Having a short stack in a poker game can be strategy if you know what you’re doing and why. A short stack does limit your game somewhat but it can also be a great advantage in many situations. You don’t have to buy in for the total amount to be a good player all though this is usually the norm. It can actually be a great idea for a good poker player to think through his stack size and see if playing it short could give him a new and fresh angle.

Short Stack equals Weak Player

There is a general consensus that a short stack equals a weak player which is very far from the truth. For sure, if most of the players around the tables are beginners that just sailed into the poker room from the next door casino chances are that the short stacks show that they have no idea what they are doing. Being a regular in a poker room you will learn to recognize these players and understand when a short stack means a fish and when you should keep your eye open for a professional behind the cards.

Surprise your Opponents

If you are that pro yourself or at least good enough to have a strategy for your poker play a short stack could be a great way to ambush the table. If you see that the crowd is mostly people you haven’t played against before they most likely will not recognize you at the level you are. In this case you can use your short stack as a way to fool them that you are a loose player and surprise them with some aggressive play when they expect you to be completely out of the game.

Waiting for a Good Hand

It cannot be denied that a short stack calls for tight play. You will have to have a good hand to get through as you most likely will be called a lot. This is not the best situation for bluffs. With a small stack people won’t be afraid to call you but the good side of it is that they most likely won’t be doing much of bluffing either. You should try to play medium and big pairs and big cards if you want to do well with a short stack.

Play it Loose

Contrary to what many think and what is often suggested for short stack play it could be very wise to play it loose. If you are a beginner it is probably the best to keep it tight but as soon as you feel that you can read the situation well enough to know when to play loose then this could be the best winning strategy. Remember that loose play can also work as a surprising approach in a shorthanded and short stacked game.

Rake Rate

You should try to play in a poker room where the rake is taken by the hour or at a set amount. If the rake is a percentage of the pot this could end up being more than what is profitable for you. Keep a close eye on this so that you can judge when the game isn’t worth your while and when it is.