How to play against a short stack

Content: Poker > Poker Strategy

How to play against a short stack

Something that can be even trickier than playing with a short stack in a 6-max cash game is playing against one. You have to be very decisive about when to be aggressive, because when the short stack calls your bet on the flop, chances are he is committed to going all the way with the hand. If you try and make a move and bluff or semi-bluff at a short stacked player, and get called, you have to slow down your betting if the turn doesn’t hit you. A short stack is likely to call you down on your bluff if you continue to fire, as they do not have many chips they can lose.

If you are able to read your opponent, and put them on a missed draw while you have a solid hand, it is probably a good idea to check the river, inducing the short stack to throw all their chips in, in an effort to get you off of your hand. With most of their chips already in, it is likely to see a river bluff with the remainder, which is actually a smart play if they are able to push you out due to pot odds. If you were to make a value bet instead of checking, you may force them to fold, in which case you do not get all of their chips.

Many people who sit with a short stack are grinders, waiting for a big hand to get all their chips in with and double up. Against these players, you want to constantly keep turning up the heat and firing, as they will fold more times than not. If that same rock tight short stack plays back at you in a hand, you really have to be aware of whether or not it is with while to stay in the hand. When you have position on this player, raise them pre-flop relentlessly. If the opponent calls, fire again at the flop even if you did not hit it. With the odds of him only hitting a flop 1 out of 3 times, you will pick up a lot of small pots because of your opponent folding to your bet on the flop. These players are not going to put any substantial portion of their stack in without a premium hand.

If you are facing a highly aggressive opponent who is on the short stack, then you want to be a little more careful with your play, you must also be willing to play back at them. If you see the short stack doing a lot of pre-flop raising, then you must be capable re-popping that player, even with marginal hands. You will see this type of player, after a re-raise or two push all his money in with a suspect hand. You have a big decision to make if you are holding a marginal hand yourself such as a suited Ace rag, KQ, KJ, or QK, and in some cases a middle pocket pair. You must know your poker math in these situations because if you are getting the right combination of pot odds and implied odds, you need to be playing that suited Ace. You are only a small underdog to hands such as KK, and only slightly worse against hands like AQ and AJ. These odds, combined with the chance that the player is simply taking a stand to your raises will in certain situations make calling someone’s all in the right play.

Finding yourself against a short stack can be frustrating to the point of wanting to slam your head into the table. Adjusting your play to the short stacked player and to the situation is crucial. By making some small changed to your game can make taking out those short stacks at your next 6-max table a breeze. .

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