Short Stack vs Big Stack Play in Tournaments
When you want to play an effective short stack in a poker tournament or if you want to use your mass accumulation of chips to play an effective big stack in poker tournaments, there is one thing that both situations have in common. The idea is to always put pressure on your opponents and to do that you have to play an aggressive style. When you are short on chips the best way to be effective is to shove your stack in when the time seems right to do so.
This is the time of a tournament when the blinds are big and you have less than 15 big blinds in your stack. If you are short stacked in a poker tournament all hope is not lost because chances are that if you win a hand or two you could be right back in the fight to win the tournament. The opposite of that is if you have a massive amount of chips in front of you. If you are chip leader in a poker tournament, ideally you want to knock out the short stacks and avoid big confrontations with other players who have big chip stacks. If you look to minimize damage and play hands against weaker stacks you could put yourself in great shape to win the poker tournament.
Short Stack Play
When you have a short stack in a poker tournament you shouldn’t give up. You should battle and get hungry to get that big stack. You should also look for good shove spots with your short stack. If you pick up the blinds once per orbit then you are putting yourself in good shape to maintain your stack and not get dwindled away. Good shove spots occur often times from late position or if the table folds around to you, and you are in the cutoff position, the button, or the small blind. In the cutoff you shouldn’t shove too wide of a range of hands because you have to force three hands to fold.
From the button your range should be wider than from the cutoff position, and almost every ace high, or hands like K10, QJ suited are all reasonable to shove all-in with. From the small blind it is almost correct to shove every hand because you have to force your opponent to wake up with a hand and call you. You also have to take into account the types of players that are located in the blinds. If there are chip leaders located in the blinds, you should not be shoving as wide a range of hands simply because if they can afford to call you then they probably will call you.
If there are short stacks in the blinds you should put maximum pressure on them by shoving in. The main goal of a short stack is to apply the most pressure on your opponent as possible. If you do that then you are accomplishing your goal as a short stack.
Big Stack Play
As a big stack in a poker tournament there are a handful of things to keep in the back of your mind, like making the final table, or possibly winning the tournament. As tournaments are a long grind, you should never try to win every pot unless the table dictates that action. What you should look to do with some level of consistency is to play back at weak players, or also play back at players who may have a wider range of starting hands. The reason to do both of these things is because you force a fold before the flop a lot of the time.
The only time they will play back at you is when they have a monster hand, and this should be obvious. By forcing a fold you are then collecting a decent amount of chips without risking much of your own. This is a good way to make sure you remain a big stack in a poker tournament and avoid risking a ton of chips. Also, as a big stack in a poker tournament you want to be feared by other players. By using a 3 bet before the flop, a lot of the time you will accomplish this goal. You will narrow down the range of hands that your opponent will open a pot with and you can pin point their hands much easier. In the end to remain consistent is a big part of having the big stack. Some players will just sit on their chips and slowly move up the money ladder, but this isn’t the best way to approach big stack play.
To win poker tournaments you need confidence in your reads and well-timed aggression. To have both means you should win the tournament. When you pick on certain players at the table also this will help you maintain a big stack. Eventually when you pick on a player enough they will start to just jam all-in regardless of the action because they are fed up with your play and have had enough. Hopefully you can wake up with a big hand and collect a ton of chips at that point in time.