Does Stack Size Matter? (Part 2)

February 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Angus Dunnington, News, Poker School

32Red's Poker School Blog

32Red's Poker School Blog

Introduction to Deep Stack Strategy (No Limit Cash Games)

Deep-stack cash game strategy is a completely different animal to short-stack play because maximum resources obviously afford us maximum flexibility. Not surprisingly, the more options that are available – and the increased situational aspect due to the game’s complexity – might well require more skill and experience, which is why many players feel uncomfortable with too much money in front of them.

However, this is certainly a fascinating part of the game and, since skill can be honed only through experience, perhaps the next time you manage to increase your stack to 200BB, for example, and if there are other deep stacks at the table, instead of leaving you could decide to give deep-stacked poker a try.

While it is true that all decisions require careful consideration regardless of stack size, with 200BB at stake it’s imperative that you think things through as well as possible. With a myriad of possibilities through the betting rounds you can’t afford to be predictable with your own play or presumptive about the opposition. When the potential winnings are high you need also to be able to read the ebb and flow of the game in order to adapt. Be aware of how other players perceive you, how this perception changes due to your actions (deliberate or otherwise), and seek to exploit this to your advantage when opportunities arise (which they will).

As far as your starting hand range is concerned, deep stacks afford you a great deal more room for manoeuvre than short (or medium) stacks. This is because implied odds mean your potential winnings in a single pot against similarly stacked players are high enough to justify bets on speculative hands (note that implied odds disappear if you’re sitting at a table full of short stacks). Consequently hands such as small pairs and ‘magic’ suited connectors become an important part of your game – you are likely to miss when the flop comes but when these hands hit the aim is to win a massive pot that more than makes up for the investment; with short stacks this approach makes no sense as the maximum reward won’t cover the accumulative costs.

Hopefully this is food for thought, and in Part 3 we will look at how we might get our hands on someone else’s big stack.

Good luck at the tables!