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StrategyNo Limit

What is the Big Stack Strategy?

Introduction

In this article you will learn:
  • The importance of bankroll management
  • The tight-aggressive play style

No-Limit Hold’em is a poker format that challenges your skill, knowledge, and sometimes even your courage to follow your guts and to make the right move. It demands both technical skill and an instinct for the right moment.

This, and the following articles, show you a strategy that will enable you to beat No-Limit Hold'em's so-called full-ring variant (seven to ten players at a table) successfully.

You will learn …
  • … that bankroll management is what enables you to make a profit in the long-term
  • … what basic strategy you need to beat the lower and middle limits.

Free poker money quiz tip: You'll need our starting hands chart to pass the quiz. Click here to download the chart!

What is Bankroll Management?

Always see the money you take to a table with you as an investment, in the same way you would if you were buying shares. As someone who is responsible with their money, you would only buy those shares if they promised a good return and the risk of loss was manageable. It’s the same concept when you use bankroll management in poker.

It shows you what limits to invest in, i.e. how high your stakes should be, to find a good balance between your desire to...
  • ... advance as far as possible when you win and collect a lot of money.
  • ... not drop too far back when you lose and not lose too much of your poker money.

You want to make a lot of money when you win but not be hit too hard when you lose. This can be done by keeping to the '25-Buy-in-Bankroll Management' rule. It tells you how big your poker account (bankroll) has to be to move up a limit, and when you need to put on the brakes and move down a limit.

Bankroll management for the Big Stack Strategy looks like this:  

  • You always join a table with a full stack (100 big blinds). 100 big blinds equal one buy-in. 
  • Once you have 25 buy-ins for the next highest limit, you can move up to that limit.
  • If you only have 25 buy-ins for the next lowest limit, you must move down to that limit.

The PokerStrategy.com Bankroll Management

You have Limit you can play Table buy-in
less than $100 NL2 (0.01/0.02) $2
less than $250 NL4 (0.02/0.04) $4
less than $500 NL10 (0.05/0.10) $10
less than $625 NL20 (0.10/0.20) $20
less than $1,250 NL25 (0.10/0.25) $25
less than $2,500 NL50 (0.25/0.50) $50

If you join tables of a limit that is too high for your bankroll, you will make yourself an easy target. Higher limit players are just waiting for opponents like you. Without solid bankroll management, it doesn’t matter how well you play, it is simply not possible to make a long-term profit. Even the best players in the world go bust if they don't stick to bankroll management.

The tight-aggressive strategy

The tight-aggressive strategy for No-Limit Hold'em is the most profitable style of playing. It's based on three principles:
 
1. YOU PLAY TIGHT POKER
Tight means that you don‘t play everything that falls into your hands. There are many cards that look weak and actually are weak. There are also some hands, however, that look strong, but aren't, such as King Jack for example.

After the flop you don’t need to see every showdown simply because you have a pair. Knowing when you are beat or when the price is too high can save you a lot of money.

2. YOU PLAY AGGRESSIVE POKER
There is one simple rule in Texas Hold’em: You don‘t want to be the one to just call, i.e. the one who just goes along with the bets, without betting or raising yourself. 

In a poker game your profit is a result of your opponents' mistakes. And when do people make mistakes? When they have to make an important decision under pressure.

3. YOU PLAY POSITION
If your opponents have to act before you in a given betting round, you have position on them. If they have the luxury of getting to act after you, they have position on you.

Whenever an opponent has to act before you, you have the distinct advantage of being able to observe their move, before needing to act yourself. You are therefore in an advantageous position in terms of the information you have, and in this game, information is a valuable commodity. In addition to this it is also possible to make more profitable moves when playing in position.

Conclusion

Perhaps not everything in this article was new to you, but it should be helpful to constantly remind yourself how important bankroll management and the use of a tight-aggressive style of play are for your poker career.

As you advance higher and higher through the limits, you will adapt and create your own unique style of play. Yet no matter what kind of intricacies you build into your own style, it will always have its foundation in the basic elements that you learn about in this and the following articles.

