How to Make the Most of a Small Stack

Most players find themselves with a small stack at some point during a poker tournament. Due to the ebb and flow of the game, this is almost inevitable. The most successful players will know how to handle the small stack though, and make the most of their limited options.

The Options

Basically, there are only two things you can do when you find yourself with a small stack: you can fold, or you can go all in. If you have any intention of staying in the game, obviously folding is not a real option. Thus, gambling all of your chips presents you with the best chances of staying afloat, since it forces other players to decide whether they too want to make a big risk.

What Not to Do

One of the most ineffective things you can do when you have a small stack is to make a bet that is less than the total value of your chip stack. If you do this, you'll be left with such a minimal amount of chips that it's almost guaranteed that you'll be forced out in the next round. Essentially, you've signed your own death warrant.

When you find yourself with a small stack, your goal should be to increase your chip value and get out of that position as fast as possible. Technically, the small stack is located in the Red Zone, which is one step away from the Dead Zone: a place you do not want to be.