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Half Stack

November 18th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Half Stack

Playing short stacks is a strategy. To play short at the mcro stakes vs bad players will do nothing for your game. If you ever plan on doing anything but short stacking the micro stakes you may want to change your strategy.

As for any advice, give it up. Certainly give it up at Omaha where the players are worse and and as KB said, you have 0 fold equity.

Learning how to play short is equivalent to learning how to crawl, and then think this fancy walking business isn't really necessary to get around.

I have literally zero experience shortstacking but it seems that having 10BB or less would mean that we're pushing a very tight, predictable range without much (or any) fold equity while playing 20BB would give us more room to maneuver, i.e. being able to fold if you're steal attempt is 3b, being able to resteal shove and have fold equity. In fact, 20-40BB is what i've seen from nearly all successful shortstackers at low limits. The 10BB stacks bust out much too often while the 40-60BB stacks become trapped by their awkward stacks/poor skills postflop.

Short stacking is a strategy that can be very profitable and in certain games even the most profitable. It's unpopular mainly because it's forcing everyone else to either play on your terms or not be able to play optimally against you because of other people in the hand.

It doesn't exactly stunt your growth, but it does teach only a subset of useful skills.

Whether short stacking is a good way to learn is debatable and mostly depends on the individual and how the learning is approached.

If you have a solid short stacking strategy you should be profitable at any limit, but as with any other strategy if you are still putting the strategy together or resolving difficult spots in your mind you are better off playing lower where the losses are more manageable.

Short stacking can also be one of the most idiot proof strategies. Not in the sense of the playing applying the short stack strategy being an idiot, but something you'll often see is people quoting words to the effect of that you cannot be owned at microstakes, you can only own yourself. You think the opponents are better than they are, and the play that would be correct against a better opponent is wrong against the idiot. A short stack strategy tends to be much more mathematical (as it is more mathematically simple) and you end up in much fewer spots where it matters whether your opponent is an idiot or a thinking player.

Deposit on Stars and play $2NL. Don't even think about $25 or $50 right now. Short stacking does not allow you to learn the game. It just give you tremendous shove equity when you have large pocket pairs because you have no other way to play the hand. You don't have the ability to bluff anything after the flop.

I wouldn't recommend short-stacking until you can understand and play a solid deep-stack game first. I've experimented here and there with short-stacking and half-stacking with mixed results but the important part is that I really didn't learn much from it except for the ol' shove/fold routine. And to me, that's tournament silliness, not real poker. But then again, what do I know... I can't even consistently play a disciplined deep stack game myself.

All of poker is played after the flop. I could pretty much teach anyone how to kill the micro stakes preflop game, but w/20BB you only have enough money for preflop and the flop. Are you willing to move to $25NL or $50NL with absolutely no Turn or River experience? Don't kid yourself, people are playing you differently than other players because of your stack size, which means you will not have any experience in how they will play against you with a different stack either when you decide to increase your stack size.

Short stacking might actually teach big stacks how to play against short stacks because they normally would fail to take into account effective stacks. You won't be effective short stacking if you can't play deep though, and you can't really be effective deep if you can't adjust to short. I tried it for 25K hands and the variance is sick. It's easier to make money playing deep if you fix up the big leaks, but with the ability to play so many tables short you're $/hour could be higher to cover the lower win rate. I wouldn't recommend playing poker like this, but trying out different strategies helps put you into a different set of shoes for awhile and see the game from a different angle.

Greg Noll Demos Dean Guitar & Crate Flexwave Half Stack

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