When is the Right Time to Move all-in

You are playing in a no limit tournament. Unfortunately things are not going well.

Your chip stack is low, and in order to get back in the hunt, you must make an all-in move. But when is the right time to move all-in?

You can’t wait too long or your chip stack will get so low that any raise you make will be called. And you don’t want to move all-in too soon because you want to make sure you get a chance to see all of the cards on the board before making such a move.

The time to move all-in is when your chip stack is nine times or less the big blind. But, you want to make this all-in move as the first pre-flop raiser.

Why nine times the big blind instead of ten times the big blind? Well, if you have A-A and the flop is J-7-4, then you have a good chance of getting away with a small bet.

And if you make a ten times the big blind bet, most likely someone will have a hand with a higher kicker.


You have 8-8. The flop is 7-7-2. You raise to $1. The SB re-raises you to $2. You call. The rest of the table folds.

The next card, you have J-10. The flop is 10-8-2. The SB raises to $3, you call. And, the small blind bets the pot.

How is this a good opportunity to move all-in?

You need to raise the $9. If you have A-A, you are a 67% favorite. Of course you still have a chance of getting beat, but against those one-outers, you are doing pretty well.

And against those with no idea how to play you, you are doing even better.

What make this all-in raise different than a regular all-in?

– When you make this all-in move, the $9 is the only bet you have made so far. If you raise pre-flop and miss, the $9 is the only bet you have made so far.

– It is much more likely that you will flop a set or better. With the pre-flop raise, you knew that you were going to make this move at some point. You didn’t have to keep betting blind every time.

– You are looking to take the blinds from the small blind. As stated before, you only have $95 as the small blind. If you squeeze a $50 bet out of the small blind, you are eliminating 75% of your implied odds.

You get the idea. Playing with the right position can lead to some very favorable results. Playing against players who think the table is rigged is even better.

While you will not be able to learn what cards the other players have, the players who think the table is rigged will be able to tell you if you are playing real hands or not.

While you will not be able to teach people the probabilities of the cards coming out, you can teach them the probabilities of the cards coming out and your hand.

The thing you want to avoid is doing fancy bets. For example, raising with Ace King before the flop because everyone knows you have a big pair and no one really expects you to have one.

Those bets look like bluffing to the average player, and even if you have a big pair, you don’t want to be called the wrong way (accidentally, or on purpose).