Posts Tagged ‘chip stacks’

Shoving Short Stacks in Poker Tournaments

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

When playing poker tournaments, we’d all love to have the cards fall into the right place, and not have our chip stacks in danger at any point. Unfortunately, this only happens to players in the rarest of circumstances, and the vast majority of the time, you’ll be dealing with a short stack at some point in a tournament.

Seeing as how being the short stack gives you very little leverage to make effective raises or steal hands, this is a terrible place to be. Furthermore, you’re only a few blind orbits away from being knocked out of the tournament. It’s for this reason why most poker players suggest a shove or fold approach once your chip stack gets down around 10 big blinds.

The reason why is because you need to build your stack quickly to have any shot at waiting for better hands, and making effective plays against bigger stacks. This being said, you need to know when the ideal situations arise for shoving short stacks in poker tournaments.

Now the big mistake that many people make here is only focusing on their poker cards, rather than table position and stack sizes. For example, if you’re only looking at your cards and you get A-J in early position, this might seem like a solid hand to shove with; however, you also have to consider how many people are left to act after you, and their stack sizes because several people might call just because they think you’re going for a desperation steal.

As a general rule, the later your position, the wider range of hands you can shove with. For example, in an unraised pot with A-J, this is a great opportunity for you to shove the short stack in an attempt to steal a hand. Even if you get called, you at least have a solid chance with A-J.

There are a host of other factors to consider too such as how the opponents behind you play. For example, if you have three loose-aggressive players left to act, shoving would be a bad decision unless you’ve got the cards. However, if the players left to act are tight, and the blinds won’t defend, this presents a much better chance to shove and steal a hand.

Casino Poker Tournament Strategy

Friday, August 5th, 2011

While most poker tournament strategy these days revolves around the online game, it’s still worth discussing casino poker tournament strategy because, well, plenty of people still play in the casinos. Assuming you’re looking to play in your first live tournament, or you’re just relatively inexperienced, here is some general casino poker tournament strategy.

Don’t deviate much from Online Poker Strategy

If you’re an experienced online poker player, then you’ve probably got a little strategy behind your play already. This being said, you don’t have to make a lot of adjustments heading into casino tournaments. After all, the same concepts are still in play such as bet sizing, keeping a solid set of starting hand requirements and implied odds.

Focus on Chip Stacks

One mistake that a lot of new casino players make is neglecting to pay attention to stack sizes. However, the size of your stack, as well as opponents’ stacks, should factor heavily into your strategy. For example, let’s say that you have less than 10BB in the middle of a tournament; in this case, you’d need to be willing to shove with any decent hand in order to steal blinds and keep yourself alive in the tourney. Also, assuming an opponent has 10BB or less and you’ve got a big stack and a decent hand, it might be worth calling when they make potential desperation moves.

Learn a few Live Tells

While the whole live tells/bluffing aspect of poker is a little overrated, it’s still important that you learn a few live poker tells before jumping into a casino tournament. And while some tells may be specific to certain players, a general one is when a person looks at their cards, then looks immediately at their stack, they have a good hand and are planning to bet.