Stack is the total amount of chips a player has in a cash game or tournament that they can use to make bets.

Definition of a stack

When a player enters a game, they must have some sort of money in order to make a bet. In turn, this sum of money is called a stack. Commonly, fiat money or crypto currency is transferred to the game currency or, in other words, chips. 

The main purpose of the stack is to form the initial pot (relinking). Furthermore, the stack is directly related to the strategy that the player chooses, and it also acts as an indicator of its strength, authority, or, conversely, weakness and vulnerability.

Does the stack size matter?

The size of the stack is directly related to the player’s style and the techniques that they use during the competition.

For instance, when having a large stack, the player can make opponents think that they have a stronger hand than others. In this case, the chance of a successful bluff increases significantly.

And vice versa, when having a small stack, it will be much more difficult for the player to bluff and manipulate. Accordingly, the player’s weight at the table becomes less significant.

Stack size

The size of the stack depends on the limits set by a host of a poker room. 

The stack of 3,000$ may seem very large if the size of the small and big blinds is 5/10$ respectively. However, if the size of the blinds will be 200/400$, then this amount might be quite appropriate.

Types of stacks in a poker game

The size of a player’s stack is always in relation to the blinds of that particular game. The following classification should give you an idea of the variety of stacks in poker:

  • Deep. A stack contains more than 200 big blinds. Playing with such a stack, players prefer an aggressive, free-play strategy.
  • Full. A stack size equals 100 – 150 big blinds. It is the most optimal for most varieties of games, as it allows a player to play freely, but at the same time keep a distance.
  • Incomplete. A stack, the size of which is from 30 to 70 big blinds. Playing with an incomplete stack, the player partially loses freedom in their actions.
  • Short. A stack consisting of 10 – 25 big blinds is good for an aggressive strategy because losing such a small sum of money is rather insignificant.
  • Ultrashort. A stack that contains 10 big blinds or less. The only strategy with this stack is pre-flop all-in, also called Sklansky – Chubukov shove.

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