Minimum stacking in no limit hold’em poker

There are two types of poker player who play cash game poker for a living and these are full stack professionals and short stack professionals. The players who perform with a full stack do so because their stack gives them greater leverage. It is not just about having enough in your stack to be able to win the maximum although that is a vital reason. If you are going to win a big pot then you would rather do it with 100BB than 90BB providing your opponent has at least the same number. But many online cash games do not offer great implied odds for deep stack players and this was mainly as a result of the 2006 UIGEA and increased and better coaching.

Less implied odds

When you have a couple of minimum stack players on your table coupled with several deep stacked players who are regulars then the implied odds in those areas are not very high. Then you may have several other players who are weak but who have less than maximum stacks. These players may be +EV for you but the implied odds that they offer are not good also. The players who offer you the greatest implied odds are fish who have a big stack. However playing a minimum stack is another solid and viable way to play poker as a serious second income or as a living.

The methodology is far simpler and far less complex. You are essentially trying to do the same as a deep stack player if you look at this in terms of principles. A deep stack player makes their money from two key sources. These are busting players with weaker hands than themselves (implied odds) and making money by fold equity. It is often assumed that short stack players make the bulk of their money from getting all in as soon as possible with good starting hands and getting called by hands that they dominate.

Fold equity is key

This is only how a good short stack player partially makes their money but in no way is it their primary source of income. Getting all in with a huge edge in equity like with A-K versus A-Q is a great bonus for these players but they cannot rely on this for two key reasons. This is because the games are far tighter post UIGEA and also because more players are familiar with short stack strategies these days and how to combat them. This means that the older conventional method doesn’t work as well. So this now means that a good short stack player also makes their money or the bulk of it from fold equity.

This also means that the best poker games for them to sit in are often games where their opponents are either aggressive regs or players with deep stacks full stop. You will make less ptbb/100 as a short stacker but because your moves are simple then this can be compensated for by being able to play more tables. So a deep stacked player who was making say 10ptbb/100 and playing six tables at 75 hands per hour would be making 45ptbb/hour. Contrast that to a minimum stack player who only made 4ptbb/100 but could play ten tables…..the earn rates wouldn’t be too dissimilar.