Short Stacking in No Limit Hold Em – Part 1 Introduction and Attitudes
Playing a short stack, around 30 big blinds or less, properly in no Limit Hold em poker involves a very basic poker strategy
. It basically involves staying patient, waiting for premium or near premium hands, with the intention of getting all-in preflop or on the flop. Suited connectors are not playable, like they can be at times for bigger stacks.
Suited to beginners and cautious players
The big plus of short stack poker play is if you make any mistake, it’s never going to be a huge one that costs you 100 big blinds or more. It allows you to get all-in on the flop, with hands such as an overpair or top pair top kicker, that you would be reluctant to do with a larger stack.
No love for the short stacker
Poker purists often look upon short stackers with disdain, saying such things as they are ruining the beautiful game of poker; whilst others will state that if you are a good enough player, you should adapt your game to play against the short stacks and not to complain about it.
Take the short stackers on or move on
Well I’m not going to get involved with this oft heated argument. From a purely practical point of view though the argument really is one in which it is essentially just two sides of the one coin. Having short stacks in a cash game does alter the nature of the game and can interfere with bigger stacks ‘normal’ strategy, so in that sense it could be said to be ruining the game. On the other hand in poker as in life there’s not much point to complaining, you just got to make the best of where you are at, and if there are short stacks at your table, either adapt to play them, or move to tables which don’t have them. It’s pretty hard to totally avoid short stacks all the time, so you might as well be prepared for them, even if your preference is for them not to be around.
Want to avoid short stackers?
Many sites now are factoring in that a lot of players do not want to play against short stackers and so are providing tables with a minimum buy-in of 50 big blinds or in some cases even 100 big blinds. Note even in these games, there is the possibility of facing short stack(s) if a player’s stack decreases sufficiently and they don’t top it up.
In part 2 of Short Stacking in No Limit Hold Em we will take a look at some of the upsides and downsides of playing a short stack and looking at ways in which bigger stacks can defend against short stacks.