Playing mid-stacked

    • Berzerger
      Berzerger
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      Joined: 24.03.2008 Posts: 910
      During my stay on Cake I have seen a few regulars on NL50FR playing with a 50bb stack and raising 5bb rather than 4. At first I thought they were bad players, but it turns out they're tight, regular winners. I think the reason for their stack size might be protection against set mining: with a $25 stack, if they raise $2.50, they're committing 1/10 of their stack, which makes calling with a small pp profitable only if you can stack them almost every time you flop a set, which is less than likely. And you can't ever follow the call20 rule against them.

      PokerStrategy teaches you to play either full-stacked or short-stacked, explaining it with a graph (which I can't even find anymore) that shows how your EV drops when you play mid-stacked, though with no further explanations. But the system above seems to work for those players, and come to think of it I can't really see why it's a mistake to play that way. Is this kind of strategy somehow exploitable?
  • 24 replies
    • michaelqian
      michaelqian
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      Joined: 02.05.2009 Posts: 512
      I don't quite agree with it.

      I think they are playing way too conservative and will not maximize their long term profit.

      You will stack your oppponents by set mining as well, if you play a half stack, you can only win half a stack, where as if you play 100BB you will win a full stack.

      Good players win more often then they lose, so in the long term they will only make half as much by playing with 50bb.
    • KidPokersKid
      KidPokersKid
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      Joined: 27.02.2009 Posts: 653
      There has to be something to a mid stack strategy, I dunno about 50BB play but even at the High stakes tables I see people with 40bb stacks, I even spotted Durrrr playing a 40BB stack when playing 100/200 HA table.
    • SheepMoose
      SheepMoose
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      Joined: 15.01.2009 Posts: 854
      Originally posted by KidPokersKid
      There has to be something to a mid stack strategy, I dunno about 50BB play but even at the High stakes tables I see people with 40bb stacks, I even spotted Durrrr playing a 40BB stack when playing 100/200 HA table.
      This is only because durrrr, OMGclayaiken, PA, and everyone else have a limited amount of money online, and need to make each buy in last.
    • AlexanderD22
      AlexanderD22
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      Joined: 26.08.2009 Posts: 377
      Originally posted by SheepMoose
      Originally posted by KidPokersKid
      There has to be something to a mid stack strategy, I dunno about 50BB play but even at the High stakes tables I see people with 40bb stacks, I even spotted Durrrr playing a 40BB stack when playing 100/200 HA table.
      This is only because durrrr, OMGclayaiken, PA, and everyone else have a limited amount of money online, and need to make each buy in last.
      Why is this? Not saying you are wrong but why do they have a limited amount of money online? durrrrr is an online player who is trying to make it as a live player.
    • KidPokersKid
      KidPokersKid
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      Joined: 27.02.2009 Posts: 653
      Originally posted by AlexanderD22
      Originally posted by SheepMoose
      Originally posted by KidPokersKid
      There has to be something to a mid stack strategy, I dunno about 50BB play but even at the High stakes tables I see people with 40bb stacks, I even spotted Durrrr playing a 40BB stack when playing 100/200 HA table.
      This is only because durrrr, OMGclayaiken, PA, and everyone else have a limited amount of money online, and need to make each buy in last.
      Why is this? Not saying you are wrong but why do they have a limited amount of money online? durrrrr is an online player who is trying to make it as a live player.
      I would agree with the above... I have seen Durrr rebuy on a HU Deep NL100k table about 5 times to full, im sure its not an issue about money.
      I am sure more money is just an insta-click away from those kinds of people wouldn't you agree?
    • AlexanderD22
      AlexanderD22
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      Joined: 26.08.2009 Posts: 377
      Well I'm sure everyone has heard about durrr winning/losing 1M+ in a day so I really doubt he has limited funds.
    • SheepMoose
      SheepMoose
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      Joined: 15.01.2009 Posts: 854
      Originally posted by KidPokersKid
      Originally posted by AlexanderD22
      Originally posted by SheepMoose
      Originally posted by KidPokersKid
      There has to be something to a mid stack strategy, I dunno about 50BB play but even at the High stakes tables I see people with 40bb stacks, I even spotted Durrrr playing a 40BB stack when playing 100/200 HA table.
      This is only because durrrr, OMGclayaiken, PA, and everyone else have a limited amount of money online, and need to make each buy in last.
      Why is this? Not saying you are wrong but why do they have a limited amount of money online? durrrrr is an online player who is trying to make it as a live player.
      I would agree with the above... I have seen Durrr rebuy on a HU Deep NL100k table about 5 times to full, im sure its not an issue about money.
      I am sure more money is just an insta-click away from those kinds of people wouldn't you agree?
      That much money usually takes days for FTP and banks to process IIRC. So a lot of the time the top pros have limited money in their account.

