Poker Tournaments: Big Stack Strategy

SHARE

Poker Tournaments: Big Stack Strategy

Sitting down at the table with a big stack can give poker players a towering advantage over their opponents. The sheer size of a big stack can intimidate opponents into giving up their blinds or folding on raises, as they're afraid of losing their money and going out early.

But a big stack can also work against players if they do not know how to play with it correctly. It's all too easy to become a target for cunning opponents who are skilled in stealing from reckless players who have a lot of money on the table. Avoid becoming a target and play effectively with this big stack strategy guide.

Big Stack Explained

There is no clear value to determine a big stack, as this can vary between tables and tournaments. Instead, a big stack can easily be considered the player with the most chips at the table. That being said, other players with large piles of chips can also be considered as having big stacks. In tournaments, there will be lots of players with big stacks because there are many more tables.

Consider Your Position

The first piece of advice is to always consider your position in the betting. Being the first player to bet or fold is completely different from getting to see how everyone else reacts. For instance, players in the early positions need strong hands to justify bold raises, as a weak hand will only leave the chips vulnerable to players with stronger hands.

In later positions, it is possible to take advantage of players who have folded their cards early or checked. This is an ideal time to read their actions and look for a moment of weakness, so raise or steal the blinds if they are there for the taking. A big stack will make it intimidating for opponents to call if they have weak cards.

Sound Bankroll Management

A bankroll must always be treated with respect. In no way should the funds be used to take wild risks on unmanageable losses. Therefore, it is vital to find a balance that allows for winning while not being harshly punished for losses.

The optimal strategy for sound bankroll management is to only join a table if 100 big blinds can be covered – those 100 big blinds should equal a single buy-in. At this stage, the aim is to build up 25 buy-ins before climbing to the next pot level. Meanwhile, players should take a step down if they only have 25 buy-ins for the level below.

Playing Tight and Aggressive

Big stack players can be disciplined in their decision-making by only playing with strong cards. The logic behind this strategy is that paying to see most of the hands will rapidly deplete a bankroll. Giving up weak hands will preserve a big stack, which is the aim here.

Reactionary players who continually check and call are clear targets for their opponents. Alternatively, being aggressive will enable players to keep opponents off balance and force them into making more mistakes. A lack of aggression is what makes inexperienced opponents so easy to read.

Pick Your Battles Wisely

Intimidation is the key advantage to playing with a big stack. Therefore, it is vital to maximise this advantage by avoiding other big stacks unless holding an excellent hand. A single bad outcome against another big stack could mean life back in the minor leagues.

The wiser strategy is to look for opportunities to steal chips from smaller stacks. Beat enough of these players and a big stack will be even larger, helping to assert an even stronger advantage over the remaining opponents. By this point, the next closest player might not feel so confident in their own stack as before.

Don't Be Greedy

Having an enormous pile of chips and a table of weaker players can give the big stack a false sense of confidence that can be turned against them. Thus, big stack players need to be wary if another big stack joins their table during a tournament. They will not be as willing to give up round after round of blinds and could coax the greedier big stack into losing with an all-in bet.

Avoid Big Bluffs

In tournaments, big stacks do not have to make big bluffs where they risk large bets with extremely weak cards. The big stack is enough of an advantage to intimidate other players into making mistakes. One bad bluff can cost even a big stack’s tournament status.

Be sure to visit 888 Poker today to try out your big stack strategy!

Recommended Poker Sites

Poker Strategy Articles


Top 10 Online Poker Variants
Top 10 Online Poker Variants

Poker has a vast number of variants, from large table games to battles between man and machine. Each one offers something different to pioneering players ready to explore the rich range of options, so ... Read More

Understanding Texas Hold'em Poker Starting Hand Odds: Effective Pre-Flop Play
Understanding Texas Hold'em Poker Starting Hand Odds: Effective Pre-Flop Play

In Texas Hold’em you’re required to place a bet before the starting flop, so it’s always worth considering how strong any two starting cards are again ... Read More

Switching from Hold'em to Stud: Basic Strategy Considerations
Switching from Hold'em to Stud: Basic Strategy Considerations

Stud is a classic form of poker, requiring plenty of observation, patience and strategy. With the game more focussed on individual hands than communit ... Read More

7 Best Online Poker Variants
7 Best Online Poker Variants

Poker has recently made its way from a high-roller pastime to a worldwide spectator "sport", with the World Series of Poker and various other televised events introducing a whole new generation to the ... Read More

Poker Tournaments: Winning Long-Term in the Tournament Circuit
Poker Tournaments: Winning Long-Term in the Tournament Circuit

In most tournaments even though the structure varies greatly you should keep in mind that the pay-out bubble is usually the same, approximately close ... Read More

Poker Tournaments: Re-Buy Tournaments Strategy
Poker Tournaments: Re-Buy Tournaments Strategy

Before entering any type of tournament it is very important to first understand the structure of the tournament. ... Read More

Poker Navigation

Newsletter

Sign up for the free Gambling.com Newsletter to stay on top of all the best bonuses!
We will never share or misuse your personal information. Privacy Policy

Latest Poker Strategy

Poker Guides

Country Guide