Practice When You’re the Little Stack – Fight Hard!
Uh oh! You’ve gotten into playing poker online, something that you really do feel good about. You’re a long way from those informal neighborhood games, where people felt sorry for you and wanted to go easy on you. You’re in the big leagues now, where everything that you do matters. People have painted a target on your back. You’ve had some good wins, but you’ve also had some losses. And now you’re at a table where you’re the one with the least amount of chips. Sound like a familiar situation?
A lot of players find themselves at one point or another as the short stack — little stack — well, whatever you want to call it. Basically, the chips are down and things aren’t looking good for you. Now, if this isn’t a tournament play, all you have to do is just rebuy — but what about in tournaments where there’s no going back if you get bumped off the table? That’s when you have to learn how to fight hard.
First and foremost, you need to be checking for the bluffers. Far too often we think that every player is being truthful about what they’re holding. But a bluffer will test the waters to see if they can get one over on you. If they can, then they’re definitely going to go for it. They’re going to make sure that they keep you off balance. They’re definitely going to think very carefully about how to get the rest of your chips. You’re an obstacle to them, and if they can remove you then they’re one step closer to the great prizes of the tournament. In bigger tournaments, where a certain percentage of the group gets to be in the money, you’ll find that every little placement helps.
So, what about when you’re at the table and you really are the lowest on the totem pole? You need to start folding more often. I know, I know — your first thought is to play harder, jumping into every pot. But this is the time where you need to be cautious. You would want to look at which flops are going to benefit you, and which ones aren’t. What about when someone raises before the flop even comes down? It might be best to stay out of the hand entirely. When you’re the smallest stack, you have to go where it’s going to be profitable for you. Just putting in money without knowing whether or not you’ve got anything good isn’t a good idea. Yes, you might have rockets in your hand, but what if someone else has two pair? It’s a mistake that could have you thrown right out of the game. Never get so connected to what you’re holding that you’re willing to take anything.
Being aware is just a smart thing to do. What do you really have planned that you can’t make smoother decisions? Think carefully and move quickly — that’s all there is to it!