If playing with deep stacks (150bb+) makes you feel anxious or confused, this article will make your life easier.
You’re about to learn how to:
- Adjust your preflop bet sizing when deep stacked.
- Choose the correct hands to 3-bet and 4-bet when deep stacked.
- Adjust your postflop game plan when deep stacked.
Let’s dive in!
What is Deep Stack Poker?
A deep stack can refer to having a large stack in a cash game, typically more than 100 big blinds, as well as to a tournament with a starting stack that is relatively high when compared to the blinds and antes. Thus, these tournaments are oftentimes referred to as deep stack tournaments.
Preflop Bet Sizings
When it comes to open-raising preflop, your sizings should remain the same as when you’re playing 100 big blinds deep. If you normally raise to 2.5 big blinds, raise to 2.5 big blinds. If you normally raise to 4 big blinds, raise to 4 big blinds. And so on.
Your 3-bet sizes should also be the same when you’re in position. When you are the 3-bettor in position, you will have a huge advantage throughout the hand because you always get to act last. This means that you do not need to change your 3-bet sizing because you actually want your opponent to get to the flop with a wide range in a high stack-to-pot ratio situation. This situation will be very hard for him to navigate postflop.
Your 3-bet sizes should be smaller when out of position. If your opponent with a 200 big blind stack is opening to 2.5 big blinds, for example, then making it 8 big blinds instead of the more standard 9 big blinds is a good adjustment. This reduces the pot size, which mitigates your opponent’s positional advantage (because they win more of a smaller pot).
The same concepts hold true when 4-betting. You will want to slightly decrease your sizing when out of position and keep it the same (or increase it slightly) when playing in position.
When you 3-bet in position, you don’t need to change your range at all. It’s your out of position opponent that has to make big adjustments.
When you 3-bet out of position, however, you need to make some changes to your 3-betting range:
First, it makes sense to polarize your range more since you are using a larger 3-bet size and you should avoid getting into super big pots with your medium-strength hands.
You should also 3-bet with more suited connectors to better your range’s board coverage. This makes life a lot easier on board runouts that are disadvantageous for your typical 3-betting range. You don’t want to be forced to call off 200 big blinds on the river with an overpair because it’s the top of your range on a 6♦ 5♣ 2♠ T♦ 3♣ board. 3-betting with suited connectors becomes a viable adjustment to avoid this and similar problems.
Suited Ax hands remain just as, if not more valuable because they can win extremely big pots in flush vs flush situations. So, you should happily continue to 3-bet with them.
Note: According to the Poker Snowie solver, you can still use the same 3-betting range at 100 big blinds and 300+ big blinds deep. The stack depth doesn’t make a big difference in Poker Snowie’s preflop solutions. From a human player’s point of view, however, you will probably find it easier to tighten up to avoid making mistakes in tough spots.
When it comes to your 4-betting ranges, you don’t have to raise light for value. This is true for both in position and out of position, but for different reasons.
When you face a 3-bet in position, you should be happy to call more often as it puts your opponent into this tough postflop spot (playing out of position with a high stack-to-pot ratio). Thus, flat-calling the premium hands worse than KK (QQ, AK) is useful.
When you face a 3-bet out of position, you want to minimize your disadvantages and protect your ranges. Thus flat-calling the premium hands worse than KK (QQ, AK) is best.
You can also make a case for flatting AA and KK, depending on how deep you actually are and how aggressive your opponent will play postflop. You should be less likely to 4-bet AA and KK as you get deeper and against aggressive players who will pile chips into the pot postflop.
The biggest postflop adjustment should be made when you’re in a 3-bet pot as the preflop raiser out of position. This is the most important deep stack adjustment because this is where the biggest stack-to-pot ratio change occurs.
Since you’re so much deeper in these pots, you need to play a slightly more defensive strategy. This means you’ll have to do more checking, more calling, less betting, and less check-raising. This will be an especially valuable adjustment against aggressive opponents that will relentlessly attack your perceived capped ranges.
In the other postflop spots, like 4-bet pots or 3-bet pots in position as the preflop raiser, your strategy shouldn’t change much at all.
Playing deep stacked can be daunting, but it can also be a walk in the park depending on how you set yourself up from preflop. By making the adjustments discussed here, you will be able to navigate with confidence and put your opponents in tougher spots.
That’s all for this article! I hope you enjoyed it and that you’ve found it useful.
Want more? Read The Only Two Reasons to Bet in Poker (Every Other Reason is Wrong).
Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!
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