      Pokerbluffs, Aejones, Martonas, etc.. All buy in for 50bb's in the NL500/1k 6max tables.
    • staicu74
      staicu74
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      Joined: 01.07.2009 Posts: 57
      It seems plausible that durrr has a virtually unlimited funding.
      Since we started the discussion, there's a big difference between Hold'em and HA regarding variance and stacks, so perhaps strategies regarding the buy-in are different, too.
    • AlexanderD22
      AlexanderD22
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      Joined: 26.08.2009 Posts: 377
      Originally posted by staicu74
      It seems plausible that durrr has a virtually unlimited funding.
      Since we started the discussion, there's a big difference between Hold'em and HA regarding variance and stacks, so perhaps strategies regarding the buy-in are different, too.
      Good answer, there has to be a reason for doing certain things and I doubt funding is the issue. Is durrrrrr officially a FT pro? I can imagine he would get some good funding from them for this. As for the other post, obviously it takes banks a long time to transfer cash but in all likelihood big cash players have a big roll in their account at all times.

      Also found this about durrr, don't know how accurate it is as I have never used the site.
      http://www.highstakesdb.com/profiles/statistics/2008/durrrr.aspx
    • delete461
      delete461
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      Joined: 04.07.2008 Posts: 1,036
      I saw something called a half-stack strategy being taught on one of the other sites, I think it was Deucescracked. I didnt look into it though and dont know how profitable it would be.
    • kingdippy2008
      kingdippy2008
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      Joined: 30.08.2008 Posts: 2,107
      Hello,

      The reasoning for playing with a 100bb stack is simple. If you believe you have an edge on someone, which most of you will, then you will want to play with the biggest stack possible. Playing with a bigger stack gives more chance to use your post flop edge and also gives you the abilty to win more against people who you have a massive edge on. And on the low and midstakes you should have a big edge ;)

      The SSS is a strategy for new players as this limits postflop play as you get your money in preflop. The idea is that you get it in with the best more often than not and win money in the long run.

      However a midstack strategy is kinda weird as there is not too much room for post flop moves but you hardly ever go broke preflop. Especially raising 5bb.

      Now im not sure but looking at the online pros i think i can explain a reason for why they buy in 50bb. When playing those limits the edge that a player has is tiny. Of course there are people who are better, but in the short run a lot of what they do will have a lot of variance because there edge is so small.

      When buying in for 50bb it can decrease the massive swings they can possibly have when playing at the nosebleeds (500$/1000$). Its easy to have 10 stack swing and if your buyin in for 100bb thats $1,000,000. This does limit there post flop play but they will find that they get 100bb deep pretty quick anyway. This is just my opinion though and half of what i said is probably wrong xD :D

      Edit: However it can be a case of Players not having a lot of money on there online accounts. I would guess that they would not want there whole BR online so this way they can make sure they have a lot if Buy ins behind

      Good luck and best regards,

      -Jack
    • kosmonaut111
      kosmonaut111
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      Joined: 26.01.2009 Posts: 715
      I saw in partypoker academy (pokerschool or smth) that they teach there midstack strategy. It seemed weird and have not read it there. So cant say much about it.

      About pros buying in for 50BB - its weird. Usually they want to have something 200 + BB behind (in high stakes poker and in durrrr challenge they usually have 200 + BBs behind). Maybe it is some strategy but never believe that they have some problem with cash and then put their last 50k in play (500/1k blinds) although they cant play their best game with this money.
    • nafar84
      nafar84
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      Joined: 20.09.2008 Posts: 546
      The nosebleeds are a different story... so many factors and metagame comes into play, mainly because everyone knows each other very well. They vary their buy-ins depending on positions, stack sizes, and who's playing. If, for example, durrr or OMGClayAiken finds a seat to the left of Gus Hansen then you can rest assured that they will buy in for whatever Gus is playing.

      For the rest of us, the optimal strategy IMO remains BSS for 100-200bb until we reach the nosebleeds then we can start applying 17th-level metagame thinking and do some really weird random stuff :p
    • whateverdude
      whateverdude
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      Joined: 01.02.2009 Posts: 232
      I understand fully why half stack is bad idea compared to playing short or deep stack at the same limit.

