How to Stay Afloat in a Slow Game

When playing poker, sometimes you'll find yourself getting a streak of poor hands or draws. They're not enough to get you completely knocked out of the game, but they're not allowing you to pad your chip stack, either. As the game progresses, your chip stack will decrease, leaving you vulnerable. At some point, you'll need to do some calculations to figure out how to stay afloat.

Calculating for M

An "M" ration is basically just a determination of the overall value of your chip stack in relation to those of other players. Calculating for an M ratio can help you get out of a tricky situation. Typically, it will require you to make a risky gamble with your remaining holdings, especially if your M value is low, but it will also allow you to stay in the game.

Colored Zones

When the valued ratio of your chip stack (M) is greater than 20, you can continue to play as you normally would. This is considered a healthy reserve, and is referred to as the Green Zone. When M is greater than 10 but less than 20, you're in the Yellow Zone, and you'll have to play more aggressively to stay in the game. As your stack decreases, your zone will become orange and then red--at which point you'll need to gamble all of your chips.

In short, an M calculation helps you analyze the value of your stack to help you decide which move you should make. To stay afloat, you'll just want to avoid the Red Zone, and the Dead Zone--where your reserves are worth less than 1.