Thursday, May 1, 2008

Confessions of a Short Stacker, Part 1 - Online Play

Persistence is the twin sister of excellence. One is a matter of quality; the other, a matter of time. - Marabel Morgan

The best thing about online poker is the ability to play multiple tables at once.
Multi-tabling is only possible online, you can’t do it at a casino or a homegame.
I like to play between 4-6 tables at once and I always buy in short for several reasons.

A) I get more action. I probably appear to be a fish for buying short so my opponents may be hoping to play pots with me.

B) Because my stack is short, I am less threatening to potential opponents since I can’t stack them, i.e. they have me covered.

C) I am risking the minimum (20BB) and this reduces my variance. My variance is much greater online than live, so I like to do all I can to minimize my variance.

D) Short stacking makes my calculations and decisions very straightforward.

E) Prospective opponents probably think they can push me around and make me fold even when they do not have the best hand.

By buying in short, I am actively seeking opportunities to get all my chips into the pot with an opponent. That’s the whole idea.
I bet/raise pre-flop and I am usually either pushing or folding on the flop (sometimes the turn). If I push a few times without being called, it won’t be long before some opponent decides he is going to “look me up”. That opponent rarely wants to look me up a second time. Before long, my stack is near a full buy in and it is time to start over at a new table. If I buy in full at 6 tables, I have more of my online roll in play than I want to at any given point. I have tried buying in full at 6 lower stakes tables but the simple fact is I do not get nearly as much action and it takes me way more time and way more hands played to achieve the same profit. The approximate ratio of success (on average) is 4 out of 6, meaning I double up (or better) at 4 tables and lose my stack at 2 tables. Incidentally, some people think this type of strategy is not “kosher” but it is 100% within the rules and recommended by Ed Miller. Most importantly, this strategy seems to work for me. However, I am always looking for ways to improve my game so comments are welcomed.


Shrike said...

Short-stacking is a straightforward strategy which can be +EV and very profitable in grinding up a BR.

However, in my opinion it's equally fair to make the following observations about short-stack play:

1) It's boring

2) You are unable to leverage your skill advantage against players worse than you for large profits because of your small stack size in relation to theirs

3) It's boring

4) You can easily get stuck drawing nearly dead if you're priced in to put your stack in preflop

5) It's boring

Fuel55 said...

Ratholers suck

$mokkee said...

when i see a short-stacker at my table, i actually hate when they get involved in pots with me. i can easily be priced in to call their shove in a mult-way pot. it's an annoyance. i usually try to avoid tables with more than two shorties.

i can definitely see how you can make this work. but, i'd rather flop a monster with a full stack then a short one.