Shoving and How to Use It

Shoving and How to Use It

Table of content:

What is Shoving in poker simply means moving all-in. This in other words implies putting all the chips or the money on the line that a player currently holds. Shove poker meaning is generally considered an ultimate act. Once a player decides to move all-in, he is usually confronted with two distinct situations. Here on, he will either bust or become ineligible to continue in the game or he will end up doubling up his money. The likely outcome of a shove in poker usually depends on how well and when a player decides to shove. So, in this composite guide, we have detailed everything from the benefits, types, when and how to shove in poker successfully.

poker shove

All-in bet – A brief explanation

When it comes to poker, going all-in simply means putting all the chips in the middle of the table. In other words, shoving in poker means betting the entire amount that a player currently holds in a single go. Generally speaking, players resort to an all-in bet in poker when they are short stacked (more on this later!). However, the shove poker strategy is also used by poker players who are looking to bluff or dominate their opponents. In fact, the shove in poker is a pretty effective and powerful strategy in the poker world, provided the player knows when and how to use it.

Benefit of shove in poker

A core benefit of using shove in poker is that it helps players put their stack to a good use, without any serious opposition. By resorting to poker shoving, people generally avoid losing their chips on raising and limping. Instead, they use their short stacks as a final attempt to win some good amount of chips back. Let us understand the major benefit of shove poker with a short example:

You are playing a game of poker wherein you hold a hand containing an ace of hearts and 10 of clubs. You raise the bet with this hand and the player currently designated as the big blind calls. To raise in poker means increasing the amount of the big blind. To call is to match the amount that a person has bet. So, now the flop round comes and 3 community cards are dealt face up – 5 of clubs, 6 of diamonds and 7 of spades. None of these cards can truly help you form a strong poker hand. In such a situation, it is quite likely you would end up losing a significant amount of your chips. Instead, if you would have used shove poker during the pre-flop stage itself, then there’s a high chance you would have won the amount of the big blind. Therefore, when it comes to shove in poker, you need to learn how best you can put this strategy to your advantage.

Types of shoving in poker

By now you must have developed a pretty clear understanding of the basics of shove poker. So, in this section, let us talk about the various types of shove in poker:

Open shove

First on the list is open shove poker. So, a shove in poker is generally considered an open shove when a player despite being first to bet in the round, decides to move all-in. In other words, a poker player opens the action of betting by shoving all-in rather than simply calling or raising. When a player indulges in open shove poker, it is usually believed that he holds a monster hand and as such is trying to take down the pot with his move.


Re-shoving simply means moving all the chips on the top of a player who has already shoved. Here, it is crucial to understand that re-shoving is generally employed to isolate or take on an opponent one-on-one. For instance, if Player A shoves all in on a 9 handed online poker table and player B calls his bet and he too decides to move all-in simultaneously, then this indicates that player B is trying to get Player A to a one-on-one duel. In the process, he is also discouraging other players on the table from entering the pot.

Additionally, when a player re-shoves during a game of poker, it generally indicates that he is currently holding an extremely strong hand. This is because, it is assumed when a player moved all-in, he already had a good enough hand which he considered worthy of winning. By shoving on top of it, the re-shover basically sends a signal that he holds an even stronger hand. Here, if you are neither the initial shover nor the re-shover, then it is safe to say that you must not call any more bets unless you hold a clear winning hand.

Back shove

The back shove mostly happens in a game of poker when a player initially calls the bet but thereafter decides to shove all-in. Here, you need to remember that executing a back shove successfully is generally far more difficult than what meets the eye. However, if a player is able to execute it successfully then he actually stands to win the entire pot. Nonetheless, always remember if a player back shoves, after you have back shoved then be careful as this indicates that in all probability, the player holds a monstrously strong hand.

The bubble shove

The bubble is that point in any poker tournament where few players have to leave before more money can come into the pot. This is also that stage in a poker tournament where as a poker player you need to get extremely cautious. Vital to this, if you are actually considering shoving during the bubble stage, then be very sure of having an extremely strong hand. This is because, if you decide to shove during the bubble and end up losing then there is a high chance you will end up as the bubble boy. The bubble boy in a poker tournament is any person who leaves the bubble stage empty-handed.

When it comes to bubble, it is usually advisable that most short-stack players should refrain from shoving until they hold a super-strong hand. That’s because, if as a short stack player, you decide to shove in poker during the bubble then there is a high chance you will likely be called out by someone who is looking to burst the bubble. So, if you are actually considering taking a shove poker risk during the bubble. Make sure you do it only with a strong hand.

shove in poker

How to shove poker?

Shove poker as a bluff

Shove poker as a bluff, unfortunately speaking, is generally considered a big NO-NO. Note that we said generally and not always! That’s because suppose you indulged in a shove poker and actually called an all-in bet on a cold, naked bluff. Here, you assumed your opponent will fold to your all-in bet but your assumption turned out to be wrong and instead your opponent ended up calling your bet. Now, just understand if your opponent has the guts to call an all-in bet then it is safe to assume, he is holding a super-strong hand. This is a check-mate situation. If your opponent is already holding a strong enough hand then it is more than likely you are on the brink of losing your entire stack to him.

On the contrary, suppose you have had a good read of your opponent. You are pretty certain that he doesn’t hold a strong enough hand. In such a situation, if you have the gusto, then you can actually shove in poker with a weak hand as well. This is called poker bluffing. It is an act of making your opponent believe that you hold a strong hand when you actually do not. Shoving as you might have guessed plays a key role in pulling it off.

