It may be the case that at a late phase of a tournament the chip leader has less than 15 BB, if the blinds increase too fast. Is this still considered short stack? Does the rule push or fold apply?

What if you have the second largest stack with about let's say 10BB?

  • I don't think there's a single situation in tournament poker where a 10BB stack wouldn't be described as short, regardless of how deep the other players are. Apr 12, 2014 at 5:12

1 Answer 1


Yes a Chip Leader(CL) can still be short stacked. If you are CL you should look at the other stacks left to play and base your push/fold strategy on your opponents stacks. The smallest stack out of you or your opponent left to play is known as "effective stack"

So in your scenario you have the CL, the second largest stack is 10bb. Assuming that all other players have folded and the pot is between the CL and the 10bb opponent, the effective stack is 10bb. Most would consider 10bb to be a short stack, generally against recreational players you can shove all hands in the SB vs the recreational BB if the effective stacks are 10bb or less.

  • Your answer was helpful but to be more specific. If the CL is under the gun with a really good hand is it a good idea to simply raise when the effective stack is 10BB, if s/he wants to trap someone maybe, or s/he should always push in this case?
    – kon psych
    Apr 12, 2014 at 5:44
  • 1
    Always jam. When you're that short stacked a limp UTG looks exactly like what you're trying to do - trap. You'll kill your action a lot of the time. A 10BB stack that jams under the gun is going to get no credit most of the time and is going to get called very light. If you play your hand like you're trapping though, you'll scare off some of the hands that would have got it all-in against you. Only the most unaware of players would fall for that play. Apr 12, 2014 at 6:44
  • @BrentMorrow So limping UTG as a bluff might take the blinds because it looks like a trap?
    – user1934
    Feb 27, 2016 at 20:40

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