In the next article you will find out what it means to play in position, and when and with which cards to enter the game.

To Article: How to play before the flop

 

Comments (215)

#1 MJmorfijus, 14 Dec 09 18:05

nice

#2 dose1234, 09 Jan 10 02:14

great article thx

#3 Koshburger, 15 Jan 10 09:22

ok

#4 donkzilla007, 18 Jan 10 17:34

ah i c

#5 sorinel2011, 08 Feb 10 16:47

great..

#6 razans, 10 Feb 10 20:54

nice article :)

#7 mark15yeah, 17 Feb 10 15:49

I agree: position is everything!

#8 Lenni88, 02 Mar 10 22:51

posi da posi<br />

#9 Calum93, 17 Mar 10 11:55

bankroll management is more key that I previously thought, good article, thanks.

#10 JanGu, 05 Jun 10 13:25

This is great for beginners like me

#11 Caja71, 28 Jun 10 13:48

very instructive

#12 trinhdinhthuan, 15 Oct 10 02:55

ok

#13 foolboydesire, 05 Nov 10 18:01

very nice and well written article, lays out the fundamentals, many thanks

#14 bestofmagic, 26 Nov 10 04:11

thanks

#15 deveight, 24 Jan 11 12:02

Very good article, I think it contained a just about right amount of information about everything.

#16 Mackers202, 25 Jan 11 14:19

Yeah very sound advive,good sfuff !!

#17 AlejoGarza, 14 Feb 11 16:33

Key Information for amateurs like me ! Thanks aloooot !.

#18 slasfrox, 15 Feb 11 10:30

wow thumbs up for this article

#19 joon9108, 15 Feb 11 12:42

I really wish they would let me download the pdf file of BSS...

#20 Dzemass, 15 Feb 11 13:39

@ #19 <br /> ->> right mouse click on "DL the bss starting hands" > Save target as..

#21 mattisks, 13 Apr 11 16:12

great article! I am thankful for my losing streak today so I can take some time to study this :)<br /> <br /> LOL. I just won nice pot off position :D

#22 interxx, 16 Apr 11 09:20

very good article. simple lessons that saves you poker life.

#23 ElvisLV, 24 Apr 11 03:04

thanks this article is really important for any poker player

#24 HoaMiTu, 13 Jun 11 14:51

thanks this article.

#25 bellamy11, 14 Jun 11 16:34

very helpful

#26 Tr3LoS, 23 Jun 11 07:12

very helpful indeed. Thanks

#27 indigotiger, 11 Aug 11 15:01

So, I know this may sound like a stupid question, but how does this website make money? I havent seen that many ads and I'm scared that the website will close before I can read all the articles :(

#28 TheBrood, 16 Aug 11 19:45

You can print the articles

#29 David, 17 Aug 11 08:43

@27: Please find here our Business-Model:<br /> <br /> http://www.pokerstrategy.com/businessmodel/

#30 rasko123, 02 Sep 11 20:59

Great article!

#31 cv00128, 18 Sep 11 11:17

When do i buy more chips and when do i leave the table??

#32 Pascal, 19 Sep 11 09:08

Hi,<br /> <br /> since you want to play with a bigstack you should always aim not to have below 100bb (some rooms have auto top up options) <br /> about leaving the table: there is not stop win limit, it is basically about you feeling still comfortable <br /> for example if there is a shark on your right with a deep stack you should probably leave<br /> if you got fish deep on your left it might be a good reason to stay a little longer

#33 cv00128, 24 Sep 11 23:07

ty pascal...

#34 Pascal, 26 Sep 11 06:40

btw my example makes more sense with the fish sitting before us and the shark sitting behind<br /> but the message was clear anyway I hope

#35 Hammerhead4real, 22 Jan 12 20:35

I'm wondering about the position argument. Am I correct in concluding that a later position is always better? Are there situations where playing first is better? For instance, when you need to protect your hand. It fits with the aggressive play style and puts your opponent under stress to make the correct decision.<br /> <br /> Also, I am wondering why only the tight-aggressive play style is explained. Is there also a strategy article on the loose-aggressive style? If so, where and if not, why?

