PokerStars have a new option for displaying stack-sizes that could change the way you view poker.
There is now an option to remove the monetary display, replacing real money stack size in cash games and total chips in tournaments with the number of big blinds remaining in each player’s stack. Today we explore how to configure this option and why you might want to utilise it to enhance the way you approach the game.
Switching from chip display to big blind display could not be easier. Simply click on your stack to change the mode of display back and forth between the two settings.
In the long-term, it will be important to decide which option you like best as alternating between the two is likely to cause confusion and lead to the odd bet-sizing mistake. Consistency is key to removing these sorts of unforced errors.
Now, here are some of the advantages to adopting the new setting.
One essential skill for a tournament player is knowing how many big blinds you have. This information is essential for planning your shoving ranges, open-raise sizing, 3-Bet sizing, and much more.
As the blinds are always changing, having the big blind display setting enabled cuts out what is an unnecessary step – the computation of chips into big blinds. It is not that this calculation is particularly difficult, but it can slow down a thought process and gradually eat up mental energy that can be used for more skilled thought process later in the hand.
Enabling the big blind display is a common-sense move to simplify tournament situations so that you can focus on what really matters – outplaying your opponents and taking down that big score.
Being human is a certain disadvantage when it comes to the emotional impact of playing for real money.
When you are staring at a monetary value, your mind often cannot help but to picture what that money means in real life. $10 is a pizza, $50 is a night at the pub, and $100 is a weekly grocery shop. While it’s not practical to picture yourself betting boxes of cereal and dog food tins, the mind cannot help but understand what the real money of cash games means.
Therefore, we often experience positive emotions during upswings and negative ones during downswings. While it is almost impossible for a human to completely remove this tendency, it can be controlled by getting rid of the real money stimulus.
Some poker players develop bad habits like checking their bankroll every time they play a big pot and this can be very destructive in the long-term as it teaches a sort of emotional dependence on uncontrollable short-term results. The big blind display setting helps us see poker as a game played for chips in the short-term and money in the long-term.
By enabling this setting, we remove the illusion that the short-term swings represent real money. Through this change, we start to see poker as what it really is – a game of long-term skill and short-term luck.
It is both lazy and unprofitable to rely on the same bet-sizing in all situations.
Poker is a dynamic game where different conditions call for different actions. That said, there are many common situations which occur again and again with little discrepancy.
Being familiar with the best bet-sizing in these spots adds an element of comfort to your game. Having a routine size for when there are no mitigating circumstances removes one more thing from the list of mental processing, freeing up space for a better thought process.
The big blind stack display setting allows you to effortlessly apply the best bet-size without having to constantly adjust for the ever-changing big blind in tournament play. Cash game players will also appreciate the continuity of this the big blind display when they move up or down in stakes.
Let’s face it, no one loves having to compute bet-sizing at $16NL Zoom where the blinds are far from round numbers!
Early opponent classification is an important cash game skill, particularly in ZOOM where you are unlikely to amass much experience with any one opponent since you are playing with so many different players.
Less serious players are likely to play differently to regulars and exhibit more erratic behaviours. It is good to know who these people are in advance and tag them as such.
One reliable way of spotting a more recreational player is from them not having a full stack. Most regulars tend to auto-reload their stack to 100BB and so someone sitting with 94BB is very often going to be a less studious opponent who may be unaware of many of the standard norms between regulars.
At a 25NL cash game, it is very easy to not notice a stack that reads $23.67 as you scan over the table. However, someone sitting with 98BB instead of 100BB is far easier to spot at a glance. This is yet another reason for considering the alternative stack display – you can scan the table much faster to get an idea of stack sizes. The human mind does a much better job of understanding a scale of 0-100 than it does 0-25 or 0-200.
If you’re unsure whether to switch to big blind stack display, why not try it out by simply clicking on your stack. You can always switch back again if it’s not to your liking.