Size matters! And it matters a lot! Your stack size designates the strategies you should use. And since you can control your stack size via buy-in amount, you can create game play situations that correspond to your strengths and evade your weaknesses.
Having a small stack tends to limit the number of streets you must make decisions on. Additionally, your decisions are apt to be for lesser amounts, making your decisions less critical. With a small stack you can play tightly pre-flop and have easier post-flop decisions. The largest component of your decisions will be assessing your hand’s value. Assessing your implied odds is not much of a factor. And hand reading, a tough element of poker, takes on much lower importance.
Among other things, playing a deep stack requires being able to read your deep-stacked opponents’ hands, estimate the implied odds that the deep stacks create, and have the internal fortitude to act on your evaluation. The nature of deep stack no-limit hold’em that causes pots to grow exponentially street by street means these decisions are often for big money, making the accuracy of your decision MUCH more critical. All this makes for MUCH more complicated equations.
Most novice players aren’t proficient at reading hands and situations. That correlates to being unable to accurately assess their implied odds. For them, buying-in short amounts, playing a tight hand selection strategy, and picking spots to play post-flop will be the best strategy. They won’t win as much as their skilled deep-stacked opponents, but they don’t have the skillsets to compete with them. And you must understand your limitations in both poker and life.
If you think your strategic decisions will be better than your opponents, play deep. You’ll both read and create positive implied odds situations for yourself. Your big bets, both made and called, will be favored to have an edge over your opponents’. Plus, the threat of your large stack will increase your fold equity as players will be less inclined to call your bets when you have a large stack left.
Another component of this equation is your ability to handle swings. If you’re prone to get emotional when stuck, buying in deep may not be the best strategy. Yeah, you can circumvent this by not rebuying, but there is a cost to that too.
Often, you’re not sure how your opponents play. This is particularly true when you are playing in a new location. Generally, the best play is to buy-in short and chip up if you like what you see. Keep in mind, it’s the deep stacks you want to base your decision on since you are already equivalent with the short stacks.
How deep you buy-in is an important decision. Realistically appraise the situation. Then determine your best buy-in strategy.
Then follow the correct game strategy based on your buy-in.