#36 wimNP, 19 Feb 12 16:33

@35<br /> It depends. I think it is profitable to be out op position if the villain is a calling station. That type of player doesn't bet/raise much but just calls your bets. You don't bet for protection but for value.<br /> Then again what would you do if he raises you? This suggests a very strong hand so you have to let go of your marginal hands and lost a bet, you would not have lost if you were in position.<br /> <br /> Hand protection is not necessary if you have a good, almost certainly winning hand. Let the villains bluf! So calling is most effective.<br /> If you have a hand that would lose if a scare card arrives you need to protect your hand by betting/raising. By raising you give villains who have not yet entered the pot very bad pot-odds. By doing so you offer them the opportunity to make mistakes. Their mistakes are your gain.<br /> <br /> Tight aggressive is a style in which you avoid tough decisions on later streets. Loose aggressive means making the right decisions in marginal situations. Those are not the spots were an inexperienced player wants to be in.

#37 Cimbute, 19 Feb 12 23:05

Probably the best explanation on what Tight Aggressive style is I've ever heard. Nice.

#38 traumticaces, 13 Mar 12 13:32

great info

#39 cakl14, 05 Jun 12 15:01

great for start

#40 lothias, 17 Jun 12 01:35

all there

#41 Zetai, 25 Jun 12 08:43

Thanks

#42 jovanaeric, 24 Oct 12 15:48

Thanks!

#43 luckyme44, 20 Nov 12 15:51

cool. I prefer a slightly more complex lag style most of the time depending on table dynamic. Helps to get paid off big but also tougher to play as you have to know when to fold.. Easier to implement in SH games.

#44 ellamcc, 28 Dec 12 22:14

Read and understood - helpful starting hands chart as well! I also love quizzes.

#45 Matorzinho, 01 Jun 13 18:09

ok

#46 lollo1588, 27 Jul 13 11:47

thanks this article.

#47 kanpoker, 01 Nov 13 04:15

Bankroll is very importance

#48 PookieBear, 28 Jan 14 04:04

great reminder, thx

#49 tinetotRNMD, 04 Feb 14 16:12

ok

#50 ILuvUSD, 05 Mar 14 17:11

Summary:<br /> <br /> 1. BSS bankroll rules:<br /> * Always bring 100BBs(1 buyin) to a table.<br /> * Over 25 buyins of the next higher level, go upgrade 1 level.<br /> * Left only 25 buyins or less of the next lower level, downgrade 1 level.<br /> <br /> 2. TAG is a winning style in BSS:<br /> * Tight<br /> * Aggression<br /> * Position

#51 rosieplays, 08 Mar 14 05:00

this will be a nice switch from sss!

#52 Chalarm, 20 Jul 14 08:32

great

#53 scotty837, 21 Jul 14 12:43

BRM is law

#54 chipeater84, 28 Jul 14 20:44

nice

#57 JurgisLec, 18 Aug 14 11:34

very useful for newbies

#58 Amph4ros, 20 Aug 14 17:52

nice job

#59 milo12, 23 Aug 14 15:33

nice

#60 sniegs99, 24 Aug 14 10:44

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92tDwMyn0pI

#61 biggood, 03 Sep 14 10:56

very helpful

#62 helvijsg, 04 Sep 14 20:03

pretty good sorted information

#63 potgeier2014, 07 Sep 14 23:25

Nice😁

#64 dane0230, 19 Sep 14 10:48

nice

#65 FacePoka, 20 Sep 14 10:38

Great pdf

#66 parke, 21 Sep 14 18:10

da da

#67 MichaelGotAA, 23 Sep 14 22:43

Good article. Ty

#68 catblank, 14 Oct 14 09:03

ok

#69 Phisixuk, 21 Oct 14 23:42

Very helpful indeed.

