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Don’t Panic as a Shortstacker

July 31, 2023
by Lex Veldhuis

PokerStars Team Pro Lex Veldhuis provides key insights on navigating deep stack poker tournaments. With large big blind stacks, deep stack poker requires patience and precision to avoid costly mistakes. This video highlights some methods to use.

Introduction – Mindset and Game Plan

Lex introduces playing short stacked poker, what exactly it means and how it can be important. Having limited chips increases hand variance, so avoid big mistakes. Being patient and focusing on fundamentals is key here. As Lex highlights, you need to play short stacked poker differently.

Even with as little as 15-20 big blinds, the tournament is not over, so focus on playing your strongest hands and always consider your opponent’s stack sizes when shoving.

Early Play – Tightening Up Ranges

With 25 big blinds, tighten up preflop ranges and only raise with pocket pairs of 5 and above. As stacks get deeper, you can start raising smaller pairs, starting of the betting strongly.

Always consider opponent’s stacks when deciding to shove, though. Don’t spew chips getting stacked off too light and be wary of players baiting all-ins when short stacked themselves. Being cautious is critical.

Post-Flop Play – Value Betting Aggressively

On good flops, bet aggressively for value with strong hands, but don’t overplay, especially if you have something like top pair, weak kicker with only 15 big blinds. Make opponents pay to see later streets and don’t start too aggressively.

When facing bets, be willing to stack off with vulnerable top pairs. You can’t get away from many hands short stacked so strengthen your check-calling range with strong hands.

Isolating Limpers – Easy Way to Build Stacks

Isolating limpers is very profitable when short stacked as many players limp weak speculative hands. Shoving reasonably strong hands against limper ranges should increase your chip stack.

You can often pick up the blinds and limper’s call uncontested. But know when to lay down vulnerable hands if facing all in baiting situations. Isolating limpers builds stacks quickly.

Final Thoughts – Patience and Fundamentals

Lex emphasizes having patience and sticking to fundamentals when short stacked. Avoid throwing away chips and control variance. Take advantage of scare cards to bet for value and isolate limpers when appropriate to build your stack back up. Changing to this approach will help improve your short stack poker game.

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