Quick Question: ring game buy in amount?

kingme620

kingme620

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I saw on another thread that you should always buy in with the full amount. Can someone explain the reasoning behind this? It seems to me that yea, you will double up with more profit but you will also lose more. Is this the same for all limits?
 
Tygran

Tygran

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You are simplifying it too much but even if we look at it that way... If you know what you are doing you should be stacking other people more often than you get stacked. So.. yes you "win more when you win and lose more when you lose" but you should be winning more than you are losing.


Beyond this playing with a short stack will seriously limit your options on what you can and should do in certain situations when you wouldn't be limited with a full buy in.


Do you know what implied odds are? Basically this concept says that sometimes it is worth making a call if you can expect to win enough money on future betting rounds by making your hand. Since you can only win as much as you have in your stack from any one player by playing short stacked you are severely limiting the profitability of many possible plays.
 
BillyTheBull

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Maybe I'm not the best person to answer this question, as I assume that you're referring to a NL or PL situation (right?) and I play 90% limit cash games, but I'm gonna give it a shot:

The reason behind the (correct) idea you mention is two-fold, as I see it:

1. As a short stack you do not have the "muscle" needed to get another player off a hand when you are either a) ahead but want to get others off potential draws or b) bluffing at a pot. This is not a concern in limit games, but in NL and PL stack sizes are extremely important as a tool of intimidation.

2. You want to enable yourself to maximize your profit when you catch a really strong hand. For example, let's say you sit down at a table where everyone has between $80-120 in chips, but you buy in for just $20. Next thing you know you get ATs and flop the nut flush in a raised pot, while another player with a large stack makes a big top-set, say QQQ (or a similarly strong hand where it's likely that he'll be willing to go all in); yes, you'll likely double up here, but if the max buy-in for the table was $100 and you only bought in for $20, you potentially just cost yourself $80 in profit, and that's not even considering the possibility of further multi-way action.

Now, as for your concern that you might lose more if you buy in for more . . . that seems to be more of a bankroll-size question than anything else, because no matter how well you play, you're always going to lose some big pots (e.g. in the above example you both go all in after a blank on the turn, but the QQQ makes a boat when the board pairs on the river). Assuming your game is solid, your increased profits should outweigh your increased losses, but your bankroll needs to be able to absorb the swings. I think many experts recommend around 20-30 buy-ins as a minimum bankroll for NL games, which means that if you're playing at limits with a $100 max buy-in (conceivably a $.5/1 or $1/2 NL ring game), you should have a bankroll of at least $2000 behind you.

Ok, hope that helps -- any NL cash players out there, please feel free to amend and/or correct anything I might've gotten wrong. :)
 
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JimmyBrizzy

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I'm not sure there is a definite right or wrong answer. Depending on the person's playing style and experience, the optimal buy ins will probably differ for many people.

Personally, I am not that great of a player in general. So a lot of my weaknesses are compounded when I have a plethora of chips sitting in front of me. A short stack helps cut back my loses and simplify my decision making in some situations. Here is an article that is just one opinion on why short stack play might be optimal.

Card Player Magazine - The Virtues of Playing the Short Stack by Ed Miller

Card Player Magazine - The Virtues of Playing the Short Stack by Ed Miller

As I think about it, it would probably be better to buy in short stack against better players that can make moves and outplay you post flop. While short stacked, you can push at times and limit their moves to whether or not they decide to call you. Having more chips against a few better players seems like a recipe for disaster. Getting involved in pots with them probably will only lead to them outplaying you and forcing you into a short or no stack situation.

What do you guys think about it?
 
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vagas35

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Interesting link Likminutz, never looked at it like that before, thanks.
 
zachvac

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In a game where everyone has equal skill, I don't think anyone will tell you it's better to buy in full. The short stack has an inherent advantage, BUT the advantage has to do with whether you win overall or not. Take for example a 200nl game. Many have $200 and you decide to buy in for $40. You'll get paid off more because more people are willing to commit $40 when you have nothing behind with semi-marginal hands than $40 when you have another $160 behind which you could fire on later streets. But, when you do get paid off, you only win $40.

The fundamental assumption behind buying in for the max is that you are either the best or close to the best at your table. This means that you're stacking someone else much more than they are stacking you, and despite the slight disadvantage that having a big stack brings (read the above articles if you still don't understand the advantage), the stacking getting you over 4 times the amount of chips makes up for the fact that it's tougher to play with a deep stack than a short stack.
 
BillyTheBull

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Personally, I am not that great of a player in general. ... As I think about it, it would probably be better to buy in short stack against better players that can make moves and outplay you post flop. While short stacked, you can push at times and limit their moves to whether or not they decide to call you. Having more chips against a few better players seems like a recipe for disaster. Getting involved in pots with them probably will only lead to them outplaying you and forcing you into a short or no stack situation.

The article you referenced is very interesting, and I'll take it into consideration when/if I ever decide to sit down at a NL ring game, but it's just one guy's opinion . . . I'll see if I can find something from a good source that argues otherwise.

As to your other statements (above), I'd have to argue that anytime you sit down at a table thinking from the get-go that you are the worst player, it really doesn't matter what kind of stack you have -- the result is probably going to be bad, just because you've already convinced yourself that you can only win by getting lucky (since you don't attribute any value to your skill compared to your opponents'). Now, I'm not saying it's smart to be overly cocky and think everyone else should bow down before you, either, but a healthy amount of confidence goes a long way in any poker game; imho, you'd have to believe that you are at least as good a poker player as everyone else at the table with a legitimate shot at generating some winnings, otherwise why would you even sit down?
 
NoWuckingFurries

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you'd have to believe that you are at least as good a poker player as everyone else at the table with a legitimate shot at generating some winnings, otherwise why would you even sit down?
Because luck plays much more of a part in poker than, for example, chess - or because you play more for fun than profit?
 
