Texas Hold’Em Tournament Tips – Poker Chip Stack Management
Whether you are playing in online poker tournaments or live Texas Hold’em tournaments, or even in a no limit Texas hold em poker cash game, the most crucial part of your play is to properly manage your poker chip stack. Proper chip stack management can easily be the difference between making final tables or going broke before making a profit.
Chip stack management is the ability to make sure you have enough chips to be able to survive the downswings in online poker tournaments or no limit Texas hold em poker cash games. In respect to Texas Hold’em tournaments, the failures to properly manage your chips will inevitably result in getting blinded out or not having enough chips to protect your better hands.
Proper management, just like in a business is the key to your success in getting deeper in online poker tournaments. A well thought out plan is the best defense against becoming a short stack too early in Texas Hold’em tournaments. Your best plan is to keep your eye on several factors while playing the game. These factors are the average poker chip stack, the total chips in play and the relative stack to blind ratio.
Average Chip Stack
One of the best poker strategies in a Texas Hold’em tournament is to keep your chips as close to the average chip stack as possible. The average chip stack is the total chips in play divided by the number of players left in the field. In online poker tournaments, this information is easily found on most lobbies of the tournament window.
In live play, you will need to estimate this number and try to stay within the average until you hit a monster hand that will chip you up. In the case where you are failing to find hands that produce a wining pot, you want to make sure that at any time you decide to make a move it does not cripple you to the point you have fallen too far below the average chip stack.
Total Poker Chips in Play
Keeping a close eye on the total poker chips in play serves two main purposes; one is you will easily know what the average chip stack is, and you will easily be able to calculate your relative position with that of short stacks and big stacks.
For example if you are in a Texas Hold’em tournament final table where there is 1,000,000 poker chips in play and you hold about 100,000, you can easily know you are close to the average and that several of your opponents likely have less than you. Having this information may allow you to make position plays against your opponents who may fold simply to move up the money ladder.
Stack to Blind Ratio
In addition to knowing the total chips in play and the average chip stack, calculating the stack to blind ratio in a Texas Hold’em tournament can help you make sound economic decisions in marginal hands. For example, if there are 1,000,000 chips in play and you have 100,000 in chips while the blinds are 10,000 and 20,000 with a 2000 ante, your decision to play a weak hand is made easier.
On the other hand, in the same scenario, if a player moves all in for double the blind and your hand is slightly above marginal, you can make the decision to call or fold by knowing how many blinds (or hands) you have remaining, in this case you have about 5X the BB, and at a full table you have approximately 18 hands before you can be blinded out. Knowing the bind to stack ratio will help you make a decision to play this marginal hand or wait in case one of the next 18 hands produces a better starting hand.
Primarily, Texas Hold’em tournaments are based on making good decisions and proper poker chip stack management. Know where you stand at all times in a Texas hold em tournament and you will find that managing your stack and making proper decisions can help you get deeper into the money.