Sunday, December 27, 2009

Analyzing NLHE:TAP Concept 57

From No Limit Hold 'em: Theory and Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller.

Concept No. 57: Don't be fooled by players who have giant amounts of cash in front of them.

Sklansky and Miller suggest in their discussion that players who buy in for exorbitant amounts often do so in order to trick other players into thinking that they will be willing to lose their entire stacks, thus enticing these other players to play too loosely. This doesn't fit my experience at all. In my experience, players who buy in deep do so either for mundane strategic reasons (they feel they can outplay the other players at the table with deep stacks) or in order to gain a psychological advantage (either they want to intimidate the shorter stacks, or they want to avoid feeling intimidated). I don't think anyone buys in deep in order to trick players into gambling with them more.

The issue of whether it really is strategically advantageous to buy in deep is something I've addressed in posts a few times before. While many people are intimidated by playing against bigger stacks and believe they are at a disadvantage, I believe it is actually an advantage to have a smaller stack at a full table. It's possible that in certain games you will have higher expectation if you have a big stack, but this is only if you are far superior to your opponents. If everyone plays about the same, players with smaller stacks should be expected to do better.


Dave said...

I'll give Team Sklansky some credit on this one. I didn't really see what they were talking about until I stayed in Vegas during the 09 WSOP.

At some of the smaller games a few guys would buy in for extreme amounts. Like the 2-5 (later 5-5) pot limit omaha game where the min buy in would be $200. The average buy in was $400 to 1000, but a couple of guys would buy in for $3000, with just an obscene amount of chips and cash on this small guy. They would invariably turn out to be the tightest, most non gamblingest players in the entire room. The would TALK a good game tho.

This isn't something that I would see here in LA, mostly because the games are capped. But even in uncapped games like $500+, maybe someone would buy in for $2000 to $5000, but never the $10,000 or $20,000 at a table with $2k average stacks like I say last summer in Vegas. And that money would NEVER get in play. These guys would lay down sets and wraps.

Keith said...

Interesting... I suppose I have a narrow perspective on what types of players are out there because I play mostly with the same people every day at the Bike.