Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Plague Of Small Stacks

Decided to play a little No-Limit Holdem cash yesterday to make a change from PLO / Tournaments / SNGs etc. Having not been at the cash tables for a while I headed for the lower levels ($20 buy-in with 10c / 20c blinds) over at Titan.

It would seem that every other player is a short stack... not, you understand, the good short stacks who may have read Donkey Devastation's short stacking guide or Ed Miller's book.... oh no, awful players posting with 1 hand to wait, calling bets for 1/4 of said stack then folding to a min bet on the flop... really bad.

Actually these players, while irritiating, are not usually an issue. Yesterday it was the sheer volume of them, seemed like half the players were buying in for the minimum $4.

So, as usual this got me thinking (!) what adjustments do I need to make to beat these guys? Wait for premium hands? limp in and hope to hit a monster? Get aggressive as soon as the other big stacks were out of the hand? After all there is a counter strategy for every player type - if you can just figure out what it is!

Waiting for premiums was out, not enough to go around.

Hit a set once with another deep stack in the pot.... only to see my cbet raised all in by a shorty and the deep stacked player understandably fold. (arrrggghhh)

Aggression did not work, many of the shorties would call with around 50% of hands pre-flop and then push bottom pair (or even ace-high) after the flop... fold equity = zero!

So, half an hour later I'd exhaused all the options, except one.


And you know, it worked! I was able to get on with other parts of life safe in the knowledge that my poker skills were working for me well... I'd found myself in a -ev situation and quit.

Guess the message here is that this happens in different ways to us all... ever fancied a few SNGs and found your level full of winning regulars - yet played anyway? Looked at the tourney schedule to find only Razz available in the next 5 minutes but played it anyway?

I'll be honest - I have, and its a leak that is not too difficult to fix.

GL at the tables, Mark


MrTynKyn said...

Hi Mark
This is what poker online is becoming. I think the old school articles will be outdated with those youngers playing 25 tabling ( u know spacegravy) .
I have played Shorstacked strategy and let me tell you that is: profitable , low bankroll requeried ,no brained and free stress. You can do a lot of bonus a rakeback with it.
Dark side : Boring as few things can be , has a roof ( you can play at certain levels , next , people know how to play against ).
In Argentina there is people playing it at 6 max ( I dont know how) , doing well.
There is a way to play against them , but it is not poker , the better solution , leave or play 9 people tables (shortacked strategy is more difficult in 9 handed)

Always interesting read your blog

Mark said...


You are right, correctly done short-stacking is profitable... the thing is it exploits the game of deepstacked opponents so too many of them destroy the objective.

Have you read the short stacking suide over at www.donkeydevastaion.com ? an excellent blog (not updated too much these days though).

Have tried it myself in the past, you are certainly right that it is a dull way to play poker!!

Cheers, Mark