Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shortstack Fail

I believe that while a strong shortstacker can achieve consistent winrates playing a tight, mostly formulaic style, a skilled deeper-stacked player can make even more money.

There's no doubt that shortstacks can win in no limit cash games. As long as they accurately evaluate how their ranges fare against their opponents' range for calling 3bets and folding to 3bets, they'll profit. This evaluation is pretty easy to do using programs like PokerStove.

The most profitable situations for shortstackers come when they can collect pots from players who make an initial raise but can't call a 20 BB shove. They also make money if they can target a player who calls or folds to their preflop shoves too frequently.

These situations create advantages for the shortstacker that a deeper-stacked player doesn't have. In heads-up situations, however, a deeper-stacked player can adjust his raising and calling range to mostly negate the shorty's stack advantage.

The problem for shortstackers is that they must play a tighter range than their deeper-stacked opponents. If a shorty plays too loose, he'll bleed equity that's essential to his profitability.

The deeper-stacked player gains from many situations that the shorty misses out on. Deep stacks can play a much wider range of hands, creating more stealing opportunities. They get more play postflop, which provides more chances to get larger amounts of money in with a bigger equity advantage. In essence, deeper stacks are in a better position to take advantage of other, less-skilled deep-stacked players.

In a world of shortstacks, the deep-stacked player loses because he's forced to play their game. But in tables with several deep stacks, you want to maximize your earnings when you have an edge against the other deep stacks.

I'm biased against shortstacks because they prevent me from playing the style of poker I want to play. I'll concede that their brand of poker is valid, but it's far from ideal.

Plus, it must suck to sit around and play a tight, push-or-fold strategy all day.

1 comment:

Bayne_S said...

I have to admit.

I laughed