JimmyBrizzy

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Thanks for the tip, but maybe I didn't portray my feelings that clearly. It's not like I sit down depressed and sadly give my money away believing I am the worst. I just realize there are better players and I still enjoy myself.

Yesterday I played 1/2 at A.C. all day shortstacked. I played at the Showboat for 3 hours then moved over to the Taj. It was my first time playing at A.C. with my bar freeroll winnings. And I basically lost everything. It is definitely going to take some time to adjust to the type of play at live 1/2. I did buy in shortstack and it didn't seem to give me much of an advantage. Big bets (pre & post flop) were usually called and I would say at least 50-70% of the players saw the flop on average even with raises. It wasn't until about 6 hours in that I was really getting comfortable with the type of play there. It is very loose and people call with a lot of hands, chase gut shots and bet with middle pair. It was very hard for me to read the table. Hopefully I win a few more bar freerolls soon and can get back down there sometime soon. Even though I lost money it was really FUN! I will also probably buy in with a higher amount of money. I sat down with 80 and felt very vunerable. If anyone else has any advice for live 1/2 NLHE please let me know.

It may be a stretch but would anyone agree that 1/2 in the casino on a Saturday is close if not looser than .5/.10 online play? Haha, because it felt very similar.
 
BillyTheBull

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It may be a stretch but would anyone agree that 1/2 in the casino on a Saturday is close if not looser than .5/.10 online play? Haha, because it felt very similar.

Yeah, I think that's a fairly accurate observation; the same seems to be true for LHE, where a $2/4 game plays more like an online $.25/.50 game. Here in CO we're stuck with a $2-5 spread limit variant (due to stupid legal restrictions preventing any single bets over $5) and a lot of people play it very, very loosely, which also took some getting used to on my part. . . .
 
S

SolidSn@ke

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Are you a tight player or do you tend to bluff?

I usually play on higher stakes 20% of my banroll and only buy in for half because bluffing can cost you if your that type of player. If you play tight then you should probably buy in for the full amount cause by the time you get your hand to go all in on youll have enough money to raise or call whatever suits you best.
 
BillyTheBull

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So, I decided to put this "small buy-in" theory to the test. . . .

First let me say that I've been getting my butt kicked in LHE over the last couple of days -- down about $200 -- and started getting a little frustrated, as every big pot I've played lately has been going runner-runner to someone else. I know that's just the way it goes sometimes, but still. . . . Also (besides this thread) I've come across a couple of interesting articles regarding LHE vs NL differences, and one of them pointed out how NL requires significantly less decision-making per hour (compared to LHE), so it's supposedly much easier to multi-table in NL. I'd never thought about this, but it seemed to make sense, so, armed with this new-found wisdom, I came up with this idea:

I usually play two LHE tables and sit down w/ 50 BBs at each table, so if I play $2/4, I'll sit down with $200 total, and I can usually see about 120-150 hands/hr; I usually keep my online sessions to about an hour, and typically, if I'm up 20-30% overall I'm very happy. Earlier today, instead, I decided to buy in for the min ($40) at four $1/2 NL tables; I also set a limit of two re-buys, so the most money I'd risk in that session would be $240, just slightly more than I would in a LHE session. After going broke at one table only a few hands in (and rebuying, of course), I settled in and started winning a small pot here and there, and I really found it easy to manage four tables at once. Soon I started picking up some hands and doubled up at table 2, then table 1; I busted out at table 3 and used my second rebuy (then proceeded to make a nice come-back a few rounds later), and table 4 turned out to be very tight and I never really played a significant pot the whole time. The fact that I was relatively short-stacked at each table (some of the stacks were as high as $500) actually didn't bother me at all, as I found that I was still able to extend pressure when needed, while making all-in decisions for $40-80 a pop wasn't nearly as difficult as it would've been for $200+. (I believe that, partly as a result of this, I made several tough but very good calls.)

The end result? Awesome! After playing for an hour and 15 minutes for a total of 293 hands (roughly 235 hds/hr) I cashed out for a total of $432.85, up a whopping $192.85. :D What's more, after an hour of 2-table LHE I usually get a little tired and need a break, but over an hour into this session I felt like I could've easily kept playing for another hour. Of course, this is a very small sample and only the first in a series of "trials", but if I can sustain a win rate even half that, I just might never go back to LHE. . . .
 
P

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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.

Look familiar?
 
BillyTheBull

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Wow, philthy, you are making all kinds of wild assumptions in that old post of yours. . . . While I do appreciate the input, you can't just assume that everyone playing short will go on tilt, lose their short stacks, then start steaming and decide to come back with a max buy-in, etc. etc.. Really, if you're gonna play that erratically, I don't think it matters for how much you're buying in -- you'll find a way to self-destruct and lose a bunch of money either way.

Anyway, I'm continuing to experiment with different levels, buy-ins, etc. -- so far I was able to replicate my earlier 4-table min buy-in experience at the $.50/1 NL level, where a total of 5 buy-ins ($100) netted a profit of $34.50 in just under an hour; not quite as good as before, but I'll take it. However, I also played a 4-table session of 6-max $1/2 NL with min buy-ins of $40, and that was a disaster; the blinds come around so fast at a short-handed table that the pressure is just too great on a short stack, and I found it tough to manage 4 simultaneous tables at that pace, which resulted in some less-than-optimal decisions on my part. I did manage to win some pots and almost tripled my stack at one table, but overall it didn't go well and I was down about $175 when I finally decided to call it quits. I guess I should've seen those problems coming, but I wanted to try it anyway; the moral of that story is: short-stacked + short-handed = never again!
 
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