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Playing poker with a short stack

 
If you play poker online, in a tournament, or with a group of friends, you are going to find yourself inevitably playing poker with a short stack at some point.  Your big hand was taken from you, or your bluff was called, and now you are just looking to stay in the game.  There are a couple of different strategies you can use, depending on the cards you draw.  Obviously, you are looking to double up and get yourself back in the game, but sometimes you just need to hold on and survive long enough to get the payout coming your way.
 
The most tempting decision is to go all in when you are holding a low pair or a decent hand, and somebody else decides to go all in.  You feel like they have made the decision for you and this could be a golden opportunity to take the pot.  This would be a mistake because the odds are against you.  Chances are they have a monster hand and will beat and knock you out of the tournament.
 
Maybe it is one of those games where you’ve been getting horrible cards and having to fold every hand.  You are slowly watching your chips dwindle away as the players around take your chips.  You’ll have to wait until a reckless player goes all in and go after them.  Point out your target and wait until he does an early all-in.  It doesn’t matter what you have, obviously the better hand you have the better chances.  Sometimes, you have to play the players and not the cards.
 
Know the people you are playing against.  Recognize how they have been playing throughout the tournament and if they have been taking chances and winning with the river card or bluffing their way through the tournament.  Take a chance against them and see if their luck has run out.
 
Be careful of the players with big stacks out to terrorize you.  Do not fall into their baits unless you have a great hand.  It doesn’t matter who you are going up against, if you have a great hand, go for it and put your money where your mouth is.
 
No player wants to be put in a position where they are playing poker with a short stack.  The trick is to play the odds and give yourself a chance to get back in the game and back to playing your normal style.  Do not lose hope because you have lost a couple of hands.  Poker is a game of swings and if you can get back up after having been down, then the odds are in your favor and you can finish a successful game.
 
Author: Jasmine
© Gambler Awards, 2008
 
 
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