Single Table Holdem Tournament Strategies
Being Short Stacked!

This section covers holdem tournament strategies when you find yourself short stacked. This is just a tough spot, there is only one thing for sure, never give up! There are a few different situations for being short stacked and strategy for each.


The first is many players remain in the tournament and the blinds are big. Even though you may have an about average chip count it would still be a short stack situation. For example 1500 chips and the blinds 150/300.

Since many players remain there is a high chance someone will have a decent hand most of the time. And stealing will not be easy. If you do not pick up a good hand. Steal whenever possible in order to survive or build a big stack. Once every round of the blinds is enough to survive(on average, not literally).

If the blinds are this big, it's should be all-in or nothing even when stealing. If you do steal here and get caught, and are an underdog of say 2 to 3 (40% to win) the blinds in the pot will help make up for it. Example KQ vs. AJ.


If it is late in the tournament and you are short stacked with only four or five players. This is a different and also very tough spot. The main difference is the blinds will come around faster and you have a below average chip count.

Let's say for example that again you have 1500 and the blinds are 150/300 but only five total players remain. It is better to push with 1500 chips and a marginal hand in this spot. Than to pay the blinds twice and gamble with 600 chips and a good hand (if you are even lucky enough to get a good hand).

The reason is, if you win with 600 chips you will be right back in the same spot again, and again with 1500 or less. And eventually you will be knocked out of the tournament. But, if you win with the 1500 you will have over 3000 and in better shape to place in the money or even take control of the table and possibly get first.

Also you may not even get called pushing with 1500 and take the blinds. But you are almost sure to get called with only 600 and risk being knocked out.


If it is early in the tournament and you find yourself short stacked. In this situation the blinds will not come around as often (since there are more players). Wait as long as you can for a hand without letting your stack suffer to much. Many players lose a big hand and go all in the very next hand or two. Don't be that guy. You can still win as long as you have chips.

More Holdem Tournament Strategies
Late Stages of a Sit n Go
Early and Middle Stages
Advanced Chip Leader Theory

Adjusting Play
No Limit Holdem Section
Main Menu for Single Table Holdem Tournament Strategies


Top of Page