Short Stack Strategy – Poker Strategy Series

This video shows a short stack strategy as a case study. You will see it defies what some say about strategy and makes you realize you need to trust your own instincts as well. This is a youtube video no copyrite infringement intended. I just want to make sure the video was available.

This is the second part of a short stack comeback by bloodyfun. Player bloodyfun has been short stack throughout much of the tournament but fortunes change.
Bloodyfun goes all-in with a pair of fives and wins. This is the start of this players’ rise. Bloodyfun’s chip stack roughly doubles. Next is the high card queen with the 8 as a kicker. One big change happens when Bloodyfun goes all-in with ace-7 and gets an ace pair. Another major move is all-in with ace-6 with a 6 pair win.
Bloodyfun has been steadily increasing their chip stack.
The ace-2 combo is another winner for Bloodyfun. This time the scene has changed with Bloodyfun in the lead. Finally, Bloodyfun has a queen pair and goes all-in and their opponent does the same. Bloodyfun wins the pot and game.
To sum it up, Bloodyfun gains with pairs and ace combos and then caps it off with a queen pair.
Short Stack Strategy
This is a case study of excellent short stack play. Pairs and high cards are your best bets when short stack. You will also note many tips not often used like low pairs were also used with success.
Any player will find themselves with a short stack. It could be starting later in a tournament, you haven’t had any great runs, or you bet and lost chips. Any of these scenarios can lead to a small chip stack. But there is a way to get more. These are some strategies to use to increase your chip stack.
Many people use anywhere between 10 to 40 big blinds as a measure of being short stacked. The higher number is excellent to use a a guide since it will get you thinking before you get to 10.
With short stacks, you don’t want to waste any chips. Do very little bluffing, or “maybe hands”. You want to increase your chances of winning chips. I’ve seen bluffers go all-in with flop of 4 hearts, 4 spades and king hearts, only to have an opponent bet with 4 clubs and diamonds. Bluffing doesn’t always work, so don’t try it when you’re short stacked. Your goal is to win tournaments.
Flop and Pre-flop
For short stacks this is where the action is. If you have an ace pair you will want to raise and put everyone on defense. Most of the high cards work here but ace pair or ace with anything else that could lead a pair should be considered. Often, players don’t want to go to the river with raising potentially losing more chips.
Some people advise to not use suited connector or small pairs. I disagree because I find them to be the most lucrative when you have the winning hand. Suited connectors mostly face cards but even 8 an 9s can lead to flushes or straights. It doesn’t happen often but when they do you chip stack will improve dramatically. The same thing with small pairs. Many people bet big with ace king. They don’t always materialize. Also pairs could lead to three of kinds, fullhouses and four of a kind. They won’t if you fold them.
As you can see from the video above, small five pairs essentially kicked off Bloodyfun’s rise in the tournament. You will also note Bloodyfun used the ace-combos well to win frequently as well.
The top hands to use most of the time are:

Ace Ace
King King
Queen Queen
Ace King suited
Ace Queen suited
Jack Jack
Ace King
Ace Queen
Ace Jack suited

These hands are basically a laundry list of the top, highest ranking hands. But guess what? They don’t always work. But if you’re going to take a chance, you want to take your chances here. And you want to take your chances with most pairs.
With most pairs you want to assess the flop. If your pair is lower than the flop or doesn’t have three of kind it’s best to check fold vs call. Be safe not sorry.
When you think you have a great hand raise it first. This is one of the greatest tips ever. Most players know that ace pair doesn’t always work and don’t always want to negotiate hands defensively and would rather fold giving you the pot. And pots add up over time.
Best practices.
Raise with strong hands.
Use pocket pairs and suited connectors till the flop comes out.
Using higher face cards will lead to victory more often than using lower value cards.

Strategy theory vs the real game
In poker, hands change all the time. You might find a pair of two beating an ace king combo. Suited connectors connect to flushes and straights. You have to develop an ability to trust your own instincts with playing poker and that is one of the best strategies out there. One WSOP Main event was one with a high card and another with a pair of 3s. So develop the ability to trust your instincts and your winning will increase several fold over.

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