Small Stack Strategy Heads Up

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An Inconvenient Truth About Small Stack Strategy:

When your small stack in heads up you’re in an extremely unfortunate position. Whether you optimize small stack strategy or not, you’re still more likely to lose the match then inveigle your way back into the hot seat playing perfectly.

Maths of Small Stack HU

Realistically, in order to escape your small stack situation you’ll have to double up about 3 times in row without losing.  If you lose just once, you relinquish the match.  Now looking at the maths of going all-in as a short stack, even if you shove your chips as 80% favorite all 3 times; the chances of winning 3 times in a row are barely 50%.   Now considering how many times you’ll have to move all in and the amount of hands and opportunities the big stack can has until he calls you, you’re inevitably not going to be 80% favorite in all 3 times.

If we consider what could realistically happen, let’s say you move all in 3 times only 50% favorite on average.  This gives you a very marginal 12.5% chance of recovering from small stack position.  Note that this figure doesn’t even take into account beating your opponent.  It’s just about getting to the global original position (beginning position).

Small Stack Strategy Heads Up

Small stack strategy at heads up is very simple.  You have to go all in preflop and hope to get lucky.  You shouldn’t really be playing flops because you can’t handle the variance of missing and being forced to fold from a continuation bet or bluff.

If you ever find yourself with a stack of 10BB or less, you need to go all in preflop with the top 50% of hands.  This will usually include any hand with face cards, pockets or suited connectors.  In a position with 25-30BB, your small stack heads up strategy should include going all in with your top 75% of hands preflop.  This will include two face cards, pocket pairs, high suited connectors or even high aces.

Now Read: Big Stack Heads Up Strategy

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