Playing Poker Medium Stacked

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Playing medium stacked in a tournament shouldn’t signify the impending doom of elimination. Although, when a dent is made in a player’s stack, they panic and find themselves quickly playing a short stack, then quickly getting in their rental cars and driving back to their hotel. This can be avoided, but for several players it will require the necessity to get outside of their comfort zone, and play aggressively.

Dependent on the game you’re playing in, you’ll want to make the appropriate decisions. You’re obviously going to play a medium stack in Fixed-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo differently than the same stack in No-Limit Texas Hold ‘em. The similarities will lie in how you effectively manage the amount of chips you have left. There is no reason to get incredibly uptight and passive with your play. If you got nailed on a bad beat, and you’ve changed your style of play to protect your stack, then you’re really on the verge of going on tilt. Find a way to contract a bit of amnesia and get anything out of your head that is a distraction to your focus. You will need to be aggressive at the right times to reconstruct your stack up to skyscraper heights.

You never want to worry about the cards. Let them fall as they may. Stay focused on the other players. In this position, realize that you may be seen as vulnerable, and it should offer you a perfect opportunity to attack. Most will think you are in playing a protective defense, and you should take advantage of this by going on the offensive as soon as you get the opportunity. If your starting hands are kind, then get in the game, and see if you can get others to come along with you. Given the flop you have to make the decision of whether or not you want to fill the pot, or get out. You don’t want to become a calling station unless you are keeping others in the game to help the pot grow. Playing your opponents patiently, opposed to the cards, can allow for you to steadily rebuild your stack.

Steal the blinds when you can. If the blinds are heading your way, see if you can make some bold plays to grab them, and make your stack look that much better. At this point, the other players may think they smell your blood in the water, but use that to your advantage, and potentially they may make a mistake in being overly aggressive! If the blinds are headed your way, do your best to choose the strongest starting hand and take what you can with it. This way, when you post your blind, you aren’t taking anything from your already depleted funds.

Finally, if the opportunity arises and you are playing a no-limit game, consider the move of going all in. This is generally only a move you want to make if you find your stack in a continued state of declination. If you decide to boldly go all in, don’t do it unwisely. If you feel you can steal something and have the strength in your pocket to back it up, again, consider it. This is a risky move, and should only be used when you can do so aggressively and confidently. When playing with a medium stack, you have two possible ways to go; to the short side, or to the full side. The end of the tournament is your finish line.

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