Suppose that your friend has just sent you a cool five dollars on pokerstars or one of the inferior other poker sites. You want to have some fun, but at the same time you don't want to lose your five dollars in five minutes. What do you do?! Well, there are multiple conservative approaches that you can take to ensure that you will turn that five dollars into a small fortune. The steps you take to make this happen however depend on your mindset, patience and commitment.
If you are feeling particularly bold, you can bring as little as five dollars to a cash game with blinds of .10/.25 cents. This is outrageous considering that would only be 16 big blinds, but if you don't want to grind away at the lower tables, then this may be a good avenue for you. However, bare in mind that regardless of how talented you may claim to be at poker, not even a poker deity such as myself could be profitable doing this over the long run. You simply won't last long enough with the blinds coming around to be able to turn a profit. If you ignore these warnings and still want to dance with the devil, there are a few short stacking strategies that will help you in your quest.
Pretty much either go all in or fold pre flop. Try to get someone raising with a sub par hand, and when you get a hand like a-j or better, come over the top and go all in. The ?short stackers? are the most annoying type of poker players because they aren't really playing poker at all. Rather, they are simply playing ultra conservative, and once they get a good hand, they try to get rid of all the decision making before the flop is dealt. They take away from the game because loose aggressive players who would normally raise it up with a hand like 7-8 suited, may be a bit more tentative to do so with an annoying short stacker next to them. That being said, they can be highly profitable if you multi-table and play smart. For the purpose of this particular article, if you only have five dollars, you must just wait for the right hand and put it all in pre flop. Once you double up, you can either leave the table and bring a new 5 dollars in, or play differently at your current table.
You can also go the ?limit? holdem route in which you can only bet a fixed limit on each round (pre flop, flop, turn, and river). The stakes start as low as .02/.04, and you can bring as little as 20 cents to the table! This route is only for the extremely patient, as you can be playing for hours and yield a profit of pennies. However, as opposed to the no limit route, it is a lot safer because you can only loose a certain amount each hand, where in no limit, you can potentially loose your entire stack. In the lower levels of limit holdem, you can be an effective player simply by folding bad cards and raising with good cards, it is really very simple if you have the patience for it.
As far as cash games go, if I had to turn five dollars into 100 dollars, I would play .01/.02 6 handed no limit cash games. At these stakes, the players are painful to watch, and if you bring five dollars, you can yield a nice profit in a relatively short period of time. The strategy here is to raise with position and try to isolate players who you have observed as being the most passive. Passive players who check and call your bets are the best thing since jalapeno sun flower seeds. At the lowest levels of no limit cash games, you can play like Rocky McRockington (very conservatively), and still be very profitable. My next post will offer some concrete examples of hands at low level cash games that show what I am trying to say.