A mistake that many players make, especially beginners, is defaulting to one of two different strategies – which really aren’t strategies at all.
They either go all in:
1) When they have a monster hand.
2) When they have no hand at all.
Those are both easy tells to spot for other players and if you wind up with a monster hand and a short stack, you will lose your shirt.
Here are 4 of the most essential all-in poker strategies to master.
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Maximizing the short stack
If you have a short stack it often appears like you have only one of two choices, risk it all or fold and hope for more surety a few hands in.
But what happens when you land a monster hand and have a short stack?
You can maximize it by using the right strategy.
- Don’t raise on the short stack. You won’t make it and will be forced out of the game and lose your stack.
- Do call with a short stack. Players can always raise you but you will have given it a shot and still have enough left to play the next hand.
A short stack should be seen as a chance to play with skill and strategy, not a reason to bunker down and hide.
When to bully
Even if you don’t have a winning hand, clearing the table of some players will enhance your ability to win the next rounds.
It can be worth it to give a little to get a whole lot more in the end. Bully stacks should be used to gain the advantage.
It can also serve to throw off any betting pattern you may have given that other players are relying on as your tell.
Even if the opponent raises, his chances of calling your all-in bet and flopping something decent are very low – consistent with the pot odds that you would make against him.
At the same time, it is necessary to have a hand with some showdown value, in case he calls you on a draw, even if it is ace high.
Having some potential outs is also necessary for the times that he decides to call with one pair, and frequently, you will have an ace with at least three outs in your hand.
Hitting it right
This means you are solid in your stacks and you have a solid hand.
Go all in on a call and see what happens.
If you are solid, then so is your betting pattern and you can clear the table of anyone with less than you. T
his is a way to conservatively call bluff and reduce the competition on the board.
Get more poker stuff: See The Poker Cheat Sheet That Drasticly Improved My Winning Rate
Success is always recorded with the strategy when the shorter stack is the button, and with his post-flop raise is putting himself all in.
However, the strategy fails when the deeper stack is the button and is putting the cutoff all in; that is the cutoff has already invested one-third of his stack before he faces the all-in shove of the button.
In most cases, players prefer risking their tournament lives once putting the one-third of their stack in the pot; so this is a strategy which could succeed sometimes.
If they are aggressive and tricky players, they are very likely to identify a button call and a cutoff raise, quickly taking advantage of the situation to go for a squeeze play.
You will benefit from that if a premium hand is what you have, but care also needs to be taken when playing this.
However, with the blinds being played tight and with the expectation to fold, you have the opportunity of opening up your range.
Avoiding the tell
One thing you have to practice in friendly games is the pacing of your all-in strategy or they will become your strongest tell.
If you always only all-in on short stacks with a monster hand, it can be a dead giveaway and players will fold before the pot can raise you to a bully stack.
Master the art of the throwaway to gain an advantage and make sure that you consider 2 or 3 options before making your play each time.
The more mindful you are of your choices, the more opportunity you will create and the less you will broadcast.