Poker Articles

How big is your opponents chip stack?


Obviously, this can be an extremely important factor directly related to the time a person will play. You can consider a persons stack in relation to table stakes and/or a rack of chips. For example, a medium stack could be considered a rack of table stake or small blind chips 500 count,a large stack is 1000 chips or more, a small stack is 250, and a short stack is 100 or less count. Let us look at each type:

POKER STRATEGY – The poker player with mounds and mounds of chips is most likely having some good luck. They won’t leave until there is a sign that the luck is changing. They are probably at or above their financial goal for the evening. However, no one wants to leave when they are on a good run. Therefore, this person will usually wait to leave until they lose a close hand or lose the small stack that was off to the side of the large mound of chips.

poker chip stack

POKER STRATEGY – The poker player with the medium stack of chips may have just bought in or have been playing tight and not catching cards. They will probably play until some determining factor of winning or losing comes their way. If they double up, they will probably leave, if they lose half their stack, they may walk as well. It is rare to see this person re buy chips unless they are very aggressive players and you should be able to tell that quickly.

POKER STRATEGY – The poker player with the small stack is the most unknown. They could have caught a bad run or bought in for a small stack to start with. They could be a very good player and confidant that all they will ever need is a small stack to bring in big results. Usually when I see a person buy in for just over 200 chips, I try to look hard at other factors to determine what type of player they are and how long they will stay at the game. Most often, the player buying in for a medium stack of chips will only re-buy about 50% of the time. Anyway, if you didn’t see them buy in, it never hurts to ask them how their luck has been or how long they have been playing. This will help you determine what kind of player they are and how much longer they will play.

POKER STRATEGY – The dreaded short stack poker player. You can’t win too much from this guy, unless of course you already won it and put them in that situation, because they will most likely leave if they lose. Sometimes the newcomer to the game will buy in for a short stack, try their luck, and re-buy another short stack one or two more times more before they leave.

If they are with friends who are standing by them, they will leave for sure. An experience player who buys in for a short stack will probably re-buy for a larger amount one time. They figure maybe they don’t need many chips today or they like their chances playing the short stack. But, if they lose, they will figure they didn’t give themselves enough chips to start and therefore buy in again. Anyone else playing the short stack, if you didn’t see them buy in, is probably having a bad run and is getting ready to go all in. Since you didn’t see them buy in, it is difficult to tell if they will stay and buy in for more. Again, a simple comment like, “Looks like your do for some luck” can get you a response like, “I only bought in for 100” or “Man, I hear you it has been terrible”. The player who bought in for 100 will continue to play tight and re-buy whereas the player who admits terrible luck will probably pack up and leave.