|Here is an old post I made on buying in for the full amount during ring games. I do short buy on occasion-nothing less than 100 BBs and this is only if I dont have the BR to buy in full. Keep in mind this is for micro stakes (.01/.02 - .05/.10).
When you sit down to play a cash game be sure to buy in for the max amount. I play in micro-limit cash games on Full Tilt Poker, usually the .05/.10 blinds. The max buy in is $10 and the minimum is $4 and I'll often see players buying in for the minimum. Right off the bat this tells me a few things about the player.
-Its possible they have a small bankroll and dont want to risk too much money.
-I can assume they'll play tight poker, so I can probably steal a lot of pots from that player by playing aggressive.
The only real pro of buying in for the minimum is you minimize your loss (if you lose your entire buy in). Im not saying you can win money with a minimum buy in. If you play solid, smart poker, despite all the bad beats and suckouts and everything, you will make money in the end. However, you can play the same smart poker with the max buy in and still make money in the long run. The difference is when you max buy in, you are maximizing your profits.
Its Minimum Loss vs. Maximum Profit. For me, I can take the bad beats, but when I get a big hand, I want to make sure that I paid off for it and I really cant if I only buy in for the minimum.
Take this for example:
You sit down at a 10 handed table and buy in the minimum for $4 and everyone else has $10. You're the big blind and you are dealt 3d 7d. Amazingly, everyone limps in and you check.
The flop is 4d 5d 6d.
You flopped a straight flush, you and the small blind check. Then magic happens, a player bets and another player raises and another re-raises and then someone goes all in and then you call and soon everyone is all in. You see the hands-flushes, flush draws, sets, straights, straight draws, and you have the best hand in the end. the second best hand is quad 4s.
You jump for joy in the privacy of your room because you just got paid on your monster hand, right? Yes and no. Yes, technically, you did. No, because you only bought in for the minimum, so you only recieved $4 from the other players for a total profit of $36
What about the player with the quad 4s? He won the side of the remain $6 of all the other players, except yours for a total profit of $50. So, even though you had the best hand, he made more money. Of course this would never happen...well, i shouldn't say never. Its highly unlikely it will ever happen, but imagine if you were playing in a game that was a $100 max buy in and a $50 minimum buy in and the same thing happend.
An interesting thing is, you are probably more likely to lose more money by buying in for the minimum then you are for the maximum. The reason being is because $4 doesnt seem like that much in certain situations.
Say you have a $50 bank roll and you buy in for the minimum of $4. You lost to a rediculous suck and you are tilting. You cant believe some donk called your raise with a 2/9 against your KK and beat you on the river. You are steaming mad and you buy in again for $4 and a few hands later the same donk sucks out on you again. Now you are really pissed and you buy in again for $4 and this time you lose it to a different player who plays similar garbage and gets lucky on you. You cant seem to win and you are tilting. Then you go to rebuy back in and you see your BR is now $38 ($4 x 3). Now, you are scolding yourself for risking so much, you want to get those players back for sucking out on you and you want to make your money back, so what do you do? You buy in for the max of $10. Heck, you even say to yourself 'if they can play garbage and win, then you can, too.' Except, you end up losing that buy in. Finally you call it quits at total loss $22.
Now, its not that you were on tilt that you risked so much so fast, its the fact that $4 doesnt seem like a lot of money. Even if you lost to a better hand and you werent on tilt, $4 can be decieving. You think its only $4's...but what about after 3 or 4 buy ins? Its no longer just $4. Even if you look at your BR every time you buy in, you can still fall under the 'its only $4.' $50 - $4 = $46. Its only $4. $46 - $4 = $42. $42 - $4 = $38. Even if you down to $26, $4 doesnt seem like that much.
Now if you do this with $50 - $10 = $40, you can see the change in your BR. You are now down to $40 from $50. So, you really can tell your self $10 isn't that much compared to your BR, now...so, you might make the wise smart move of leaving the table, tilting or not, and waiting to play another day.
So, to recap-Max buy in always because you want to maximize your profits. You dont want the other players to bully you around, especially if they think you don't want to risk a lot of money and will be playing very tight.
Oh and one thing I forgot to add, when you max buy in, you can bully the minimum buy in around and this can mean money for you. Since you have more money, you can raise and push and steal pots from the small stack, especially if they play tight. Now, say you suckout on that player and take all his money and he buys back in again for $4. Now you have even more ammo to work with, and you can be just as aggressive. And you suck out on the same player again for all their money..and they buy in again! Now, its clear this guy wants his money back, hes in every pot you're in, he calls every bet you make...and hes playing really loose, wreckless poker and you tighten up and set traps for him. You raise with KK and he comes over the top and you call. He shows a 7/9 off and you win.
And then he comes back with $10...steaming like crazy, playing stupid, seeking revenge from you for your suckouts, and he wants to get his money back.