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How to Mind Position at the Table?

March 2, 2023
by Lex Veldhuis

PokerStars Team Pro player Lex Veldhuis, breaks down essential short stack poker strategy and discusses how to play different positions. With different size stacks, and against different opponent positions, playing in the correct way is crucial to increase your stack size.

Position is Key Against Short Stacks

Position against short stacks is vital. Players in late positions have an advantage because short stacks have already acted, allowing you to leverage their actions against them. You can deter players behind you from entering pots by 3-betting, giving you more opportunities to play heads-up against the short stack.

Bet Sizing Versus Short Stacks

Against short stacks, you can use smaller bet sizes, even as small as 1 big blind on the flop. Small bets are annoying to play against and force mistakes. Opposing players must call with a wide range, allowing you to barrel them off equity on later hands. The shorter the stack, the smaller you can bet, so play according to the size of opposing players’ chip stacks.

Bluff More Often

With a short stack, you could regularly be all-in by the time the river is drawn. Take advantage by bluffing with a wider range on earlier streets. Your opponent must call with a wider range to avoid being bluffed off their equity when stacks get shallow. Continue barrelling until they raise, then you can let it go, having successfully denied them equity along the way. Consider where you are in relation to other players and how you position at the table could impact how you play.

Check Strong Hands to Trap 

Checking when you have strong hands is a great way to set up traps for your opponents, especially when you are in early positions. If you have a very strong hand like top set on the flop, check and let your opponent bluff into you. They will recognize your range is weak and try to bluff you off the pot. Wait to raise until the river when the pot is largest and try and increase the pot as much as possible.

Be Willing to Get All-In with Marginal Holdings

With 20 big blinds or less, you will often be all-in by the river. If that’s the case, you’ll need to be willing to get all-in with hands that are marginal in deep stack poker but strong for a short stack. Hands like small pairs, suited connectors, and Broadway cards are all standard all-in hands for short stacks.  You need to win your share of flips to be a successful short stack player.

The strategies and concepts discussed in this video will help you gain an edge over opponents when playing a short stack in whatever position you are that hand. Keep practicing and reviewing these key ideas, and you’ll master the art of short stack poker in no time.

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