Beastin’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tszsrs-Re94&w=560&h=315]

The rich get richer, but why? In poker, the players with large chip stacks are able to apply more pressure to their shorter-stacked opponents. Consider having $100 vs. $10 and needing to pay a $1 fee. $1 is 10% of $10 but only 1% of $100. A mistake made for $1 is much more critical for the $10 amount than for the $100 amount. Today you will see an example of when to apply this additional pressure with a large stack or as we like to call it, “BEASTIN’”.

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I’m sitting on The Button (TB) holding Ad-Jd with $64,000. The blinds are $400/$800 so I have 80 big blinds, a large stack according to The Poker Model. Remember that a large stack is over 50 big blinds, a medium stack is between 21-50 big blinds, and a short stack is 20 big blinds or less. Classifying my stack into one of these three categories will help me determine my next move.

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Under The Gun+1 (UTG+1) raises to $1,600 and the action folds around to me. A-J is a call behind hand as long as I have over 20 big blinds, which I do. For this reason I make the call. The players on my left fold and we move to Phase #3 – Flop.

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The Flop comes 10s-5h-9c and my opponent makes a continuation bet of $2,200. The action is now on me. I have a bad hand here because I have 3rd pair or worse (Ace high). See below for my action options depending on my stack size according to The Poker Model:

  • Short stack (<$16,000): I would rarely be in this position with a short stack. With short stacks I want to be all-in or folding in Phase #2 – Pre-flop.
  • Medium stack ($16,000-$40,000): Fold. With a medium stack I should fold because I have a bad hand and the original raiser is betting into me.
  • Large stack ($40,000+): Fold or Raise. With a large stack The Poker Model gives you the option. Folding is fine because you will still have a large stack and can find spots later. Raising is an option because you can find out if your opponent really has a hand and not lose a large percentage of your stack. You will also raise with a good hand (to build the pot). With a mediocre hand you will call and try to get to The River cheaply as if you had a medium stack.   

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I choose to “beast” my opponent and make a 3-bet (raise) to $6,000 because I have a large stack and my opponent has a medium stack. If my opponent made a continuation bet with a bad hand then he will fold. If my opponent made this bet with a good hand then he will go all-in. It will be very had to call my raise with a mediocre hand because he will be approaching the short stack threshold if he calls. Because it is much more likely to have a bad hand than a good hand, this play should work more often than not.

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My opponent folds and I win the pot right now. The whole point of this play is to win the pot after flopping a bad hand. We’ll put our opponent to the test and learn if they have a good hand, knowing that they do not have the required chips to comfortably fight back. Remember that when you have a large stack you have the option to make this move. It does not mean you should do it every time! The last thing you want to do is bluff your large stack away. But if the stacks are right and a continuation bet is coming at you, at least consider being a beast.

Brett

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