The way that you stack your chips, handle your chips or even bet your chips, can give off a lot of information to other players at the table. It is critical that you are aware of the many different ways you can give off information, and that you understand how to interpret the information other players are giving you. In this article we will be providing helpful information that will hopefully prevent you from looking like a total “fish” at the tables.
Many of you may be surprised, but the way that you stack your chips can really tell a lot about you. For instance if you clumsily stack your chips, you are announcing to many of the other players at the table that; “Hey this guy does not know how to handle his chips,” therefore he’s probably an amateur or not very experienced. Players will likely look to take advantage of you if they see that. However someone who shows a command of their chips by handling their chips very well, will give off the opposite impression that they’re a very seasoned player, and apparently they’ve played a lot of live poker. That player comes off like they have a lot of tournament experience and as a result opponents may look for other ways to take advantage of you, or maybe they will just try to leave you alone and look for a weaker player to attack.
As you play more and more poker you will see that there are many ways to stack your chips. You will see players stacking chips in triangles shapes, squares, as a tall skyscraper, and any other variety of ways. There’s no particular way that’s better than any other however you have to determine whether a player stacking a certain way for fun, necessity or to keep in line with the rules of the establishment being played in. In certain tournaments you’re not allowed to stack your chips with the higher value chips hidden in back of the lower value chips. In some tourney’s they require you to keep the higher value chips in plain sight so that all players at the table can view how much you have left in chips. I have also played in establishments that do not allow you to stack your chips in two or three rows away from the rail. They have rules that state you have to have over certain amount of chips in order to be able to start a second or third row away from the rail. Although the situations where I have run into this have been during cash games play at some casinos, but again, just be aware of the rules of the house.
Stacking your chips high, or stacking your chips low? When in possession of a lot of chips some players choose to stack their chips very high. Some just because they like to do that and others do it for a reason. By stacking your chips high, it allows you to disguise yourself that much more from the other players. Maybe it will hide your chest area so they can’t see your breathing or possibly it will hide some of the facial expressions coming from your mouth as your chin falls down below your chip stack. Other players may be doing it as an intimidation tactic, to give off the impression that they have more chips than they actually do. Players at the poker table tend to stay away from the larger chip stacks because they don’t want to go head-to-head with a large stack. Choosing to confront someone with a large chip stack could force you to put your tournament life on the line. On the other hand, someone who is stacking their chips low, when they are in possession of quite a few chips, could be doing it for the opposite reasons. They may want you to see their breathing patterns because they’re planning on giving off some false tells or some false facial expressions to indicate that they may be weak. They are simply trying to bait you into going up against them in hand because they have premium holdings or maybe they just feel they have a read on you and can outplay you in any hand.
The way a player sits there chip stack out on the table when making a bet also tells quite a bit about them. If they stack their chips neatly out in front of them when betting and their reach does not extend out very far toward the center of the table with the bet, subconsciously they are thinking that they are going to win the hand so they don’t want to mess up the chips and put them very far out of reach. They must have a good hand because they are expecting to win the hand. On the flip-side of that coin, someone who tosses their chips out on the middle of the table in a messy fashion, as to put on a big intimidating show, most likely has weaker holdings and is trying to bluff or intimidate you away from the pot.
So as you can see from this commentary, chip stacking is far from a silly discussion. Follow this helpful info and you may quickly learn how to disguise your play and how to pick out the person who obviously didn’t get to read this top notch piece of literature! Be sure to visit the Pro Pair Poker website and look for some of our upcoming training videos on this very topic and so much more!
It happened to me twice today at the local spot, Paradise Cove. Two callers and 2 great speeches! Here is the situation. I bet the flop and he calls. I check raised the turn and after some brief hesitation the guy says ” I’m probably a donkey for making this call”. Then when I check the river to him he bets out with a bet half the size of my stack. After all of the action to this point I am sure he has something pretty solid but I don’t know this guy from Adam and make a stupid call anyway. Turns out he flopped quads! So Sick!
In the second instance with another guy heads up, I bet out 3/4 pot after the flop and after opening with a 3 bet. The guy goes into the tank for a full 3 minutes and says “It is break time after this hand and I should probably fold this hand but I need to see one more card”. Then he calls. After the river card I shove and he insta-calls. Turns out he flopped a full house… 3’s full of 4’s. So take a lesson from my ass kicking and Beware of the Academy Award callers!