The stop and go play can add a little octane to super short stacked tournament play by amping up your fold equity. Simply put, stop and go involves calling pre-flop, then going all-in on the flop. It should probably go without saying you'll need a pretty decent hand to pull this off. After all, the stop and go play is not just for short stacks, but as I mentioned, very short stacks.
Here's why the stop and go play works:
In a typical short stack situation in a tournament, the standard protocol is to go all-in if your opponent raises ahead, but as you'll recall, the stop and go play is not for mere short stacks. We do this when our stack is so short that our opponent would be getting correct odds to call our shove with whatever hand he raised, however on the flop if he missed, his equity might not be high enough to call getting 2:1 odds.
So, the stop and go play is ideally employed when you have a super short stack that could not back another solid full bet in addition to the amount of the raise made by the other player. A paltry push like this is going to give your opponent some pretty enticing odds to call your pre-flop bet and see the five board cards. In other words, betting small pre-flop practically invites them to try their luck and make a better hand on the flop.
However, by implementing the stop and go play, you deny them this easy opportunity. Your opponent is forced to call your flop bet if they want to see two more cards. The odds, for them, are decidedly less inviting. This isn't to say they won't call, but simply they are less likely to call. If their hand hasn't improved by the flop, they're going to have to carefully consider whether or not they want to match your bet - and well over half the time, they won't. This means the odds are back in your favour.
Here's how the stop and go play works:
The stop and go play means you’re going to call an opponent's raise pre-flop, and then move all-in come the flop. Again, this is as opposed to coming over the top all-in when confronted with your opponent's pre-flop raise.
Let's pretend you’re barely hanging on mid tournament with 1k chips. Blinds are 100/200.
You're holding J♥ T♦ and you're BB. All the players fold to the player in last position, who raises to 500.
Since you're an observant player, you know the sort of player your opponent is, so you can narrow him down to a range that includes middle of the road hands, like Q♣ J♥.
At this point we could move all-in, but remember, you’ve been paying attention and you know that he knows what he's doing, so he'd call our $500 re-raise. We'd be left looking down the barrel of weak odds. This is when the stop and go play comes in handy. Rather than push all-in, you simply call his raise. Now you have half your stack left.
The flop comes down with A♦ 3♠ 8♥. Now you've given your opponent something to think about. If he wants to see the last two cards, he will be forced to call $500 into a $1700 pot with a so-so hand. Like I said, our opponent knows what he's doing, so he realizes the odds aren't in his favour and he folds. We take the pot - a pot we probably would have lost if we'd pushed all-in pre-flop, not because our hand didn’t have merit, but because our stack couldn’t support our strategy (or lack thereof, as the case would have been).
When to use the stop and go play:
It's best to make this play with hands that you would be comfortable playing with for your entire stack. The stop and go is just a way to give yourself an additional avenue to win with much higher fold equity.