An Introduction To Deepstacked Poker
Deepstacked poker can be defined as a game where the effective stack sizes are 150 big blinds or greater. Games involving stack sizes of 100 big blinds or less are more solved. With 100 big blind stacks, no limit texas holdem is an easier game to play. This is because it conforms more to mathematical models and there is less room for interesting play preflop and on the flop, turn and river.
As the stacks get deeper, no limit holdem becomes exponentially more complex, as there is greater scope for different styles of play. This applies to both preflop play and postflop play. With deep stacks we can play in a way that would be unprofitable with just 100 big blinds..
With the emergence of deepstacked tables on Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, it is becoming increasingly important to know how to play deep stacked poker, as these tables have a buyin of 200 big blinds. Similarly, a good strategy for deepstacked play is also essential on Everest Poker where they now offer 300 big blind tables.
Furthermore, knowledge of deep stacked poker is a necessity for playing in live cash games where the stacks will often be 300 big blinds or bigger.
The following series of articles will help you to develop a winning strategy for playing in deep stacked poker games and will aid you in becoming more comfortable in playing poker with deep stacks.
Firstly, we will analyse preflop play by taking a look at the concepts of 3betting out of position when deepstacked and 3betting in position when deepstacked. Next, we'll discuss 4betting preflop with deep stacks and finally we will talk about playing deepstacked poker postflop.
To start off, we'll talk about some general deep stack concepts:
Deep stacked poker enables us to play a greater range of hands preflop. We should open up our raising range, our calling range and our 3betting range when in position. Rather than playing a tight aggressive style, we can now play a more loose aggressive style as the bigger preflop stacks allow us to make some small mistakes preflop that allow us to profit later in a hand. These mistakes would be unprofitable in shallow stacked enviroments such as tournaments where the average stack is usually less than 50 big blinds or in conventional online cash games where the normal starting stack is 100 big blinds.
Playing this looser or laggy style is now much less of an issue as there is still a lot of money left behind for the later streets. Hand values also change in deepstacked poker. The value of hands such as suited connectors, suited one gappers and small pocket pairs go up. These hands also known as drawing hands or implied odds hands become much more valuable as they can make very strong hands such as straights, sets (three of a kind) and flushes. A direct correlation of this is that the value of hands such as queen jack off suit or ace jack off suit go down in value.
The reason for this is that when we have deep stacks, we want to make stronger hands such as straights and flushes. We want to be making strong nutted hands. With shallower stacks we are often just looking to hit top pair with a good kicker or better in order to put 100 big blinds in the pot. But in deepstacked poker, this is not the case. It will be very rare that we find a situation with 200 or more big blinds where we want to put our entire stack in with just top pair.
The strength of a top pair hand is directly related to the size of our stack. In a poker tournament with 20 big blinds, we will almost never be folding top pair and doing so would usually be a big mistake. Similarly, in a normal aggressive 100 big blind game, top pair is still a very strong hand.
As we get to 200 big blinds and even deeper, top pair becomes a much weaker holding and will often just be used as a bluff catcher. Most standard tight aggressive (TAG) players are capable of bluffing off a 100 big blind stack, but most TAGs will not be bluffing off 200 big blinds or more. That's why we need to have stronger hands in order to stack our opponents when deep, thus the value of implied odds hands goes up.
At this point we would like to introduce two concepts:
1. Stack leveraging
2. Positional leveraging
Both of these concepts are a fundamental part of any winning poker players arsenal when playing in deepstacked poker games.
Stack leveraging is the the most important concept for playing in deep poker games. It can be defined as taking more aggressive actions on earlier streets in order to create bigger pots and thus, more difficult decisions for our opponents on later streets.
Stack leveraging is using the power of our stack size in order to threaten an opponent's entire stack. We use stack leveraging to put pressure on our opponents, to force them to make mistakes and difficult decisions. When we raise a flop with just 100 big blinds, our opponent will usually just go allin or fold. With 200 big blinds or more a flop raise is now much scarier. An opponent may have to play for their entire stack on later streets as when we raise the flop, we can often setup turn and river bets that will put an opponent's full stack at risk.
Positional leveraging is using the power of position to threaten our opponent's stack and to put them in more difficult situations. By playing aggressively in position, we take the initiative away. We will have the lead in the hand and we can dictate how much money goes in the pot. We will be last to act and we can use our positional advantage to control the pot size or to put an opponent under pressure.
Both of these concepts begin with preflop play and we will expand on them in future articles.
Full Tilt is the number one site that offers deep stack poker tables. Remember to sign up for Full Tilt rakeback before you try your hands at the deep stacked tables.
Continue to part 2 of this series - 3betting out of position when deepstacked