What is Short Stack?
A short stack is a small pile of chips, most usually the smallest at the table. To be ‘short-stacked’ means that a player is running low on playing funds. Some players will always buy in on a short stack to make the most of all-in play advantages – known as the ‘short stack strategy’ – but for most the short stack is a sign that fortunes have turned and the game is not going in their favor. Short stack play is risky, as it often requires putting up the whole hand, but it also comes with a set of advantages for the player who is short stacked.
Short Stack Explained
In poker and other games that use chips to wager, a short stack is any small pile of chips or the smallest pile of chips at the table. The opposite of a short stack is a ‘deep stack’ – either any large pile or the most chips on the table. If a player is ‘short stacked’, they are running low on chips. A player might also refer to themselves as ‘the short stack’, meaning that they had the least chips during a certain point in play or throughout the whole game.
Some poker players will use what is known as a ‘short stack strategy’. This involves playing with a short stack throughout at a relatively high-stakes tables and making all-in plays early. This can force the hand of others by intimidating them into folding, and it allows the player to see later cards on the turn without having to raise bets in the process. There are more risks in short stack play and a player can have their funds cleared out very quickly, but this tight style can also produce a profit for a sensible and logical gambling player.