#70 JazzMonkey, 03 Nov 14 18:19

Thanks for this :)

#71 caitulanhratdep, 11 Nov 14 01:20

ok

#72 Zoegas30, 11 Nov 14 01:36

having fun

#73 Fantasy661, 11 Nov 14 12:12

Nicee

#74 yudh400, 22 Nov 14 15:56

cool

#75 iSoOwnYou, 28 Nov 14 14:38

Thanks useful article

#76 egzekutor8686, 02 Dec 14 13:56

;)

#77 pumpas13, 05 Dec 14 22:45

uhuu

#78 wanbi869, 19 Dec 14 03:46

uchhh

#79 Knobs1, 21 Dec 14 18:01

bbuchh

#80 charismatic101, 24 Dec 14 09:54

Great info

#81 KosttuxxRNMD, 30 Dec 14 10:28

thanks

#82 lreedul123, 04 Jan 15 16:52

really good lesson for me

#83 eddymurphy, 11 Jan 15 03:04

really nice guide for new players

#84 JLBsot92, 12 Jan 15 10:35

Great article for beginners thank you

#85 nis547, 13 Jan 15 16:44

so much grinding till i can move to 2/4!

#86 Ksped84, 20 Jan 15 10:13

nice

#87 zuki14, 20 Jan 15 16:02

thanks

#88 KosttuxxRNMD, 25 Jan 15 20:21

gut

#89 kirane, 04 Feb 15 16:29

handy basics on BR managemen

#90 Eytan587, 09 Feb 15 13:52

If someone play position I am eating him in early position with aa or kk

#91 thewinemaker, 20 Feb 15 04:11

I have been playing for nearly 3 years and have decided to go back for basic training due to some missed training through books. As to ur comment Eytan587, I have lost more than one hand with A's & K's when someone in late position or button out drew me with a a straight, or flush or a lower set. They are not always as they appear. 😊Any way, spent the afternoon going over some of your basic lessons. Would not be broke if I had had these to start with. Looking forward to many more afternoons on your lessons. Lol

#92 thewinemaker, 20 Feb 15 04:11

I have been playing for nearly 3 years and have decided to go back for basic training due to some missed training through books. As to ur comment Eytan587, I have lost more than one hand with A's & K's when someone in late position or button out drew me with a a straight, or flush or a lower set. They are not always as they appear. 😊Any way, spent the afternoon going over some of your basic lessons. Would not be broke if I had had these to start with. Looking forward to many more afternoons on your lessons. Lol

#93 ProCityPusher, 20 Feb 15 07:15

Brilliant

#94 MaricaPlavusa, 25 Feb 15 14:38

:)

#95 simegi30, 02 Mar 15 13:33

all true<br /> Verry good article !!!

#96 almarod, 06 Mar 15 00:34

too easy

#97 callback, 06 Mar 15 09:00

yahoo

#98 AlexInHell, 06 Mar 15 09:59

Very helpful, thx!!!

#99 StrategyLofthouse, 22 Mar 15 13:27

These basics should always be remembered even when you become an experienced player.

#100 SmokinSammy2, 25 Mar 15 04:10

good advice

#101 TrolliEske, 28 Mar 15 02:27

thanks

#102 mirth, 28 Mar 15 17:11

money management has been my problem for a while, but after these articles, i will take it to heart.

#103 RagaisisMindaugas, 30 Mar 15 15:10

very usefull information

#104 HammerFan666, 03 Apr 15 09:45

Thank you.

#105 jjhunnybunsz, 05 Apr 15 10:05

Good lesson even for players who have had much experience playing online poker!

#106 Bignasty, 05 Apr 15 19:45

Very informative,thanks

#107 Genncy, 28 Apr 15 12:26

cool

#108 vaso014, 09 May 15 19:57

nh

#109 terrymoserie, 17 May 15 08:39

Ty

#110 TommyMcRock, 23 May 15 08:47

"Click here to download the chart!" link isn't working for me. is there anywhere else it can be downloaded from?

#111 offo11, 11 Jun 15 08:41

great!

#112 Karla9516, 14 Jun 15 23:22

Thanks. Long way to go

#113 Xandar82, 21 Jun 15 11:18

Thanks very usefull.

