Friday, November 2, 2007

Short Stacks versus Full Stacks

I read other poker blogs for a couple reasons. The first one is for enjoyment. I like hearing other people's thoughts on the game and some of these writers are pretty talented in that they can make a fairly standard hand into an entertaining read.

Another reason is because I myself am not a very good writer so much like railing a 25/50 game to learn some new tricks, I will read a blog like Dr. Pauly's to pick up some tips for making poker more entertaining in the written form.

And yet another reason is to pick up ideas for my next post.

This time credit goes to Recess Rampage and his post about buying in short.

I think that buying in short becomes more profitable as you move up in stakes - and I mean this in terms of how many BB's you can win. Here's why I say this: The higher you move up and continue to buy in short, the more likely it is that bigger stacks will call you light just to try and bust you.

The higher you go, the more psychology is involved in the game; especially short-handed. Deep stacks are constantly 3 and 4 betting light. For a good example of this, download JMan's Cardrunners video. He talks about it in depth. Back to my original inspiration for this post ...

Recess Rampage said he feels like buying in short takes away your ability to play, and he is exactly correct. That should be the purpose of buying in short if that is what you elect to do. Small pairs and suited connectors lose most of their value. You're looking to get all the money in the middle pre-flop with your mid to high pairs as well as AK, AKs, AQ, and AQs. You can add some weaker holding like KQs and AJs if you find your opponents are willing to call you lightly.

And ideally you want to be shoving versu deep stacks if they come in for a raise because their raising standards should be fairly liberl if they are good players.

Here's an example ...

Let's say you buy into a 5/10NL 6 Max game for $200 and you have folded your blinds a once and then get dealt JJ on the button.

UTG+1 opens for $35 and has $1600 behind. The CO flat calls and you shove your $185.

That means there is $270 in the pot and the original raiser only has to call $145 more. That's almost 2 to 1 meaning you will get called fairly often as the favorite in the hand making this an easy +EV move.

That's a pretty straightforward example of a hand that plays itself given the circumstances.

Another example would be limping with something like nines or tens from early position when aggressive players are to your left, then re-shoving over the top of their isolation raise since you are ahead of their hand range. That's another +EV play.

Hero: $185
Villain: $1200

Hero limps for $10 UTG
Villain raises to $40 from UTG+1
Blinds fold
Hero shoves for $175

Pot contains $240 and Villain needs to call $135 more. Again, almost 2 to 1 odds but he could have raised to isolate with a small pair or a weak ace thinking you'll fold, and now he really should not be calling you. If he folds, you just increased your stack by 30% without having to show a hand. And if he calls ... again, you are probably ahead of his range given these odds.

Here is a quote from RR's blog and this is where I think he misses the mark:
In a cash game, I'm not looking for a 50-50 race. I know a lot of people easily call off their chips with AK or even AQ. In a cash game, I'm not eager to do that because quite frankly, if I just want to flip coins, there's no reason for me to play poker.
You try to avoid calling to put yourself all in, first of all. As you move up, good players will know what you are doing and they will not put you in this spot if they don't have a good hand. You're looking to do something like the two examples I laid out above where you are the pusher and you still have some fold equity, but the reality is you'd prefer a call since you're getting your chips in with the best of it more times than not.

This post has gotten to be longer than I'd like, so I will probably address my deep stack strategy in a post all its own.

Good luck at the tables.


Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Dude... I don't know who you are but I really like your style. It makes me laugh. Dark humor is right up my alley.

This post was actually very interesting. In that one example (and yes, I know it's simplified), if you shove with JJ and the guy is getting 2-1 to make the call, fairly often, it would be correct to call with all 5 cards to come, no? Sure he's behind but with the pot odds, I'm not sure that you are benefitting greatly if we assume that the benefit comes from your opponent making the wrong decision. If the pot odds are correct, putting money in, even if you're behing could still be "correct." Just a thought. Nice blog.

CzechRazor said...

Hey, thanks. I'm just a random poker player who started clicking on people's blogroll links and bookmarking what I liked. That's how I came across yours.

I'll work on being more concise with my posts. Now that I see your comment, here is why I'm trying to get it ...

Let's say you flipped the cards face up before villain makes the call.

If he saw you had JJ and he is holding something like 77,88, 99, AJ, A-10 suited -- hands he will probably call with getting a price of 2:1. Well, calling is incorrect and it benefits you.

So when you combine the hands you have crushed with the hands you're flipping against, it's a really good play for you even when you factor in the times he might have AA, KK, or QQ and have you crushed.

I think. I'd need to run it through PokerStove to get hard data. Frick.

thaREALdmoney said...

This post/comments have improved my thoughts of you from a typical tourny donk (Which is what i gleened from your last post) to an intelligent thinking decent cash player :)

Good on you sir. I hate reading MTT players blogs.

CzechRazor said...

There's no compliment quite like a backhanded on lol.


Thanks for taking the time to read.

I will most certainly post about some tournament stuff but the majority of the material will be cash game related.

MackemPlus1 said...

Agree completely about the benefits of shortstacking.

Went through a period of buying into 5/10NL games on Party with $300 and had good success - as noted I got looked up very light all the time.