July 21 2009

One excellent way to get used to cash play from an SNG background, without worrying about pot control, is to ‘short-stack’. This means to buy into a cash game with the minimum buy-in, usually a 20 big blind stack. Deep-stack cash players often get upset at short-stackers, because you’re forcing them to play for shallower effective stacks than they would like. There are plenty of tables requiring higher minimum buy-ins that these players can patronise.

If your edge is bigger playing with a short stack, then you should absolutely do so. The types of decisions you’ll be faced with as a short-stacker are similar to those during the middle-to-late phase of a sit-n-go. Resteals are key. For instance, suppose you are in the small blind holding a pair of nines. The hijack raises and the button calls. In a deep-stacked situation, you would have to decide whether to call or raise, and then decide on a plan for each of the remaining streets. With a stack of 20 BB, however, the decision is simple: Go all-in pre-flop and don’t look back.

In summary, short-stacking is a good way to transition from SNGs to cash no- limit hold’em. Once you are ready to play with deeper stacks, start by playing a tight-aggressive style, sticking with quality starting hands, even though your game may feature winning loose-aggressive players.

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Remember to have a plan for the entire hand. If you don’t want to play for all your chips with a one-pair hand, you might have to check and call where you would normally bet and raise playing a sit-n-go. And lastly, never stop searching for the most profitable table. You win money in any game from the mistakes your opponents make, and weaker players will always make more mistakes.