#114 haboul, 26 Jun 15 11:59

wweee

#115 R3DINK, 04 Jul 15 19:38

Gimme the ticket

#116 oliBT, 20 Jul 15 14:38

thx

#117 Dorri120183, 23 Jul 15 14:23

thx

#118 AskewD, 23 Jul 15 20:00

Nailing down the basics.

#119 4FT3R, 23 Jul 15 23:32

very good

#120 gandosh, 10 Sep 15 05:34

thx

#121 surabaya1209, 02 Oct 15 09:32

Mark this poker Article as .........

#122 PacMan91, 16 Oct 15 10:25

what about people who play with 15 buyins?

#123 domnabby, 16 Oct 15 14:36

like

#124 Rfrancia, 20 Oct 15 05:51

Thanks very much!I'm a true raw beginner and I understood this.

#125 joon420, 25 Oct 15 09:20

Key Information for amateurs

#126 Berna888, 28 Oct 15 19:56

ok

#127 moou1126, 01 Nov 15 06:37

ok good

#128 minsa0123, 11 Nov 15 09:25

ok

#129 dinkus123, 15 Nov 15 18:19

lol

#130 vasilecezar, 18 Nov 15 16:11

thanks !

#131 samooplodilac, 22 Nov 15 14:30

nicee

#132 mmatura, 23 Nov 15 21:55

nice

#133 p42121, 06 Dec 15 16:59

great

#134 xxxpokerxxx1, 10 Dec 15 21:57

ty

#135 darkphil99, 11 Dec 15 19:10

ty so much

#136 StrategyLofthouse, 18 Dec 15 19:50

As you move up the limits it is important to adapt your playing style, but don't forget basic strategy

#137 kalu018, 21 Dec 15 14:42

nice articles !

#138 Levvfc, 08 Jan 16 19:54

good

#139 makis109, 17 Jan 16 17:38

ty

#140 edison23041989, 19 Jan 16 07:19

good lesson

#141 bubamarasr, 20 Jan 16 18:04

Read it. Thank you.

#142 setyaida, 25 Jan 16 10:58

Good idea...thanks

#143 Milaiho, 27 Jan 16 13:35

Important stuff

#144 Deivionuts, 29 Jan 16 08:20

Lietuviu yra?

#145 chicongacc, 30 Jan 16 22:21

ok

#146 Misterbimce, 03 Feb 16 01:54

ok

#147 leononeRNMD, 03 Feb 16 20:40

git

#148 NgNet, 04 Feb 16 07:59

Good ideas ;)

#149 Tiamat57, 08 Feb 16 21:11

классная статья

#150 Nhoxalone, 18 Feb 16 15:49

ok

#151 assadman182, 19 Feb 16 05:54

Nice!

#152 Dallice738, 22 Feb 16 03:04

Well Written. Very Concise but comprehensive.

#153 klauber, 24 Feb 16 01:36

ok tank you

#154 IgorkaIPATi4, 06 Mar 16 15:58

ty

#155 banti0605, 13 Mar 16 12:50

ok

#156 stubborn2802, 20 Mar 16 09:11

nice

#157 soukinh, 30 Mar 16 00:53

cool

#158 inqidy, 30 Mar 16 11:47

thanks

#159 MARTINA900, 31 Mar 16 16:36

nice article :))))))))) something to learn :))))) keep posting;)

#160 tokomoney, 03 Apr 16 16:38

very good article : )) thank's

#161 Heaventroops, 04 Apr 16 20:44

Good stuff..

