Big Stack Management

Last month we started our series on chip stack management with advice on playing a short stack. This month we deal with the problem you’d much rather have: How to play a big tournament stack.

The conventional wisdom is that you should put constant pressure on the short-stacks. However, beware of short-stacks who have gone below the level of conservative play and are ready to ‘make a stand’. Also, particularly when close to the money, beware of calling a short stack with a medium hand if they have moved in a situation when their stack is still playable. However, if they have moved in late and it looks like a desperation play you can call with a lot of hands including any Ace.

Attacking other big stacks can be a very strong tactic as they will not want to ‘get involved’, even sometimes with a very big hand, as they are reluctant to give up their strong position. Look for opportunities to come over the top of raises, particularly from late position. It is a stronger looking bet, puts more pressure on and gains more chips than first raise. You will be believed for a hand most of the time
If you are leaving enough for a player to call with play on flop, then try to make sure you have position and some kind of playable hand. Sometimes being first in line is the best position if you can set your opponent in with a bet on the flop and it’s hard for them to call if they’ve missed – even if they read you for a ‘move’.

Finally, just because you have chip power do not always feel obliged to be table policeman; Calling every short-stacks’ all-in bet with almost any hand. Don’t feed the fish!