2021 World Series of Poker Europe

Playing with Deep Stacks: Tips, Tricks, and Adjustments That Win

Playing with Deep Stacks: Tips, Tricks, and Adjustments That Win

An article by Mike Brady.

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 post-flop game plan when deep stacked.

Deep stacks are very common in live poker games, so if you frequently play live games, I recommend bookmarking this one.

Let’s dive in!

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 four big blinds, raise to four big blinds. And so on.

You can raise even bigger depending on how deep stacked both of you are.

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 post-flop.

Your 3-bet sizes should be larger 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 eleven big blinds instead of the more standard nine big blinds is a good adjustment. You can raise even bigger depending on how deep stacked both of you are.

Using a larger 3-bet size decreases the stack-to-pot ratio (which mitigates your positional disadvantage) and prevents your opponent from being able to profitably call with a wide range.

The same concepts hold true when 4-betting. You will want to slightly increase your sizing when out of position and keep it the same when playing in position.

3-Betting Ranges

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. This will also help you avoid getting into super big pots with your medium-strength hands.

it makes sense to polarize your range more since you are using a larger 3-bet size.

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. For example, when the board runs out {6-Diamonds}{5-Clubs}{2-Spades}{10-Diamonds}{3-Clubs}, it will be tough for you to have better than an overpair if you only 3-bet a strong, high card-heavy range preflop. 3-betting with suited connectors becomes a viable adjustment to avoid this and similar problems.

Suited {a-}{x-} hands remain just as, if not more valuable because they can win extremely big pots in flush versus flush situations. You should happily continue to 3-bet with them.

Note: According to the PokerSnowie 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 PokerSnowie’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.

4-Betting Ranges

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 play, 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 a tough post-flop spot (playing out of position with a high stack-to-pot ratio.) Thus, flat-calling versus a 3-bet with the premium hands worse than {k-}{k-} ({q-}{q-}, {a-}{k-}) is useful.

When you face a 3-bet out of position, you want to minimize your disadvantages and protect your ranges. Thus, flat-calling with the premium hands worse than {k-}{k-} ({q-}{q-}, {a-}{k-}) is best.

you’ll have to do more checking, more calling, less betting, and less check-raising.

You can also make a case for flatting {a-}{a-} and {k-}{k-}, depending on how deep you actually are and how aggressive your opponent will play post-flop. You should be less likely to 4-bet {a-}{a-} and {k-}{k-} as you get deeper and/or if you’re against an aggressive player who will pile chips into the pot post-flop.

Postflop Strategy

The biggest post-flop adjustment should be made when you’re in a 3-bet pot as the preflop raiser out of position.

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.

This is the most important deep stack adjustment because this is where the biggest stack-to-pot ratio change occurs.

In the other post-flop spots, like 4-bet pots or 3-bet pots in position as the preflop raiser, your strategy shouldn’t change much at all.

Final Thoughts

Playing deep-stacked can be daunting, but it can also be a walk in the park depending on how you set yourself up 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’ve enjoyed it and 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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Sponsor generated content by Upswing Poker written by Mike Brady.

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