#162 Fortizr, 05 Apr 16 16:56

the best one

#163 pharaonsgold, 07 Apr 16 00:27

very good

#164 NilAkas588, 17 Apr 16 04:30

best

#165 mufchzv, 17 Apr 16 18:23

good article :)

#166 Nhoxalone, 18 Apr 16 09:02

thanks you

#167 ricke84, 19 Apr 16 05:30

Very good article. thx

#168 msp3101, 19 Apr 16 17:23

good stuff ta

#169 djlevels25, 21 Apr 16 19:05

nice

#170 almarod, 25 Apr 16 09:34

Just got to stick to bank roll managment

#171 natanelnagar, 26 Apr 16 12:12

ok ty

#172 Bradylicious, 26 Apr 16 12:51

Easy

#173 stakito, 01 May 16 07:58

Okay i will waiting for this tour so hope have good day all

#174 paborito1385, 02 May 16 11:27

relax

#175 Vforr, 02 May 16 22:49

nice

#176 levvvani, 06 May 16 12:01

nice article, helpfull for beginers!

#177 ragarda, 06 May 16 23:03

wow

#178 TheReverend, 07 May 16 07:27

Nice article

#179 TetonSouix, 16 May 16 01:35

good beginner article

#180 joe616, 17 May 16 08:43

ok

#181 waterbar1860, 23 May 16 22:14

good and very nice...

#182 Arissetyaw, 24 May 16 02:21

just starting learning

#183 hadib10604, 01 Jun 16 02:40

nice

#184 armorrrat, 08 Jun 16 15:21

Very pro and useful.

#185 borisbrez, 16 Jun 16 16:23

good

#186 iwan011, 21 Jun 16 19:40

ok

#187 Vilius7, 03 Jul 16 16:29

nice

#188 rkoms, 20 Jul 16 11:50

lol

#189 Turalleri, 26 Jul 16 22:01

well well...

#190 daguatero, 01 Aug 16 13:08

usfull stuff!

#191 Mazais7777777, 01 Aug 16 15:27

lets play to the big monay 1c/2c after basic lessen :D

#192 Lakkeger, 06 Aug 16 10:42

Great article, good advices.

#193 GamBrit, 07 Aug 16 17:05

My Biggest Mistake Every Time I've Played Jumping Stakes Without The Right Bankroll To Back It Thanks To This Article I Know It's Key To Put A Stop To That

#194 Robinsko, 09 Aug 16 18:32

ob

#195 tmannie, 13 Aug 16 09:39

I would like to check on something , for BSS strategy preflop we use the BSS starting chart,<br /> but for after the flop we revert to the Small Stack strategy. Is this correct., so the difference between the two strategies is only the starting charts which work a bit differently<br /> Thanks

#196 maestrue, 14 Aug 16 01:57

is the best

#197 kimminho, 15 Aug 16 06:26

hi thanks

#198 dill22, 06 Sep 16 22:09

cool danke

#199 ericaveronica, 12 Sep 16 12:19

Estou iniciando no poker, e achei bem interessante o artigo, tenho certeza que vai me ajudar muito no meu aprendizado.

#200 pv2503, 13 Sep 16 15:35

We often search where we went wrong in poker. Turns out the biggest mistake was the very first step: Bankroll Management :)

#201 BukiPsy, 15 Sep 16 18:11

nice one.

#202 BossBrancher, 15 Sep 16 23:59

Top tips.

#203 grymasLosu, 02 Oct 16 10:20

nh

#204 PokerrBabe, 06 Oct 16 23:23

Cool artivle

#205 PokerrBabe, 06 Oct 16 23:23

Cool article *

#206 Daworm420, 20 Oct 16 16:17

nice!

#207 brennajade, 26 Oct 16 02:56

impressive

#208 adisalibabic, 27 Oct 16 00:42

good advices

#209 terrson1990, 01 Nov 16 19:09

nice

#210 swagbeamlasr, 03 Nov 16 17:56

swagg

#211 HoangNgocSon, 10 Nov 16 06:04

9

#212 Kahuna26, 13 Nov 16 14:20

Generic but nice article.

#213 spicykamut, 13 Nov 16 17:15

make sens

#214 Coldline64, 21 Nov 16 19:56

Ok

#215 lukaskan, 26 Nov 16 11:25

didnt learn much new but this is very important because i see many players joining tables with only like 10 buy ins.

#216 azwan77, 02 Dec 16 21:24

Nice

#217 freakz101QQ, 06 Dec 16 18:47

Important advice