word type: noun

  1. The person with the largest stack in a poker tournament.
  2. Chipleader is the name of Poker's affiliate company (


Statements like, "The chipleader on day one never wins," something famously said about the WSOP ME chipleader, while usually true, have little to do with the nature of possessing the chiplead but rather with the arbitrary nature of keeping track of who has the most chips at a given point in the tournament.

Playing a Big Stack

As meaningless as it might be as a stat during the course of a tournament, playing with the chiplead can be a huge advantage if you use your big stack correctly.

Perhaps one of the most common mistakes made by beginning players who find themselves with a big stack in the very early stages of a tournament is playing like a monkey just because they have chips to spare. In reality, when you get a bunch of chips early on, not much changes. Stacks are still deep and there aren't any antes, so there's relatively little for you to gain by opening up and applying pressure.

However, in the mid-late stages of a tournament having a big stack becomes much more important. Now that antes have kicked in, you can really start to open a wider range of hands and chip up even further. You should be aware of stacks in the 12-20 big-blind range as they will be looking to resteal shove on you as you become more active, but you can use this to your benefit by calling off lighter if they make a habit of it.

In addition to widening your opening range, having a big stack also allows you to three-bet other big stacks more frequently. When faced with a three-bet out of position, most players play very transparently. For example, very few players will four-bet light, so when you three-bet a weaker hand and get played back at, it's a very easy fold. By the same token, the majority of players will not simply call a three-bet out of position, thus the play becomes a very valuable weapon to you when you own a big stack.