As you may have noticed or most likely lived through if you play poker is that no matter what you do, you will have a short stack at one point or another in your career. Maybe because you have lost a big hand, or you just can not catch a decent hand. Anyways, an important tool in any professional's arsenal is knowing how to play a short stack.
Most players will tell you that when you get a short stack, well then it is almost time to throw in the towel. However on the contrary to popular belief this is the time to play your best. Even though you are below average at this point you do have options!
A prime example of this is professional player Jack Strauss who came to win the WSOP Main Event after being down to just one single chip. This is where many believe the poker motto "Just a chip and a chair" came from. So like Jack, instead of giving up there are a few tips that you can use to take your game to the next level even when your 11.5 gram poker chips have seemed to disappear.
Most importantly when you have a short stack is to wait for a decent hand. This is simply not the time to be chasing suited connectors. You are looking for hands that are likely premium before the flop and remain strong after the flop as well.
The next thing is to go All In! One of the most powerful options you can use while you have little to no poker chips is to bet them all. This lets everyone at the table know you are serious about your hand. Now if everyone folds, great since this should be your main goal. However is someone does call, this is where your decent hand should be strong enough to withstand a shaky board.
Another important fact is to be the first person to act at the pot. It is a lot scarier if you go all in first, than if someone raises and then you go all in. In fact this also increases their chances of calling since they might believe you are just making a move.
Most of all you want to avoid the big stacks at the poker table. Are On the playersA these are On That more Likely to call Because your small amount of clay poker chips by just will not do much damage to hwy mountain of chips. Instead you want to target other short stacks, and average sized stacks. Other short stacks are looking to find a good hand as well before they push so if they did not find one, which chances are they will not they will instantly fold their cards. Average sized stacks as well have to be careful with their chips. The will think twice before calling your all in call, simply because they do not want to be a short stack themselves.
To measure your risk, try to adjust your strategy to your chip stack. If you are just below average there is no reason to drastically change your style. On the other hand, if you only have two big blinds left, it is time to widen up your "premium hands" range. The last thing in a tournament that you want to do is blind and ante yourself to death. When you become really low, just about any face card will do the trick.
So the next time you are on a short stack remember these tips. As well think about Jack Strauss, and who knows maybe you make a comeback.