Stack sizes in no Limit Hold Em – Part 2 the impact of stack size on game play
Stack size matters
A crucial factor in no limit hold em is the quantity of chips that players have in their stack. Stack size not only has a major impact on what strategy
a player should be looking to employ in the poker game, but also says a lot for the psychology and the type of player he is.
Bigger means better, perhaps!
Someone who buys in for the maximum tends to be more confident in their overall game, the reason for this is when you bring a bigger stack to the game you give your potential to win more, the downside is you also can lose a lot more. So if they are thinking clearly then they rate themselves to be better than the average player in the game as they judge the benefit of having a large stack outweighs the negative side. Whereas someone who joins a game for the minimum or in fact any small amount is basically saying they are not fully confident in their poker skills and they are averse to risking money.
Exploit changes in stack size
Even if they are proficient at short stack play, you can use this information against them if they go on to increase their stack size later in the game, as they are often then playing with ‘scared money’.
Small pairs like big stacks
However, the biggest impact that stack size has is how it affects a player’s implied odds. Your stack size and the stack size of your opponents have an enormous impact on the type of hands you should play. Small stacks like big picture card hands such as AK or KQ, while large stacks like suited connectors and small and medium pairs play.
For example, let’s say you have 76 suited preflop. Your hand on face value is not particularly strong. It’s unlikely that you are going to make a top hand on the flop, such as a flush, a straight, trips or even two pair. However, you do have a reasonable chance of flopping a flush and/or straight draw. Flopping a draw presents you with lots of opportunities by either taking down the pot with a semi bluff or by making your draw on the turn or river and making some more money out of it.
Not suited for small stack play
However If the stack sizes are small, playing suited connected cards does not become worthwhile. Firstly the percentage of your stack that you have to invest preflop becomes a significant amount and related to this you can’t afford to chase down draws post flop as chances are you will have to invest most if not all of your stack in any betting that occurs on the flop meaning you have little or no implied odds. Suited connectors perform best when both the holder and most of his opponents have large stack sizes; conversely they are not usually worth playing in a game with small stacks.
In Part 3 of Stack sizes in no Limit Hold Em we take a deeper look at the effect of playing in game with many large stacks.