Short-Stacking Some $100NL Zone

Playing with a 50bb stack, on purpose.

A blog reader contacted me recently to discuss his short-stacking strategies when multi-tabling PokerStars Zoom tables. He specializes in this format and is a long-term winning player. His methods begin with buying in for a non-standard short-stacking amount of 50bb. (Traditional short-stackers play with much smaller 25-35bb stacks.) When he drops to around 35bb, he rebuys back to 50bb. When he gets over 75-80bb, he cashes out and starts the process over.

We exchanged half-dozen emails on the subject, and in the end, I decided to try my own experiment with his tactics:

It was an interesting session, but ultimately the problem with short-stacking for me is it feels like it takes away too much of the “fun” of poker. Yes, it can be profitable, but one of the things I really like about poker is post-flop play (which I’m good at). When you only have 50bb to start with there’s very little maneuvering room after the flop. Further, you’re often not getting the right implied odds to see flops with many interesting/speculative hands, like small-medium suited connectors….

…still, this was an entertaining session, and I intend to repeat it again a couple of times, both as a continued exercise in playing a different strategy, as well as getting a bit more seat time with this style so I can discuss this further with the reader. As I mention in the video, occasionally doing things like this (or even playing in different forms of poker, like PLO) can have a good effect on your NLHE game. Getting outside your comfort zone, trying new things, experimenting… all of these are generally good for your game in the long run. The short run has a mind of its own, however, so do these kinds of things with a disposable fraction of your bankroll.

As I mention in the video, occasionally doing exercises like this and/or playing in different forms of poker, like PLO, can have a beneficial effect on your NLHE game. Getting outside your comfort zone, trying new things, experimenting, thinking through different poker situations… all of these are generally very good for your game in the long run. The short run has a mind of its own, however, so do these kinds of exercises only with the part of your bankroll you don’t mind losing.


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One thought on “Short-Stacking Some $100NL Zone

  1. On ignitition, I’ve started playing 6-person sit-n-goes that are hyper turbo. 500 chips, 3 minute levels, and strap in. This is so far different than my usual nitty style, but it is fun, and I’ve actually become fairly good at them (small stakes, of course).