All The Aces Daily Poker Column

Big Poker Stacks

Why you should play poker with a big stack of poker chips

Big Poker Stack - always play with the biggest stack of poker chips that you've got available

Here’s a good simple tip to use in your first few games of online poker. Before joining a game watch several tables to see what the average buy-in is for that table. When you have established the buy-in, join that game with at least TWICE that amount. If it’s a $5-$10 game of Texas Hold’em and the buy-in is $400, arrive at the table with $800.  This creates uncertainty among the players at the table. It has always been true in traditional “live” poker that when someone sits down at a table for the first time with a big stack, the majority assumption is: Here’s a High Roller. Of course, it’s not always true, but it creates a certain amount of respect for the player concerned that can give an edge at crucial moments during a hand.

The fact that you arrive with an impressive stack doesn’t mean you have to play big all the time and take large risks. A high roller wouldn’t do that anyway. Play aggressive on your premium hands and keep people at the table guessing. You’re just trying to keep everyone off balance. The presence of a sizeable stack reminds all at the table that you might use it at any moment. If the opposition don’t know what you’re going to do, they’re likely to choose caution, which is your edge. Play the waiting game. Maybe play some lesser hole cards from late betting positions and try a bluff very occasionally, but in the main, let the cards dictate the use of your ample funds.

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Joining a game with a big stack carries another important benefit with it. A lot of sites restrict the amount of chips you can re-purchase if you hit a downward streak and lose all of your stack during a bad run. This is much more likely if you have a very tight, small stack at the outset. By starting well funded you ensure you can play through a bad run and regain your position.

Above all, don’t use a big stack to make you impatient to enter a game. You don’t have to post a blind right away just so you can start playing. Wait for position. Watch for a while and wait for the big blind to reach you. Enter the fray with good timing and well funded. You’ll be giving off all of the correct intimidating vibes. Once you’re in the game under your own terms, watch to see how other players enter. It can tell you a lot. Finally, if you’re starting out playing today do take the time to try a tutorial on It won’t cost you anything, but for a beginner, it may prove priceless.

ALL THE ACES poker column:
Tuesday, November
 1, 2005: 
Big Poker Chip Stacks