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Why you should keep your stack at the max

March 23, 2023

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Do you ever think about how many chips you bring to a ring table? If not, you might be surprised to learn that keeping your stack topped up to the table maximum is considered mandatory by most winning players. Although it has the downside of potentially making your losing hands more expensive, having more chips available all the time gives you a better expectation in your poker sessions.

This is what players mean by “effective stacks.” It is the number of big blinds in your stack. The more big blinds you have, the more maneuverability you have. 

Buying in for the maximum does not mean you should risk your whole bank on a single table. Remember bankroll management?

You should aim to have the maximum safe amount in front of you while you play.

Here’s why:

You win more when you win against a big stack. Sounds obvious, doesnt it? 

But wait, won’t you lose more when you lose? No, thats not the way to think about it. Having a maximum stack actually means you should be more conscious of wasting chips by not playing less appealing cards. You might find it easier to steer clear of below par situations if you’re not under pressure because you haven’t won any hands for an orbit or two.

If you manage your stack wisely and use correct bet sizing: 

  • You will have the chips to charge opponents for draws instead of getting all-in as the shorty. Hoping everyone and their dog misses because you’re four ways to the turn is a misery-inducing strategy.
  • You will also be able to take advantage of opponents’ suboptimal betting sizes. For instance, if you know your draw has a marginal chance to hit, but you get pot odds to call their weak bet, you will have enough backup to profit from your made hand when you connect.
  • You don’t need to be the Big Stack Bully and splash chips into every pot — unless you are one of the rare breed of super-aggressive players who can expertly play like that. The chips will come to you, because you will have the bullets available to compete when the time comes.
  • Good players will respect your bets more because good players don’t want to risk their stacks against other good players with big stacks.
  • Bad players will give up more of their chips in hands where they lose to you because they will have their stacks covered.
  • You will also have the potential to make occasional bluffs or make aggressive bets to protect your hand when you sense your opponents are hesitant.

Getting started

If you’re not familiar with playing deeper stacks, then you can always practice at lower stakes for a while. It is much better to trial a new strategy before launching it for real at your regular stakes. And always remember bankroll management. Taking a full stack to your tables means you have fewer buy-ins in your bankroll than when you take just 60-75% of the table max.

How can I top up automatically?

Keeping your stack topped up to the maximum (or any amount you choose) is simple at Replay.

When you are joining the seat manually, simply swing the slider in the pop up to the right end, or click Max.

Once you are seated, click the ADD CHIPS button at top left.

Select the Automatic Top-Up, click MAX amount of chips, or type an amount manually, and select the bottom of the three top-up options. You will always start each hand with at least the table maximum.