MoneyUnder most circumstances, stack size matters very little in limit hold’em. You and your opponents typically have plenty of chips to make it through a hand, and that is all that matters.

Occasionally, though, either your stack size or your opponent’s will matter a great deal. You need to know not only exactly how many chips each of you has, but also exactly what to do about it.

 

This column discusses situations in which you need to know the stack size and must think carefully to decide what to do about it. We will consider three such situations:

 

 

  • You want to raise an opponent who is almost all in.

 

  • You are almost all in with a draw.

 

  • You are bluffing an opponent who is almost all in.

 

You want to raise an opponent who is almost all in: This scenario assumes you are in a multiway pot. One of your opponents is intent on going all in. For you to exploit his desire, you need to know two things: (a) precisely how many chips he has, and (b) the rules of the casino you’re in.

 

I know you can’t always know the exact number of chips, and don’t want to stop play to ask the dealer to count down your opponent’s tiny stack. Nevertheless, you need to eyeball that stack to determine if he has an exact bet or a fractional bet.

 

If it is an exact bet, you have no problem. You simply decide if you want to raise, either to create a side pot or to eliminate other opponents. If he has a fractional bet, the rules of the cardroom come into play. Some cardrooms treat all bets of less than a full bet as action only, meaning …