What Is Deep Stack Poker and How To Play it?

In the world of poker, a deep stack tournament means the players start off with large amounts of chips relative to the size of the blinds. To help you better understand it, let’s compare this to your regular tournaments that usually start with 50/100 big blinds, with antes being added later. 

On the other hand, anything around 200 big blinds is generally considered deep stack tournaments, which favor skilled players since there are more plays due to the bigger stacks. The deeper structure also allows them to accumulate stacks while exploiting less-skilled players.

When the stacks are deep, your position becomes particularly critical. For this reason, you need to tighten up UTG, plus open more hands from the button. And when in position, you need to flat more, but when out of position, you need to flat less.

How Do You Play Deep Stack Poker? (Pre-Flop Bet Sizing)

While your tactic primarily depends on your opponents, a good rule of thumb is that the deeper the stacks are, the better the hand you need to stack off pre-flop. As a result, at 150 big blinds (or bigger), don’t rush in moving all-in with QQ or AK. And if someone opens raises from UTG while you hold these hands or 3-bets you from the blinds when you have one of these hands, calling might still be your ideal option. 

And when you reach the 200 big blinds, don’t get easily excited with KK. As always, take the same precautions. A good rule to follow is to consider carefully stacking off before you 3-bet or 4-bet if you are holding a good hand that is not AA. 

Meanwhile, your 3-bet sizes must be the same when you are in position. If you are the 3-bettor, you have a certain advantage throughout the hand since you get to act last. As a result, you don’t need to change your 3-bet sizing since you want the opponent to flop with a wide rate in the deep stack. In this scenario, your opponent will find it hard to navigate post-flop. 

By contrast, your 3-bet sizes must be smaller when you’re out of position. For instance, imagine that your opponent with a 200 big blind stack is opening to 2.5 big blinds; opting for big blinds that are less than the standard 9 is a good decision that can reduce the pot size, which also minimizes his positional advantage.

The same principle mentioned above also applies when 4-betting. You should keep your sizing the same or slightly increase it when playing in position and decrease it when out of position. 

What Are the Usual Post Flop Strategies in Deep Stack? 

When you are much deeper in the pots (i.e., bigger stack-to-pot ratio), you need to be more defensive, which means less betting, more calling, more checking, and less check-raising. This defensive strategy is particularly crucial against other aggressive players who attack your purported capped ranges. 

And in other post-flop spots (e.g., 3-bet pots and 4-bet pots in position as the pre-flop raiser), your defensive strategy should relatively remain unchanged. 

Take note that when you set yourself up correctly from pre-flop, deep stack tournaments are not as intimidating as you might think.