      There is one scenario that bugs me tho.
      Imagine having $500 bankroll and playing fullring in a really fishy site.

      Since people there are really bad and go broke on top pair bad kicker or on a bad draw, but at the same time are unreadable, having 100bb stack at NL25 does not give you in any way bigger edge than having a 50bb stack at NL50. Your strategy is the same, raise preflop with big hands, hit TPTK or better, go broke.

      But with a 50bb stack at NL50 you can easily go broke on the turn, while with a 100bb stack on NL25 the fish could call you on flop and river, miss his gutshot and fold on the river.

      Thus, I believe against really terrible players, playing a 50bb stack at NLX is better than playing 100bb stack at NL(X-1).

      When the fish are a bit better, and need at least TPTK to go broke and are actually readable, and SOMETIMES EVEN BLUFFABLE, then you want your stack to be as deep as possible. But at at the micros I believe 100bb stack at NLX <<< 50bb stack at NL(X+1)
    • delete461
      delete461
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      Joined: 04.07.2008 Posts: 1,036
      Did some searching and found the reasoning for playing halfstacked:

      1. Set mining against you is unprofitable, meaning you can narrow a good opponents handrange down - they generally wont call pp to a 4 - 5 bb raise. Bad players will coldcall you preflop with insufficient implied odds, good opponents will fold, giving you a postflop edge more often.

      2. You have more fold equity when your opponent understands you will be pot committed quickly.

      3. Average to good opponents will underestimate you, thinking that only fish play with 50bb. Therefore you get called with weaker hands.
    • JuiceQuadre
      JuiceQuadre
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      Joined: 05.10.2008 Posts: 2,688
      Originally posted by whateverdude
      I understand fully why half stack is bad idea compared to playing short or deep stack at the same limit.

      There is one scenario that bugs me tho.
      Imagine having $500 bankroll and playing fullring in a really fishy site.

      Since people there are really bad and go broke on top pair bad kicker or on a bad draw, but at the same time are unreadable, having 100bb stack at NL25 does not give you in any way bigger edge than having a 50bb stack at NL50. Your strategy is the same, raise preflop with big hands, hit TPTK or better, go broke.

      But with a 50bb stack at NL50 you can easily go broke on the turn, while with a 100bb stack on NL25 the fish could call you on flop and river, miss his gutshot and fold on the river.

      Thus, I believe against really terrible players, playing a 50bb stack at NLX is better than playing 100bb stack at NL(X-1).

      When the fish are a bit better, and need at least TPTK to go broke and are actually readable, and SOMETIMES EVEN BLUFFABLE, then you want your stack to be as deep as possible. But at at the micros I believe 100bb stack at NLX <<< 50bb stack at NL(X+1)
      The problem is you can still win only the same stack but you are paying much more dead money through blinds =) ..
    • JuiceQuadre
      JuiceQuadre
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      Joined: 05.10.2008 Posts: 2,688
      Originally posted by delete461
      Did some searching and found the reasoning for playing halfstacked:

      1. Set mining against you is unprofitable, meaning you can narrow a good opponents handrange down - they generally wont call pp to a 4 - 5 bb raise. Bad players will coldcall you preflop with insufficient implied odds, good opponents will fold, giving you a postflop edge more often.

      2. You have more fold equity when your opponent understands you will be pot committed quickly.

      3. Average to good opponents will underestimate you, thinking that only fish play with 50bb. Therefore you get called with weaker hands.
      Interesting =) )

      But meh..
      1. I wanna setmine as well :D

      2. 3. So will i call them with weaker hands or will they have better fold equity?:P
    • nafar84
      nafar84
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      Joined: 20.09.2008 Posts: 546
      Originally posted by JuiceQuadre
      Interesting =) )

      But meh..
      1. I wanna setmine as well :D

      2. 3. So will i call them with weaker hands or will they have better fold equity?:P
      Exactly.

      It all cancels out in the end. Setmining or coolering is not where the money is won or lost, especially against someone on whom you have a slight-to-decent edge, because they'll setmine and cooler you with the same frequency. The money is made from outplaying them and making less mistakes in marginal spots. So why on earth would you only want half a stack if you think you have an edge?
    • Zheelvern
      Zheelvern
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      Joined: 29.10.2007 Posts: 704
      Built my roll playing halfstack strategy. Now I can't win a shit playing that way. But it's a good thing if you know to use it.
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