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Deep Stack Texas Hold'em Strategy

In the majority of Texas Hold'em cash games, the maximum buy in for each of the stakes is 100 times the size of the big blind. There are a few Texas Hold'em poker rooms that offer larger buy-ins, but this is the norm at the majority of cash tables. Nonetheless, this 100 big blind buy-in gives you a lot of room to work with in each hand, and requires that you put a lot of thought into your decisions before making your play.

However, you will occasionally find yourself doubling up and increasing the amount of money you have in front of you from 100 big blinds to 200 big blinds or more. If there are other players at the table with the same amount of money as you, there is a large amount of money at stake when you play in hands against such opponents. When the stacks are so deep and there is so much money to be played for, your general strategy and approach to the hands should change accordingly.

One important point to remember in deep stack poker is that your implied odds increase significantly. Whereas before you could only win a maximum of 100 big blinds from your opponent, you are now playing for double that or more. Consequently, if you can manage to hit a big yet disguised hand against another deep stack player, you stand to win a large amount of money.

Now the question is, how do you go about winning such a big pot?

Whilst premium hands like AK and AQ still hold a lot of value at the table, they are not necessarily the hands that you are looking to play. This may seem a little odd considering you are playing for such a large amount of money, as you would think that you would only enter pots with the best hands possible – but hear me out...

These premium hands are far too obvious, and it greatly reduces the likelihood that your opponent is going to  throw their whole stack in the middle when high cards come out on the flop. After all, you're not going to win a 400 or more big blind pot from your opponent when you hold top pair and they hold second. The best way to win a huge pot is to play hands that your opponent is not going to suspect.

This is where small connecting hands like 56 and pocket pairs come into play.

If you call a raise from your opponent, they are not going to put you on these sort of hands, as they are going to expect you to be holding something along the lines of AK or AQ. Therefore if you manage to get a little lucky and hit 3-of-a-kind or better, you are in a very good position to take a large chunk of their stack, as they will not believe that you hold such a strong hand given the low cards that come out on the flop.

This does not necessarily mean that you should be calling raises with any old raggy hand before the flop – far from it. You should be selective in the cards that you play, and occasionally call raises with hands that have potential, such as connecting cards and pocket pairs. Low suited cards are best avoided in my opinion, as a low flush is more likely to lose you your stack as opposed to winning your opponent's, so look to play cards that can hit straights and make sets. These are going to be the money makers.

It is also important to not get attached to the hand if you only catch a small piece of the flop. For example, if we hold 67 offsuit and the flop comes 3-7-T, I am in no way interested in putting up a fight for this pot. Middle pair with a weak kicker is not the sort of hand that I want to back up with my 200BB stack, so I am going to be more than happy to fold to any action. We may or may not have the best hand, but with so much money at stake I don't really care for risking it.

A large majority of the time, you will not hit a big hand when you play such low cards, which is to be expected. However, the fact that you can occasionally expect a huge pay-off when you do more than makes up for the small pots that you lose out on when you miss.

As long as you are selective with the connecting cards that you play and you can avoid getting attached to the hand when you do not hit big, there is no reason why you can't use this little technique to get the better of your opponents the next time you are playing deep stack poker.

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