Home » Why It’s Worth Considering a Different Stack Size in Poker

Why It’s Worth Considering a Different Stack Size in Poker

Home » Why It’s Worth Considering a Different Stack Size in Poker

Why It’s Worth Considering a Different Stack Size in Poker

a woman pushing stacks of multi-colored poker chips forward on a green felt poker table

Stack size is one of the most important factors in no-limit Texas Hold’em poker. Your poker stack size refers to the number of chips you have in front of you. Your stack size can be affected by a number of factors, including the blinds, the number of players at the table and your own playing style.

At any point during the game, there is the possibility that all of your chips can be put on the line. It is important that you are not only aware of your own stack size but the size of your opponents’ stacks as well.

A Guide To Stack Sizes

Stack size in poker is relative to the blinds of the game. A $2,000 stack may be small if the blinds are $100/$200. Most online poker and live poker rooms have minimum and maximum buy-in limits, typically ranging from 10 to 100 big blinds. A stack of 200 big blinds or more is considered a “deep stack.”

This is common in cash games if a player has bought in for the maximum amount (usually 100BBs) and has either doubled up through an all-in confrontation against another player of equal stack size or has managed to work their way up. 

How Stack Size Affects Your Play

close up of a man holding a royal flush of hearts above a green felt poker table with money and stacks of poker chips on it

The size of your stack affects the way that you actually play your cards. If you have a short stack, then it will be difficult or impossible to make elaborate bluffs or plays because of the simple fact that you don’t have enough chips to scare opponents away from their hands.

On the other hand, if you have a large number of chips in front of you, then it is possible to make more advanced plays. You have more chips to work with to manipulate your opponent into thinking that you have a better hand than them. It is more advantageous to play simple ABC poker with short stacks; betting your strong hands and folding your weak hands.

Say you are playing stack chips poker in a $1/$2 no-limit Hold’em game with 100 big blinds. You are dealt pocket aces in the first hand. If you have a short stack, you will be more likely to all-in preflop. If you have a deep stack, you can afford to play more conservatively and wait for a better opportunity to make a move.

Why Is It Important To Relate Your Stack Size to the Blinds?

The blinds are also an important factor to consider when you are thinking about stack size. The blinds are the forced bets that all players must make before the flop. They are called “blinds” because the players who post them are typically sitting to the left of the dealer and are required to do so without seeing their own cards.

The size of the blinds affects the amount of money that is in the pot, which in turn affects the amount of risk you may choose to take.

If you have a short stack and the blinds are $1/$2, you will be more likely to fold than raise if the blinds were $0.50/$1. This is because you have less money to risk, so you can’t afford to call raises with marginal hands.

Strategies for Choosing Stack Sizes

poker chips stacked up on a green felt poker table, a lady wearing a ring is holding up four ace playing cards in the background

There are a number of strategies you can use to help you choose effective stack sizes and win more poker hands. Whether you’re at a live table or on a poker site, it’s worth considering the following points. 

Your Bankroll

Determine an appropriate stack size based on your bankroll and the game’s buy-in. It’s essential to have enough chips to withstand swings and play comfortably within your bankroll limits.

Your Playing Style

If you are a more aggressive player, you will want to have a larger stack size so that you can play more hands. If you are a more passive player, you can get away with having a smaller stack size.

The Blinds

The size of the blinds will determine the amount of risk you can take. If the blinds are large, you will need to have a larger stack size in order to play aggressively.

The Number of Players at the Table

The number of players at the table will also affect the level of risk worth taking. If there are more players at the table, you will need to have a larger stack size if you want to play aggressively.

Also, it’s worth assessing the skill levels and tendencies of your opponents. If they are weaker players who make mistakes postflop, consider opting for a deeper stack to exploit their errors. 

Try Out Your Stack Sizes at BetMGM

Poker strategies have shifted towards shallower stacks and higher variance games to attract recreational players to live tables. Learning to play different stack sizes is important as the game has evolved and regulars have become more skilled. Adapting to these changes is recommended if you want to stay competitive and find where the fish are playing.

To try your hand at getting your stack sizes right, register at BetMGM for a full range of online poker variants, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Five-Card Stud and Seven-Card Stud. If you’re keen to branch out into other types of gaming, there’s also a vast selection of online slots and live dealer games to choose from.

Stack size affects the way you play poker, the hands you can play & risks you can take. This guide explains the dynamics behind changing stack sizes.