100 BB vs. 200 BB Games

One of the biggest structural differences between live poker
and online poker will be found in stack sizes. Most online games
play 100 big blinds deep at the most, with many players buying
in for less. When you transition into live play, however, you
are going to notice that many poker rooms have 200 bb max buy
ins and that some rooms have no caps whatsoever in certain
games. Needless to say, this changes the dynamics of the game
quite a bit. You can’t possibly play as effectively as possible
if you are using the same exact strategy in two formats that
will clearly play quite differently from one another.

The fact that
many players don’t realize that these games call for
different types of
poker strategy is an illustration of just how
valuable two different skill sets are. A lot of players blindly
assume that their home game strategy carries into live play and
that their live play strategy should remain static no matter
what. In reality, this could not be further from the truth.
There are so many different things that you should be changing
on your own, but you can also look for several ways to
manipulate opponents who aren’t paying attention. If you thought
stacking an opponent for 100 big blinds was fun, imagine playing
in a game where you have a chance to play for 200+ time and time
again. The aim of this article is to elaborate on how the games
differ and what you can do as a player to capitalize on these

Pre-Flop Differences

Deeper stacked games will tend to play with larger open
raises. Players know that everyone has more money available to
work with, so they are naturally inclined to raise the amount of
risk they are willing to take in any given hand. By starting off
each hand with a larger sized raise, you are creating a better
opportunity for a larger pot down the line. You should be taking
note of which players adjust their
bet sizes
accordingly and which ones do not. Beyond this, you should also be making a
conscious effort to squeeze more money whenever possible.

The types of hands that you would consider playable will vary
greatly depending on how deep you are playing. If you were in a
game where there were a couple of very bad players, you would be
looking to get involved in some pots with them. Now, if you were
working with somewhere around 100 big blinds, it’s unlikely
that you would be calling off raises with anything too far out
of the ordinary. Sure, you want to play in as many pots as
possible with weaker players, but you still need to have
something to work with because otherwise you’ll bleed your
stack dry in no time.

Given this information, it should almost
be a no brainer that you can widen your ranges up when you are
playing deeper. Though pre-flop raises are going to be larger,
there’s still going to be an awful lot of room for post-flop
play as a whole when at deep stacked tables. You can take
advantage of inferior players by
calling pre-flop bets with the hope of out flopping and/or
out playing them after the fact. Deep stack play is very much to
the advantage of the more skilled players vs. the shorter
stacked games where any random player can get lucky.

Approach and Bet Sizing

If you are able to land a strong hand and are now playing
post-flop, your goal is to get as much money as possible from
your opponent. This should go without saying, but it can be very
difficult to get a deep stacked player to commit all of their
chips barring a nuts vs. second nuts kind of situation. Thinking
and planning ahead is much more vital in 200 bb games than it is
in 100 bb games. You could
check raise the flop, bet turn, and
river to get someone’s entire stack in 100 bb games, but you may
be left with another 100 big blinds using this same strategy in
a deeper stacked game.

Instead, you might consider an alternate
approach where you would bet the flop, check raise the turn, and
then bet the river. The difference in this play is that your
check raise is going to be for a much more significant amount of
money than it would have been for on the flop. This is just one
example that illustrates how bet sizing can be ideal for one
hand and far from optimal in the next solely because of stack

Bet sizing ties into the way that you are playing a hand. If
you are check raising someone in the right spot but are unable
to make enough money, there’s a good chance that you didn’t
raise to a large enough amount. Bet sizing is a very important
skill that will affect your bottom line dramatically over time
even in small pots, but its importance is magnified when you are
playing in 200 bb games. The whole goal of your bet sizing is to
take as much as you can at one time without scaring off your

Needless to say, this assumes that you have a strong
hand that wants to get paid off. If you can safely make a
moderate sized flop or turn check raise while getting the rest
of the money in the middle with a bet on the turn, there’s no
need to go overboard right away. Unless you are defending
against draws or otherwise threatening hands, there’s no need
to push someone away earlier than is necessary.

This is one of the most common mistakes that players make in
deep stacked live poker games. They get caught up in the moment,
are usually nervous and spastic, and will often make huge raises
and re-raises that totally kill their action. Even if you don’t
end up getting the entire stack that you were originally hoping
for, you can still work towards your goal of making as much
money as possible. It’s much better to come away with a decent
sized win than it is to win something small. And it’s better to
win something small than it is to win nothing. With 200 big
blind live tables, you are going to have repeated opportunities
to win decent sized pots that would have been considered sizable
in most of the 100 bb games of equivalent limits.