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  • Being the Big Stack Bully

    Sunday, October 16th, 2011 by Ryan

So you’re playing in a big poker tournament, and you’ve taken down some big pots and hit a nice hot streak of cards. What a great feeling that is right? It’s always good to pick up as many chips as possible when you’re hitting the right cards, but one thing to remember is that there is no guarantee that your hot streak will continue on for even one more hand. This is why it’s so important to pick and choose your spots with the big stack, but more importantly to be aggressive and put the pressure back on your opponents. We’ll cover both of these more in-depth below, but there are a few ways to be sure that you can take advantage of getting that big chip stack; but also to be sure that you can keep the stack and even build on it. Let’s take a look at a few things to remember when you have a loaded stack.

*Aggressive Play*

Aggressive play can be tough when you don’t have a big stack, because three betting and raising opponents can put your stack at risk if you’re sitting short stacked or even with just an average stack. This is why you have the great advantage to be able to play a bit more loose and aggressive than you typically would be able to. As an example, say that you are in the small blind with 40,000 chips when your opponent on the button has 13,000, with blinds of 150/300. If your opponent raises it up to 800, you have multiple options here (regardless of your hand), thanks to your chip stack. Three betting is a great option as it puts your opponent under a lot of pressure where they may have to fold hands that they would typically play if there was no three bet.

*Playing the Bubble*

This is a personal favorite spot here. If you are on the money bubble and you are a big stack (even just at your table), it is a great spot to pick up some chips and build your stack for later in the event. Players will play incredibly tight right around the money, because the entire goal of a tournament is to last into the cash. This is why you should be raising, and re-raising much more than you normally would, especially if it puts pressure on an opponent and forces them to risk a good amount of their stack.

*Don’t Get Too Crazy*

This is one tip that is essentially completely the opposite of those listed above. Say that your opponent raises and you three bet, and your opponent then four bets you; if your hand isn’t very strong, and it will risk a good amount of your stack (even if it’s only 50% or more), be willing to lay down your hand. You have the big stack, but that doesn’t mean that you are going to get every player at the table to fold their hand every time. Sometimes the right move is to just cut your losses when you can, and avoid getting into a spot where you are way behind.

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