Playing cash NL short-stacked

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mickyb

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In the short time I've been playing, 99% of my play has been in tourneys, where I've done pretty well. I always feel like I've got a big edge when the blinds are large - most people simply aren't aggressive enough over competing for them.

I decided to try to replicate this at cash by buying in for the minimum six-handed, then playing very aggressively. I'm doing ok at it so far.

Three questions -

Is there anything inherently wrong with this strategy?
What's the minimum buy-in at various sites? At bodog, you buy in for between 20 and 100 big blinds, is this standard?
How does this strategy affect bankroll requirements?


I've been told by a couple of people that it isn't a good strategy, but I can't think why this would be so. In tournaments, the passive players are saved by the survival factor (this makes their very chip EV- decisions only marginally $ EV-), if they play similarly at cash then it should be very profitable to play against them.
 
Munchrs

Munchrs

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20bb is standard. I have 50 buy ins min if I was doing this.

Chip ev is irrelevant in CG, as chips = $

not entirely sure what your trying to get at in the last 2 lines, but short stacking is most definately a viable strategey and if played well will make you money.
 
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mickyb

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In tournaments, the passive players are saved by the survival factor (this makes their very chip EV- decisions only marginally $ EV-), if they play similarly at cash then it should be very profitable to play against them.
Chip ev is irrelevant in CG, as chips = $

not entirely sure what your trying to get at in the last 2 lines
That was my point, at cash, chips = $. IMO people in tournaments often don't understand two things -

1) In terms of chip EV, you need to be very aggressive over the blinds
2) In terms of $ EV, it's often better to stick with your current stack rather than take a risk unless it's very chip EV+.

Unfortunately, them not knowing these two things cancel out, to an extent. Basically, I'm hoping the oppo will play worse at cash :D

short stacking is most definately a viable strategey and if played well will make you money.
Excellent :D You are the first person I've seen approve of this, lol.
 
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feitr

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You certainly can buy in for the min, then shove premium hands preflop/post flop. It is very much a valid strategy, albeit one with high variance. I wouldn't say there is anything inherently wrong with this strategy, but you have to realise that you can't really outplay anybody per se, because you don't have any chips behind you. Ideally you want to get all in preflop, or on the flop. So, it isn't "aggressive" in the sense of playing LAG. It is more incredibly TAG...you wait for a good hand and you commit all your chips. This is for full ring, however, i don't really think short stacked in 6 max is a good idea. If you play loose in 6 max and are often trying to steal shortstacked, you are going to find yourself reraised all in constantly, and if you play very tight then the blinds will kill you.

20bb is also standard, but certain sites may have tables with a 50bb min or something.

As for bankroll standards, i would increase your # of buy ins (ie. increase the number of buy ins @ min that you have), because it is a high variance strategy. If you are running bad, and are losing alot of races/not hitting flops then it is easy to lose a number of buy ins. Overall, however, you probably aren't really increasing your buy in requirements for the particular stake, because 20 buy ins @ max = 100 buy ins @ min. But, it is very important you don't decide to move up stakes then play with something like 20 min buy ins, or you might very well go broke.

I don't see any relationship between tournament play and short stacked cash however. In fact i really have no clue what you are trying to say there. Even if you are short stacked in cash (ie. higher blind to stack ratio) it is completely different than short stacked in tournaments, because you will have players in the cash games who are far deeper than anybody could ever be in a tournament. And the blind to stack ratio can never really get as high in cash as tournaments anyways...late game tournaments are all about stealing blinds, but that is a MUCH smaller aspect of cash games. There is a huge difference in increasing your stack size by like 1/3rd in a tournament by stealing 3 blinds in a row as opposed to gaining 2.25BB in a cash game. Just confused about what you are trying to say.
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zachvac

zachvac

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That was my point, at cash, chips = $. IMO people in tournaments often don't understand two things -

1) In terms of chip EV, you need to be very aggressive over the blinds
2) In terms of $ EV, it's often better to stick with your current stack rather than take a risk unless it's very chip EV+.

Unfortunately, them not knowing these two things cancel out, to an extent. Basically, I'm hoping the oppo will play worse at cash :D
This is all mostly correct.


Excellent :D You are the first person I've seen approve of this, lol.
Here's another: Card Player Magazine - The Virtues of Playing the Short Stack by Ed Miller
In the short time I've been playing, 99% of my play has been in tourneys, where I've done pretty well. I always feel like I've got a big edge when the blinds are large - most people simply aren't aggressive enough over competing for them.

