Deep Stacked NL Holdem â€“ The True Face of the Game
Deep stack Holdem events are more and more frequent, although the average online poker player may still end up never having to face such a tournament structure. The reason many of the high buy-in, high profile live events feature deep stacks is that players complained in the past that regular starting stacks leave too much room for the luck factor in the tournament. Deep stacks are basically a guarantee that the skill factor is what ultimately decides the outcome. Deep stacked play is much more complex from a strategy-perspective. Each and every street will be played for and putting an end to the hostilities in a hand through an all-in will be much less of an option. Every move is like a chess move: it has repercussions for the remainder of the hand and there’s not getting away from its consequences.
Deep stacked poker (defined as stacks larger than 200 BBs), is all about post-flop play, and when we say post-flop play, we mean the turn and the river too. In shorter-stacked poker, betting starts preflop and it explodes after the flop. Usually, by the time the turn falls, those who are still in the hand are pot committed thus the river becomes a card that doesn’t generate any active betting.
In deep-stacked poker, the river is a much more menacing presence, which will require your full attention. The river card will find the pot big and players in possession of plenty more chips to get into the middle. The stakes are high and no one is done trying to outwit the opposition.
Skilled players love deep-stacked poker. They can maximize the edges given to them by their superior poker skills. Deep stacked events are the true proof that poker is indeed a game of skill and not one of luck.
Position is important in poker regardless of the betting structure, the poker variant or the size of the stacks involved. In deep stacked poker – because of the intricacies of post-flop play – it takes on added significance. Because the active betting in the hand is drawn out all the way past the river, playing out of position will be a much lengthier and costlier ordeal. The tough spots in which out of position play lands you will be multiplied.
Starting hand values take a massive hit in deep-stacked poker. It’s part of the basic theory of poker that the smaller the blinds are in relation to the size of the stacks, the further down starting hand values plummet. There’s absolutely nothing new about that idea, Sklansky has made it very clear in his Theory of Poker. When short stacked, something like A,J will be stellar starting hand, well worth of shoving all-in on. On a deep stack though, this hand is a typical trap one: it wins small pots and it loses big ones.