICMIZER 3 and PokerStove, the game is able to be solved for short-stack-play. In other words, there are pre-designed ranges for each and every spot, from seating to stack depth. Memorizing the push-fold charts allows you to play these spots perfectly or based on game theory optimal (GTO) strategy.

The logic for this is simple: You are shoving with hands which are statistically likely to be ahead of your opponent’s calling range. Furthermore, these mathematical modules take it one step further and actually account for your equity when called, before recommending which hands to shove and which hands to fold.

In other words, the push-fold charts take into account that some percentage of the time you will get called (and win or lose when called). Your opponent’s calling range is based on what is game theory optimal; therefore, the push-fold charts correctly identify the hands you are supposed to play from a given position with a given stack depth.

In short, the push-fold charts ensure that you play perfect, unexploitable poker given your stack size and position.

How to Use Push-Fold Charts

Push-fold Charts are meant for short-stack-play, where the game of poker is solved and the correct play is limited to pushing or folding. While typical push-fold play is 10 big blinds or less, there are situations where you will want to push all-in with up to 15 big blinds, which is why we’ve extended the chart to include slightly deeper stack depth.

Modifications to Push-fold Charts

While Push-fold Charts are designed to help you play perfect poker, one thing to keep in mind is that they do not account for important factors in tournament poker, such as your Tournament Life Value (TLV).

You can read more about TLV in our comprehensive blog on Tournament Poker Strategy, but in short, the push-fold charts don’t account for factors such as table difficulty, breaking order, or hourly rate.

In short, at ConsciousPoker, we recommend making slight modifications to your pushing and folding ranges when you find yourself in a situation where you can exploit your opponents’ playing style or table.

For example, let’s say you have 12 big blinds on the button and the push-fold charts say to open shove with 22+, A2o+, K2s+, K7o+, Q5s+, Q9o+, J7s+, J9o+, T6s+, T9o+, 96s+, 86s+, 75s+, 65s, and 54s.

While shoving with T9o will be mathematically profitable, it may not be the most profitable play you can make.

Depending on your opponents, you may want to do something unconventional, such as min-raising and folding to a jam with a marginal holding (instead of shoving outright). The reason for this may be because your opponent is extremely straight forward, for example, and will never shove without a monster. Villain may, also, fold the big blind too often, allowing you to steal cheaply without risking your entire stack.

While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy, we typically advocate modifying the push-fold charts when you have 10BB or more (anything less and it’s safe to simply push-fold using the charts). Raise-folding or shoving a slightly wider or narrower range, depending on the situation, may make sense.

Modifying the push-fold charts to maximize your edge is an art which takes time and experience to master. To help you maximize your opportunity and increase your learning curve, here are the factors you’ll want to consider when debating whether or not to deviate from the game theory optimal (GTO) strategy.

1. Payout Structure

When you are very close to a new pay jump, you may opt to push with a slightly narrower range in hopes of moving up in money. Giving up some marginal equity in favor of moving up the pay ladder is most commonly a tactic for the final table, where ICM (independent chip modules) come into play.

2. Field Difficulty

When you find yourself in an extremely soft field, you may wish to push with a slightly narrower range in hopes of waiting for an optimal spot. Conversely, if your opponents are over-folding (meaning they don’t call enough), you may wish to push slightly wider to steal the blinds.

3. Stack Size

If you notice a lot of big stacks behind you who may be more inclined to call your all-in, you’ll want to shove with a narrower range. On the other hand, if the stacks behind you are short (and they are waiting to move up the pay ladder), it may be a good time to leverage aggression and shove slightly wider.

Becoming comfortable using these factors to your advantage, while playing poker tournaments, will help you adopt the optimal push-fold strategy when short-stacked.

I hope you enjoyed this in-depth blog on push-fold charts. To download the push-fold charts, simply enter your email in the form below and we’ll send them right over.

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Once you have them downloaded, you can save them on your phone and use them on breaks or in between hands, during tournaments, as a quick refresher. These charts can be especially useful when you’re playing, since your stack size will be changing often, you’ll want to be prepared for each unique situation.


P.S. For more awesome content, check out this article on poker push fold charts.

Alec Torelli
Welcome! I'm Alec Torelli, founder of Conscious Poker, a training site dedicated to transforming good players into great ones by providing the best poker strategy and mindset content. I've been a professional poker player for 15 years and have over $1,500,000 in tournament winnings and millions more in both live and online cash games. On this site, I share the lessons I learned during my poker career to help you crush the games, optimize your bankroll, make winning decisions and achieve your poker goals.

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