Shove poker as a semi-bluff

It is usually advisable that instead of indulging in shove poker as a bluff (bluff shove poker), a person must indulge in shove poker as a semi-bluff. A player is said to indulge in semi-bluff shove in poker, when he decides to shove with a half-made hand. A half-made is a type of hand in poker that actually holds a fair chance of improvement in the later rounds. The semi-bluff shove in poker is especially beneficial because even if you shove with a half-made hand and the opponent calls, you still hold a hand that has a fair chance of improvement.

Shove poker for value

Let’s say, you hold a poker hand that is likely the best on the table as per your in. In such a situation, you might decide to shove in poker. Or, simply moving all your chips for value otherwise known as value shove. Here, unknowingly you are indulging in an over-bet. What is an over bet? An over bet happens when a player bets an amount that is actually much larger than the amount currently in the pot. Let’s understand the concept of value shove better with a short example:

You are currently playing a game of poker, where you have been dealt a hand consisting of 7 of clubs and 6 of clubs. The board on the other hand currently has 5 community cards – 5 of clubs, 8 of clubs, 9 of clubs, King of spades and King of diamonds. One look at the cards and you have likely deciphered you are close to creating a straight flush. A straight flush is the highest ranked hand in the poker word. This hand usually consists of 5 cards that are all in a numerical order and of the same suit. Moving forward, you have an opponent in the game who currently holds a big-stack. Let us assume the opponent too holds a strong hand such as a full-house or a flush. While a full house usually consists of a three-of-a-kind and a pair, the ace high flush on the other hand has 5 cards, all of which belong to the same suit.

Now, both you and your opponent are currently facing a pot worth $3000. You currently hold a stack worth $4500, and you might consider indulging in a value shove. At max, even if your opponent calls or re-shoves your shove, he would likely end up losing to your straight flush. Read your opponent well during such a manoeuvre. Thereafter, try to determine if a value shove during this point of the game is going to be profitable or not. Only once you are sure should you proceed with a value shove in poker.

Do not shove all the time

If indulging in shove poker can actually aid a person in winning the entire pot then why not shove the entire stack during each round? This is because shove poker is generally regarded as an extremely strong weapon in any poker player’s toolkit. However, it is only strong and valuable when it is used at the right time. As a good poker player, the more you will shove the less your opponents will consider your hand worthy of winning. The less they believe your hand’s strength to be, the less likely they will fold to it. In fact, if you try to shove too often then your opponents might actually start calling you with weaker hands as well.

The right time to shove in poker

The right time to shove in poker usually varies from one player to another. A player can shove in poker due to multiple reasons. For instance – a player might be trying to double up or put his opponents to test.

Vital to this, for most players the right time to move-in is generally when they become short-stacked. By short-stacked, we mean when a player has barely enough chips to see another 10 big blinds. In a situation, when a player has such a few numbers of chips, they are usually left with just two options to either move all-in or fold. Now, the decision whether to go all-in or fold generally depends on the opponent, the pot odds and the player’s position. All of which we are going to cover in detail in the next section.

Contrary to this, players with big stacks generally employ the shove poker strategy in order to create pressure on the short stack players. Because during a round of poker, even if the short-stack player moves all-in, he still stands to lose the entire tournament if the big stack player in turn calls his bet. Therefore, for a big stack player, the best time to shove in poker is when they read an opponent and realise that he is bluffing. If they call their bet then and there, they stand to win the short-stack player’s entire chip stack.

Top 3 tips for successfully shoving in poker

So, we have almost reached the end of our guide. For our last bit, we have covered the 3 factors that you must consider for a successful shove in poker.

Know the opponents

For successfully shoving in any game of poker, you must ace the skill of reading your opponents. For instance – you must pay close attention to their previous actions and read their faces to determine the strength of the hand they are potentially holding. This is something that generally goes two ways. It doesn’t matter whether you shoved first or your opponent. Knowing your opponent will most likely always put you in an advantageous position.

Calculate the pot odds

Poker is generally considered a game of skill and mathematics, much more than luck. In this regard, if you are somebody who usually enjoys using maths before taking poker actions then pot odds are the thing for you. Before shoving in any game of poker, make it a point to calculate the pot odds.. If the numbers work in your favour, then take a call on whether moving all-in at this point is the right decision for you or not.

Take advantage of position

In any game of poker, the player’s position usually plays a key role. Vital to this, shoving from an early position is considered much riskier than shoving from a middle position. Simply because the later you shove the lesser are the number of people who are going to act behind you. As you might have guessed, shoving from the late position is thus considered the best move for any player.

All said and done, we hope you have learned everything that you came here to learn about shove in poker. In the end, it is imperative for you to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all shove poker strategy that you can use in poker. The most you can do is to improve your all-in game by practising more and more poker games online. To do the same, just register on the GetMega Poker app and get ready to take your shove poker game to another level.

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About The  

Kanchan Sharma
Kanchan Sharma

Kanchan Sharma started her career as a learning designer at an MNC while pursuing poker as a hobby. However, she soon pivoted to becoming a professional MTT (Multi Table Tournaments) player. She is currently a leading player, who has taken the male dominated poker world by storm. During her stint as a poker player, she has bagged many titles including India Online Poker Championship (IOPC) for Rs. 17,98,906, Winter Celebration Series for Rs. 6,62,500 and has final tabled multiple tournaments. She continually seeks to improve her poker game and work on her mindset to win the WSOP title soon. Her journey from being a recreational player to a poker pro is inspiring for many people out there.

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