How Buying in for the Maximum Can Work
Recently, I wrote a piece on the advantages for buying a small amount of chips (20-40x the big blind) in a no-limit cash game.
While there are several surprising advantages for beginners to purposely be playing on a shortstack, experienced and confident players will also find many advantages in buying in for the maximum amount.
This is usually 100x the big blind, although some live cardrooms may not cap the max buy-in. Typically, if you’re playing in a $1/2 no-limit Hold’em cash game that would be $200.
I will often buy in for the most possible for three main reasons. Let’s take look at why you probably want to as well if you’re an intermediate-or-beyond player:
Table of Contents
Advantages of buying in for the maximum in a cash game
1. You can simply make more money
The first motivation for buying in for the maximum is purely about profit. If you have a big stack in front of you, you can simply win larger pots and make more money in less time.
Since all online poker tables and casino cardrooms operate on table stakes you are entitled to win as much of your opponents’ money as you have in front of you.
If you’re playing a big hand against an opponent who’s been winning at the table and has $400 you can go all-in with your $200 and possibly win $400. If you started with $40, you could only win $80.
If you have the bankroll for the stakes you want to play the easiest way to maximize your equity in the game is to start off with a big stack.
2. Bring the most soldiers to the battle
I believe it was Johnny Chan who once said something akin to, “Poker is a war and your chips are your soldiers.” Usually, the side with the most soldiers is going to win the war or at least the battle. Arm yourself with the most soldiers at the table.
Chips and position are power in Hold’em and should always be looking for any extra edge that you can take. A big stack is also more intimidating to your opponents than the one that amounts to little more than scared money.
This is just as true in cash games as it is in tournaments. They see what looks like a winning player sit down with an adequate bankroll. Your opponents will have their first sign that you mean business and they will tend to avoid confrontations with you because you can break them.
Also, if you believe you have a skill advantage over most, if not all, of your opponents you want to be able to win more of their chips via a big stack.
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3. Comfort and the ability to draw
I occasionally buy in with a short stack for the advantages mentioned in my previous article, but it definitely isn’t a comfortable cash game experience. When you don’t have a lot of chips, you’re constantly battling the blinds and just hoping to pick up a monster hand.
Even if you do win an all-in pot or two with a short stack you probably haven’t made a significant amount of money.
On the converse, a sizable stack allows you to play plenty of rounds without the blinds affecting you. You can be more selective about your starting hands and play large pots when you have the best of it.
Also, you may be more willing to gamble on open-ended straight or flush draws when it won’t cripple you or force you to be all-in.
You’re almost always going to want to buy in for the max with a skill advantage
If you feel as though you have a skill advantage in a no-limit hold’em cash game, plan to be at the table for a while, and don’t feel like battling between the blinds and all-in moves then I thoroughly recommend buying in for as much as you can.
Having a big cash game sack will allow you the flexibility to play a patient yet aggressive style of play, project a powerful image to your opponents, and make the most money in the shortest amount of time.
Remember, you only need to win that one monster pot to be a big winner for the session. Be patient and play the cards and situations that you know will put you in the best position for profit.
Josh is one of the world’s most respected online gambling experts. He has been featured on outlets such as CardPlayer, the World Poker Tour, Google News, and Forbes. Josh has nearly 20 years of experience reviewing poker rooms, casinos, and online sportsbooks. He launched Beat The Fish in 2005, which has been peer-certified as a trustworthy gambling portal. Josh’s proven systems and extensive knowledge of the iGaming industry have been used by thousands of online bettors to make more informed decisions.