Playing In 100 BB Games

In the online world, 100 big blind games are easily the most
popular buy in format. In live poker, they are quite rare.
Regardless of where you play, however, the basic strategies in
each won’t vary all that much. Deep stacked and short stacked
games play very differently from one another, and 100 bb games
are the perfect medium. In fact, if you are familiar with
typical play at both extremes, it wouldn’t be too hard for you
to take a guess at how the 100 big blind games tend to play out.
They have their aggression, they have their passiveness, but it’s the mixture of the two that truly defines this type of poker.

The first thing that needs to be noted is that
100 big blind play generally refers to cash game play. While
you may very well be in tournaments or sit and gos that are
playing this deep, they will have a unique set of skills and
strategy unto themselves. For this reason, you should use the
advice in this article when considering cash games alone.

A 100 big blind game will largely depend on what the minimum
buy in for the table is. If the rule is that anyone with 10 bbs
can buy in, the table is going to be a lot different than what
you would find if the minimum was 50 bbs. There are even some
games that have min and max buy ins that are one in the same,
leaving a minimal gap between most stacks at any table. Most of
the strategy in this article will hold true regardless of what
the minimum buy in is, but it’s important to make adjustments
should you be seated at a table where there are a number of
shortstacks, because they will be making an impact on the dynamics
of the game.

Pre-Flop Strategy

Pre-flop strategy in 100 bb Texas Hold’em games does call for
playing a lot of pots. You should be playing slightly less than
you would if you were deep stacked, but you shouldn’t be
tightening up. Provided you are at a decent table and/or have
position, 100 big blinds is more than enough to aptly maneuver
around hands with. You can call realistically priced raises,
make 3-bets and fold, and not ever have a terribly dramatic
effect on your chip stack. The important thing to remember with
any pre-flop decision is how you are going to set yourself up
for post-flop play. If you are calling 3-bets that cost you 20
big blinds and will leave your opponent with only 60 bbs, you
may have miscalculated the profitability in your play. Though
100 bbs does tend to last, it can also be drained quite quickly
if you aren’t paying attention.

One of the biggest mistakes in pre-flop play at 100 big blind
games is 4-bet folding. At tables with this type of buy in
structure (or a table that just happens to be playing at this
level), 4-bets are a commitment to the hand. This is one of the
reasons why 4-bet bluffs make so little sense. If you are making
a pre-flop move, you should generally have an exit route
planned. A failed 3-bet can get out of the way with damaged
caused, but not complete annihilation. A 4-bet, on the other
hand, should mean that you aren’t going anywhere. This is both
an illustration of why a 4-bet bluff works and why it’s a bad
idea at the same time.

Eventually you are going to price yourself into a call no
matter what two cards you actually hold. Pretend that you were
in late position with K3 suited and decided to raise in an
attempt to steal. You get re-raised by the big blind. If you are
playing $1/$2 and opened to $7, an average 3-bet will be
somewhere in the $20 range. At this point you have two options:
fold or commit to the hand. A fold is fine and will have only
cost you $20, but a 4-bet means that you are now putting in
around $60.

If you get re-raised, the pot is now being played
for $200 per person. It will cost you $140 more for the chance
to win $400 plus anything else in the middle. At $140 to $400
you are sitting at 3.5:10. Against most hands you should be able
to win around this range, if not a little bit off. There’s no
doubt that you are going to be an underdog, but you can’t
exactly donate $60 here. As you can see from this example,
tricky pre-flop plays in a 100 bb game can very easily get you
into a much larger mess than you bargained for.

Post-Flop Strategy

Post-flop play isn’t quite as straightforward as it is
pre-flop. You’ll have a little bit of room to make some plays,
but you shouldn’t be going wild. 100 bb stacks just don’t lend
themselves to plays that require your opponent folding. When you
are in a deep stacked game you’ll be able to make post-flop
check raises and raises that scare away the other players
because they don’t want to lose several hundred big blinds
without the nuts. In 100 big blind games, players will be less
apprehensive because they have less on the line. What you should
take from all of this is that your opponents are less likely to
fold to your bluffs and are more likely to call down light.

Just as you’ll have a tough time trying to make plays that
are designed to get folds from other players, you will have an
easier time getting opponents to put their money in the middle
without super strong hands. Check raises on the turn, for
example, are usually an extreme sign of strength that a good
player will pick up on and will be able to fold to or at least
slow down in the face of. With a short stacked game though, many
players feel like they have too much money invested into the pot
to give up. They will make excuses like needing to pay to see
it, or they will simply concede that they know they are beat but
they will call anyway. Of course, the particular playing style
of any given person will still need to play into how you
approach these types of moves.

Value betting with big hands and not getting too fancy is
really what it’s all about in post-flop 100 bb games. This could
be said about most any type of poker, but the big winners in
deep stack games do need to have the skills to make complex
post-flop plays, where in most limits 100 big blind games just
don’t require exceptional post-flop skills. Straightforward play
can be mundane and does get boring from time to time, but it’s
worth sticking to because it’s a proven winning strategy in
these games. If you want to get creative with your play and use
a more aggressive strategy, deeper stacked games will create a
better opportunity for profit. 100 big blind poker may not be
the most glamorous form of the game, but there’s no shortage of
money flowing in and out of these tables, both online and in the