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Short-stacking strategy?

CalgaryPokerGuyCalgaryPokerGuy Posts: 342Subscriber
What are people's thoughts on short stacking PLO? On whether or not it's worth it, effective tactics, hands to play, avoid, etc.

I have been beating $1/2 NLHE for $30+/hr for the last few years at my local casino. More recently they have been getting a consistent $5/5 PLO game (min $200 buy-in) which I've been playing. Most players buy in deeper and play very loose (sometimes crazy). Players range from some of the better players in town to total donks. For bankroll considerations, I buy in for the minimum, nit it up and try to find good spots to get it in (most players don't seem to adjust to a short-stack).

I was doing well until I've recently gone on a $11K down-swing ($200 at a time). I don't feel like I tilt and for the most part get it in as the favorite. Am I missing something? Should I stick to my game-plan and chalk this up to variance? Just looking for any useful advice. Thanks in advance!



  • NicholasKNicholasK Posts: 237Member
    I'd wonder if you, as a thinking player are missing out with a short-stacked strategy. The equities run so close preflop that you're just riding out variance with a very small edge. Additionally you lose out on the ability to put much training to work and spots to get it in as a huge favorite or fold when you're a huge dog. Sorry about the downswing.
  • AesahAesah Posts: 1,048Pro
    I don't think short stacking PLO is a good idea. To make a simplistic model to roughly estimate short-stack profitability, let's assume you always get in $200 HU with AAxx when you're dealt it vs. a random hand, and fold everything else. That's roughly 65% equity in a $400 pot, or $260, so a profit of $60 every time you do so. If you have 20 hands per hour, you'll get AAxx once every 2 hours (top 2.5% of hands), so +$30 per hour. If you're paying time rake that's $10 an hour, then you're paying the blinds twice each so that's $20 an hour which negates your profits entirely in this rough model.

    Again that's just a very rough estimate, obviously there are other factors here:
    +you can get in KKxx/QQxx/BBBB/BBBxds hands in addition to AAxx hands
    +you will probably have some dead money when you get it in
    -people probably won't be getting it in with random hands (even weak DS hands like J854ds have 40%+ equity)
    -sometimes you won't get action with your premium hands

    All things considered, I can't really see short-stacking a $5/5 PLO game being worth your time.


    Also why jump from $1/2 NL to $5/5 PLO? Average pots at $5/5 PLO are larger than average pots at $10/10 NLHE so you're effectively skipping a level there.


    I will make a video regarding "short stack" PLO play which often comes up even if people have 100bb+ stacks due to straddles/raises sometime in the future, although it probably won't be soon as it's somewhat important but there are higher priority topics. For now, just know that if you can get to the flop with the SPR closer to 1 than 2, you can generally push any equity advantage preflop.
  • CalgaryPokerGuyCalgaryPokerGuy Posts: 342Subscriber
    Thanks for the replies. A couple points/responses:

    - I'm not sure if I am using correct terminology with pure "short-stacking". I do buy in for the minimum for bankroll considerations, but I continue to play as I get deeper.

    - I am typically trying to get it in on the turn or flop vs pre-flop (except with AAxx when I am able to get in a decent chunk of my stack - 35-40%). I use propokertools in between hands to learn more about equities and I am getting it in as a favorite a high % of the time

    - I do occasionally find the odd spot to successfully bluff / semi-bluff

    - Unfortunately there is no in-between level of play since the only games running were $1/2 NLHE until the $5/5 PLO game caught on in the last two months


    - There is virtually always anywhere from 2 to 5 bad players in the PLO game at any given time. Am I better off investing my time in that game in the long-run or should I keep playing in the $1/2 and earn my $30+/hr?

    - How much of a bankroll should I have to play $5/5 PLO and does my buy-in size affect this?

    Again, thank you!


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