Short Stack Poker Online: Benefits, Strategies, & Methods

Short Stack Poker Online: Benefits, Strategies, & Methods

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Before we get into the short stack poker strategy, let’s see what we mean by short stack in poker! A short stack in poker means that a player has less size of chips in comparison to the total average size of chips of other players. A short stack in poker usually has less than 40 big blinds for cash games and on the other hand, for tournaments, it comes down to not more than 30 big blinds.

Owing to its characteristics of being a fast-paced game, these short stacks games are typically preferred by beginner players looking to learn and increase their experience, but there is more to it. Due to personal preference and their comfort level, many experienced players prefer to play short stack too.

In this article, we will discuss the basic strategies involved in playing short stack poker, but first, let’s check out the reasons why one should lean towards short stack games when playing online.

What are the benefits of playing short stack poker?

1. Mistakes are less dangerous

In playing short stack poker, players are less prone to losing big money, since the pots are small. Because of this, if a player makes a bad decision to call or raise, his/her bankroll will not take a serious hit. Even if the players are not able to win with a big hand, the consequences are very small.

Hence, players can afford to lose and at the same time learn poker easily and efficiently.

2. Less difficult decisions

A short stack in poker ensures that the decisions taken during the gameplay are comparatively easier than decisions taken in deep stacks. In poker, the turn and river betting rounds require a higher level of skills to play profitably. Due to the short stack in this poker, a player can choose to play or not to play the flop, having the option to not call the big bets on the betting rounds. In playing short stack poker, the players don’t have to think a lot about weighing their options since the consequences are not much.

3. Hands of medium strength become important

In deep stack poker games, medium-strength doesn’t hold much value in the flop betting round. It is a big no, to go all-in with a medium-strength hand. On the other hand, when playing short stack poker, the strength of medium hands increases due to the less amount of chips and time. Therefore, medium-strength cards do really well with a short stack, increasing the chances of winning for the players.

4. Smaller Bankroll

This is no news that playing short stack in poker requires a smaller amount of bankroll as compared to medium stacks and deep stacks. Therefore, it takes less money to play and there is less money to lose. This makes it affordable for the players to practice and hone their skills.

After going through some of the benefits of playing short stack poker, it's time that we come down to discussing the short stack poker strategy.

What are the basic short stack poker strategies?

Following are the basic strategies used in playing short stack in poker –

  • The players should memorize the profitable 3-bet and 4-bet ranges for shoving.
  • The players should always open the lift 2 times the major blind.
  • The players should play loose-aggressive and not tighten the open range of elevation.
  • The players should avoid calling in pre-flop, they should either lift or fold and not try to set mine or nut camps.
  • The players are advised to capitalize on weak players who do not know how to adapt to short stacks.
  • Follow a strong "vacuum" approach and then adapt on the basis of the dynamic. The players are advised to play flexibly.

After going through the basic short stack poker strategy, let’s get down to discussing the major sources of profit through strategies, which you will find in playing short stack poker games.

What are the profit strategies?

With the first benefit occurring before the flop and the second after the flop, these benefits are special to short stacks.

Pre-flop source of profit in short stack games

Following the short stack poker strategy, the players would first want to capitalize on the mistakes made by other players in the pre-flop betting round. This is achieved by shoving a 3-bet mathematically correct range towards the opponents.

While playing short stack poker, this short stack poker strategy uses a short stack shove chart which is based on the player's stack size and assumed opening ranges of the player's opponents, which will help the players and increase their chances of winning.

Here, as an example is a 3-bet shoving chart vs a steal –

Now let’s get down to the next strategy.

Post-flop source of profit in short stack games

The second major key idea that short stacks depend on is their failure dynamic. Choosing which hands to play with and which hands to pot control with, is maybe the main contributing factor to a definitive accomplishment of a short stacker. You can do everything else perfectly, yet on the off chance that you neglect to expand your benefit after the flop, your success rate will be restricted.

A decent general guideline is that if you divide the size left of your stack by the size of the pot (called the stack-to-pot ratio, or SPR), you can follow these rules:

SPR: Hands to play (attempt to get all-in)

  • 1 or less: Any bit of the board or 6+ out draw
  • 1-3: Any top pair or 8+ out draw
  • 4-6: Any top pair solid kicker
  • 6-8: Overpairs or better
  • 9-10: Big overpairs or better
  • >10: Better than an overpair

Remember that these numbers are just implied for understanding and are not exact principles or rules. These ranges ultimately depend on the type of opponent faced.

Below, we have provided you with a short stack poker chart that you can refer to while understanding the short stack poker strategy –

With this, we come to an end of short stack poker strategy used in short stack poker. Now that you know all the basic strategies, why not try a game of short stack poker?

Download the GetMega app and start playing short stack poker with your friends and family by employing the short stack poker strategy and improving your gameplay!

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About The  

Kanchan Sharma Author
Kanchan Sharma Author
Kanchan Sharma

Kanchan Sharma started her career as a learning designer at an MNC while pursuing poker as a hobby. However, she soon pivoted to becoming a professional MTT (Multi Table Tournaments) player. She is currently a leading player, who has taken the male dominated poker world by storm. During her stint as a poker player, she has bagged many titles including India Online Poker Championship (IOPC) for Rs. 17,98,906, Winter Celebration Series for Rs. 6,62,500 and has final tabled multiple tournaments. She continually seeks to improve her poker game and work on her mindset to win the WSOP title soon. Her journey from being a recreational player to a poker pro is inspiring for many people out there.

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