Short Stacking Strategy

Short Stacking is a poker term

Short Stacking is term meaning ‘to buy in for less than the table maximum’. It’s usually considered to be 20bb (big blinds). The short stacking style is great way to make money on a somewhat limited bankroll whilst still allowing you to improve at the desired discipline of Poker.

The whole concept of online poker is to move up through the limits as quickly as possible (or as bankroll/skill will allow) in an attempt to master the game and make maximum profits in relation to your ability. However, it is imperative that you perform solid Bankroll Management AND seikou knowhow as you do so! You will soon realize that Bankroll Management is the key to success and without it; you likely won’t make a penny at the game.

A good rule of thumb in any form of Poker, but especially SSS NLHE (No Limit Hold’em), is the 30 buy in rule. Basically meaning you need 30 bi’s for a certain level before you even think about moving up!


In order to play 50nl (.25/.50c) you will buy in for $10 (20%). So, your bankroll will have to be 30bi’s x $10 = $300

In order to play 100nl (.50/$1) you will buy in for $20 (20%). So, your bankroll will have to be 30bi’s x $20 = $600

You need to know when to move up or down. If you stay a level too long whilst losing money, you will go broke, and quickly!

The next step is working out if you are going to play FR (Full ring i.e. 9/10 seater tables) or 6 max (6 seater tables). This decision is entirely up to you, but you will need to adjust accordingly to which ever variant of the game you decide.

First off we are looking to raise small. Opening for 2.5bb/3bb is more than sufficient for what we want to achieve from our SSS. 4xing or just open shoving as a SSS is really bad. Although don’t be surprised to see people still adopt this strategy on your poker travels.

Short stacking is not just push or fold. You can open for 2.5bb, 1/2 pot cbet (continuation bet) and then fold. If you make a hand you’ll always have a reasonable SPR (stack to pot ratio) for stacking off, and people don’t have implied odds to draw out on you. The regulars at that level won’t call you much as they understand that trying to outplay a 20bb stack is pointless, but you can have fun playing a little poker with the fish.

Auto-reload! Always keep your stack topped up to 20bb.

Steal against people who don’t defend their blinds; steal less against aggro players but shove over their 3bets with a greater proportion of your range until they adjust. Resteal from the button and blinds against frequent stealers. PPs and high card strength are good, restealing with A4o or QTs is better than 56s or other implied odds hands deep-stacked players like to 3bet with sometimes.

Play tight from EP (Early Position). Your range should be AJ+, 88+, QK for the first 2 seats of 6max. Obviously in the alter positions you can open these ranges and adjust to your opponents.

Short stacking is a lot more like real poker than people imagine. Obviously shallow stacks cut out a large element of skill; but you’ve still got to respect position and consider equity against steal and re-steal ranges in late position battles.