Short Stack

word type: noun

  1. The smallest at the table in terms of chip stack size. Being on the short stack means that a player's options are often limited to folding or pushing all-in.

General Info

As with many things in poker, no two situations are exactly alike, but a player is usually considered a short stack when they have less than 15 big blinds. At this point, raising with a big hand is too obvious and raising with a marginal hand just isn't smart, so the obvious play is to go all-in with any cards that are playable from your given position. This is a very general rule though, and there are definitely more than a few exceptions.


If you're sitting with a stack of 12K when blinds are 500-1K and you get dealt Ah-Js in middle position, the smartest play is to move all-in if it's folded to you, because your stack is too short to do anything else. The goal with this move is to either steal the blinds and chip-up, or perhaps double through a bigger stack when they call with worse than AJ.