short stacking poker strategies

Are short stacking poker strategies viable?

This is an article that I am sure many regulars on here would rather me not write but unfortunately short stacking is here to stay whether we like it or not. The fact of the matter is that these strategies are indeed viable and depending on your own individual circumstances and skill level........optimal. How much money you have on the table should really represent two things, these are how much money your opponents have on the table as well as your own skill level and that of your opponents.

Big is not always best

However for anyone to say that a player should automatically buy in for the maximum if given the chance to do so is clearly incorrect thinking and also shows a lack of understanding regarding no limit hold'em. If you are -EV to the table then buying in for the maximum can do you no good whatsoever in terms of short term EV. There is only one reason to buy in for the maximum if you suspect that you are not +EV and that is for educational purposes. Of course we could find other reasons as well like buying in with the hope that other players will enter the game in the near future or for recreational reasons.

But if you cannot play a deep stack well and most of your opponents are at least adequate then you have a serious problem. If you are a very skilled or even an adequate deep stacked player then you should really be trying to play in such a way as to maximise your earning potential and the best way to do that is by buying in for the maximum. But even that can be double edged because even good deep stacked players can be swimming upstream if there are too many short stack players on their table.

Can poker systems stand the test of time?

The fact of the matter is though that most players who attempt to short stack do not do it well enough to make any kind of meaningful money and expect too much from their strong hands. Also many opponents are aware now of what short stackers are trying to achieve and try to play around their strategy. Drifting across into game theory here and off the shelf type systems rarely stand the test of time and while short stack players have been doing well for a while now, it is difficult for me to see any long term viability for this way of playing and especially beyond certain levels where the overall level of sophistication is much greater.

So in my opinion then if you are a successful short stacker then be warned because I believe that you will need to learn deep stack play and learn it well or risk going out of business in the near future. But skilled short stack players thrive not on getting all in with better hands than their opponents but by exploiting fold equity. But this is essentially how skilled deep stacked players operate to a large extent as well.