I decided to try to replicate this at cash by buying in for the minimum six-handed, then playing very aggressively. I'm doing ok at it so far.
ok here's the problem, think about the reasons it's bad to be passive when the blinds are large. Now eliminate all the reasons that have something to do with elimination or stack size dwindling. Any reasons left? And that's the problem, even with your 20 BB stack, since blinds don't go up it would take 13 and a third times around for your stack to go away. What this equates to in a cash game though, is how good a blind steal is compared with a stack. To break even in NLHE cash, you can simply steal the blinds once per orbit. You can also take a stack every 13 orbits and profit. Which one's easier?

The other thing is opponents aren't as scared of elimination so they're actually MORE willing to defend their blinds light. So what most good FR players do (yes I saw you did 6max and I realize that's a slightly different animal) is actually buy in full and play pretty tight, waiting for premium hands for the loose impatient players to play. These are actually players similar to yourself, who fail to adapt to cash play and play way too loose, and hopefully have a deeper stack and will stack easier. You have a shorter stack so you wouldn't fall under category 2 there. But basically, at least in the micros (I'm counting that as 100nl and lower since that's as high as I've gotten and it hasn't changed yet), players play too loose and defend their blinds too much, because they figure "if I lose I can just reload". Now sure blind stealing is still profitable, but I think in your logic you miss the reasons that opponents don't defend their blinds at all, and that's because they're scared of being eliminated. You no longer have that threat.
How does this strategy affect bankroll requirements?
ok I addressed the first one already and someone mentioned the second one, I think 20bb min is standard, but basically this strategy does NOT affect BR requirements. You should still have 20 MAX buy-ins simply because as you buy in for less your variance will be higher. You will be correctly stacking preflop with hands like AK/JJ/QQ and you'll be flipping a good deal and you'll find much higher variance. So you should still have 20 max buy-ins, not 20 buy-ins of how much you are buying in for.
I've been told by a couple of people that it isn't a good strategy, but I can't think why this would be so. In tournaments, the passive players are saved by the survival factor (this makes their very chip EV- decisions only marginally $ EV-), if they play similarly at cash then it should be very profitable to play against them.

Quite simply they don't is the problem. The biggest flaw instead in cash players is they play too loose and stack too light. You'll find people who buy in full (100 bbs) and will lose their stack with top pair, just had a guy do this at 100nl, he had Q4 on a Q high board and I had a boat and he paid me off his entire stack. Now I know 6max is a bit different and I'll let someone else handle that, but basically the problem is players don't play like that. Instead you'll find the optimal shortstack strategy (I linked to an article on that above) is to play extremely tight and take away implied odds from other players and get free fold equity. I won't go into detail because the article does.
 
Munchrs

Munchrs

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Quite simply they don't is the problem. The biggest flaw instead in cash players is they play too loose and stack too light. You'll find people who buy in full (100 bbs) and will lose their stack with top pair, just had a guy do this at 100nl, he had Q4 on a Q high board and I had a boat and he paid me off his entire stack. Now I know 6max is a bit different and I'll let someone else handle that, but basically the problem is players don't play like that. Instead you'll find the optimal shortstack strategy (I linked to an article on that above) is to play extremely tight and take away implied odds from other players and get free fold equity. I won't go into detail because the article does.

6max is worse, players stack lighter than FR, albeit donks stack light no matter what.
 
JimmyBrizzy

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Just to add onto Zach's comments, if you go to cardplayer.com and search for Ed Miller he has a good amount of article dealing with short stack play which can help.

He plays mostly live, full ring cash games, but I'm sure you can learn a few good tips.
 
dsvw56

dsvw56

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Short stacking is a viable strategy, but more so at higher limit games. I'm assuming since you're just starting out in cash, you're going to starting at some of the lower limit games. The profitability of short stacking comes from taking advantage of the limited implied odds you offer, which in essence maximizes your fold equity. Most short stackers make most of their money through resteals, i.e. overshoving on late position raises when villain has a wide range. In games where players aren't opening as widely and won't fold, this strategy no longer becomes viable.

However, since you come from a tournament background and probably don't have the greatest of postflop skills, I would recommend a semi-short stack strategy. Buy in for 60BB's. It makes all your decisions MUCH easier.
 
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juddof poker

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i don't get the whole short stacking thing, id rather back myself in work on the leaks
 
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