There are times that you will be the short stacker in the tournament so, learning how to play competitively even without a lot of chips, is necessary. You need to make a sizeable amount of change to your strategy if you hope to succeed in an MTT with a short stack. Even if you go into the tournament with a big stack, at some point you will find yourself with a short stack.
Short Stack Strategies
Tighten Up Pre-flop
This is almost inevitable if you hope to last long at the table. You will need to tighten up and carefully choose which hands to play pre-flop. Depending on the extent to which you are short-stacked, it is recommended that you play strictly premium hands. With such great hands and being first in the pot, you should always go in with a raise. Limping is less profitable than raising pre-flop so do not shy away from raising. Be careful not to play garbage hands because playing tight and aggressive is a crucial way to survive when you have a short stack.
Do Not Bet More than 50% of the Pot
In an instance where you are bluffing or just want your opponents to fold, there is no point betting over 50% of your stack, as you will put yourself in a difficult position if things go south. Your short stack is not enough to scare players with big stack off so there is no point trying to make a big bet.
Do Not Be Timid
You should play tight when you have a short stack. However, do not play too tight, as big stacks will take note and bully you throughout the tournament. Playing too tight will lead to you losing more chips as opposed to you actively trying to win more chips. Only raise to steal blinds or to gain values from calls to avoid opponents easily stealing your limps by isolating you. Even as you need to be cautious and play tight, be careful not to gift other players chips to increase their stack by folding too much.
Systematically Shove All-ins
This is an amazing strategy to implement when you have a short stack. This is a powerful weapon available in your arsenal against all opponents. You should continually hang this over their heads, and not only when you have an especially strong hand. Premium hands will not come as frequently as you’d like so waiting for them will gradually eat into your stack. Draws are also a perfect candidate to shove your stack in the middle. Take advantage of your opportunities, and get yourself out of the short stack position.
Using a short stack can be strenuous and isn’t the place you want to be. However, having a good strategy can go a long way in helping you stay profitable at every poker table. Another crucial strategy is to keep your spirit up no matter how much your stack decreases. You should never give up or give any indication that you’ve given up. A lot of players have gone ahead to the final table and even won it all with a short stack, and you could be next.