Thursday, October 9, 2008

Buying In Short

I never buy in to a table as a short stack. And by short stack, I mean less than 40 percent of the full buy-in. Here's why;

  1. When you buy-in as a short stack you often end up pot committed with a hand that you realize too late isn't the best hand going to showdown. But, since you only have five bucks left, and there is 45 in the pot, you end up just throwing the last of your money in. Essentially giving your hard-earned money away!
  2. Your table image is crap. Nobody respects the person that sits down with a short stack, and it's nearly impossible to pull off a big bluff when you can't price anyone out. Yesterday I watched as a short stack came over the top on the turn to try and bluff fatking out of the pot. It was only .40 cents more for fatking to call into a thirty dollar pot! Hilarious!
  3. You lose your ability to maneuver. Let's say your playing Omaha (my game) and you flop a nice draw. It's heads up and your opponent bets pot. With a large stack you can either call to see the turn or raise to build a larger pot and possibly take the pot right there. With the short stack, you lose fold equity because your raise has put you all in, or close to it, and your opponent is now priced into the pot. Now your hand has to improve to win and you have essentially removed one of your options for winning.
  4. QAsRevenge poker math. You buy-in for 20 at a 50 dollar table. You raise-continuation bet and then have to fold. Leaving you 14. You then double up to 28 and are up 8 dollars. You then double up again and have 56. Whoopie. But let's look at my way. I buy in for 50, raise-cbet and fold, leaving me with 44. I double up and have 88. Now, I double up again, and have 176! I risked 30 dollars more but have now made 126 profit, rather than 36*. Personally I'd rather have the 126, so it's worth it to me to play for max value.
That said, there are two exceptions to my rule of buying in for the full amount. When I am learning a new game or moving up in stakes**. Even then, I only drop my buy-in to 60 percent of the full amount. This still gives me the ability to maneuver while exposing a little bit less of my bankroll.

So there you have it.

Good luck and don't suck,


*I didn't include rake in these calculations. But you knew that right?
**When moving up, I still adhere to the 5 percent rule.

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