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Texas Holdem and stack sizes

You cannot play the same way in no-limit Texas Holdem poker all the time. Much of what you do is based on your own stack size and also the stack sizes of your opponents. Let us have a look at why stack size is so important with the following example. You have the Ad-10d on the button and it has been folded around to the cut-off who open raises, what is your play?

Well firstly I have not given you nearly as much information as I could have as I have not mentioned your stack size or that of your opponent. When you play no-limit Texas holdem then you are going to be faced with decisions that greatly alter based on how big the respective stack sizes are. Let us take a close look at this situation with the Ad-10d a little more closely. If your opponent is playing a minimum stack and the game is say NL100 and they only have $17 in their stack then you have something of a problem.

Here if they make a standard raise to $3.50 and you call then this will make the pot at least $8.50 with them only having $13.50 left in their stack. If your opponent is looking to stack off then you will be forced to hit the flop and you may not even have the best hand even then. Many players who use a short stack strategy in no-limit Texas Holdem poker will only move on quite tight ranges. So a hand like A-10s is not really comparable against that range and so there really isn’t any action that you do that would be a viable play.

If you call or re-raise then you are likely doing so against a better hand and your opponent is trying to turn Texas Holdem into a two street game by either looking to get all in either pre-flop or on the flop. If your opponent has a pocket pair or a big ace then you are losing in the hand. Even though the pot will not be a large one then you really do not want to be giving your opponent action in this situation because this is exactly what he is looking for.

But contrast this to if your opponent had a $200 stack and so did you and so the effective stacks were 200 big blinds. This is where no-limit Texas Hold’em suddenly takes on a whole new dimension as the pre-flop raise is still only to $3.50 but in this instance then that figure represents less than 2% of the effective stacks. So here then a call or even a re-raise can both be considered when the stacks are this deep. You can use what is called “leverage” to win the hand and that basically means using the fact that both you and your opponent are deep stacked to install a little fear into your opponent. In this instance then your opponent is far more likely to have a weak hand with 200 big blinds then in the previous example where your opponent only had 17 big blinds.

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