In almost any of the existing poker disciplines, a player can face situations when he will be forced to play short stacked spots. That is why every poker player should understand the process of building an optimal Poker strategy when playing in short stack spots.
In this article, we’ll talk in more detail about some useful tips to help you build a profitable line in these situations.
Remember your preflop ranges.
You need to understand that in the moments of playing in short stacks, all your decisions will be quite expensive. Accordingly, the approach to choosing ranges for open-raises and 3-bets should be as competent as possible, otherwise there will be no need to talk about the profitability of the chosen strategy
To build adequate ranges of openings and 3-bets in short stacks, you can analyze the hand base of the best players at your limit, or experiment at the tables and draw conclusions from your sample. Specialized software can also help in this matter, this program will help you figure out situations when you need to 3bet and push, provided you play in short stacks.
Obviously, all of our ranges are important to adjust to our opponents at the tables. For example, when playing against weak players, you can expand your open-raising ranges. The recreational player will exploit our activities much less frequently than the experienced regular.
When playing with completely unknown opponents, you will have to rely only on your basic strategy of openings and 3betting. Already as some information accumulates on the players, it will be possible to adjust their ranges in order to exploit the opponent’s weaknesses.
Remember the importance of effective stack size.
Compliance with this rule is important so that you can understand which line of the drawing in a particular spot will be optimal. Let’s consider this point with an example.
There are 3 players at the table:
1 player – $ 50;
2nd player – $ 20;
3rd player – $ 50.
The first player posts $ 1 to the SB, the second to the BB posts $ 2. From BU the third player opens with a $ 4 minraise.
In this situation, the effective stack size is $ 20. Given the opponent’s BU opening sizing, what size should the SB player choose with AA in hand?
In this case, SB can 3bet any size, but if he wants to make the most profitable decision in this hand, then he should not ignore the effective stack size.
The default sizing of the 3bet in this spot will be $ 12. Since in the event that the second player pushes all his $ 20 into the center of the table, and the third player decides to call, we will have the opportunity to start trading again. This will help us maximize our preflop value.
Remember that the size of your opponents’ stacks at the poker table should significantly affect your actions and the size of the bets you make. If you always keep track of these nuances, you can make your strategy more effective.
Consider hand playability.
Given that we are playing short stack situations, it is especially important to play with those hands that fit well on different types of boards. After all, a short stack deprives us of any postflop maneuvers, we will have to make a decision on the stack immediately on the flop or on the turn.
In moments when the game is played with hands that have poor postflop playability, but are supposedly favorites in a particular game situation, the best solution is to set them preflop with them. This way, we can avoid overly difficult situations postflop and fully realize our equity. In this case, we are talking about low pockets and offsuit aces with a low kicker.
If the game is played in stacks of less than 20 blinds, playing hands of this kind simply by all-in preflop, we simplify our strategy and make it more effective.
Don’t risk a lot of chips for a small win.
For some, the idea of pushing A5 suited with 25BB in the stack with MP does not look so awful, but in reality such a game will be unprofitable. It’s all about the ratio of risk to potential reward. In simple terms, by making such a push, we will either earn too little, but risk a lot, or simply lose a completely playable stack.
The best option in such a situation would be to continue playing the usual game, opening through the standard sizing for us or throwing out our hands. Thus, we will be able to maintain our stack and wait for a more profitable spot to be placed.
Don’t start playing too tight.
Among newbies, this problem is most relevant when playing in short stacks. The game comes down to passively waiting for a strong hand, the chance of doubling with which will be the greatest.
Obviously, if you play in short stacks, playing a tight range is quite justified, especially if the game is played on the tournament bubble. However, you need to understand that such a strategy in most cases will lead to the fact that your stack will melt even before you have the opportunity to push with a strong hand. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to cover up the blinds with a BU if the big stacks at the table allow you to do so.
Another short-stacked mistake is folding too high to the BB. Too much defense in the big blind tells your opponents to attack you with any hand. To deprive opponents of this opportunity, you need to call with a wider range or try to defend your blind with three-bets.
Consider variance and be smart about building bankroll management rules.
If you play short stacks, you lose the advantage over your opponents, compared to if you were playing deep stacks. The lower our advantage over our opponents, the more buy-ins we need to play comfortably. Actually, this is exactly why in disciplines such as Hyper-Turbo SNG or Spin & Go the bankroll should be more than strong. Even strong regulars don’t neglect this rule. Therefore, if you do not want your bankroll to suffer tragic consequences, you need to understand exactly how many buy-ins will be comfortable for playing in one format or another.
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