If you play any form of online ring game poker, you will have noticed an alarming tendency for players to arrive at a table with the minimum number of chips possible and then “rathole” any winnings they have made (ratholing is when a player leaves the table with their winnings and returns a short time after with the minimum buy-in again).
Players turning up for a game with the minimum stack possible got to be such a contentious issue on PokerStars that they introduced three bands of buy-ins so that the short-stacked players could go and play amongst themselves and leave the rest of the world to enjoy playing poker for respectable amounts.
Inasmuch as it is each player´s prerogative to determine how much of their bankroll they wish to risk in a game, there are three major advantages of entering a ring game with the maximum number of chips allowed.
Power – Poker is so much more about your three kings beaten an opponent´s pair of fours. There is an element of psychology about sitting down with an intimidating stack of chips. Your opponents will see what looks like a winning player with an adequate pile of chips and not somebody sneaking in with some scared money. As a “first impression”, buying-in for the maximum number of blinds at a table can lead to other players wilting away from confrontation and enabling you to bluff more frequently.
Comfort – Although buying-in for the maximum does not necessarily equate to a licence to loosen up your game, not having to worry about the blinds eating away at your stack and being at liberty to gamble on open-ended straight or flush draws gives you a certain level of comfort. It also has the added advantage of allowing you to play more unpredictably than when you arrive at a table short-stacked and makes your game harder to read.
Winning – Arriving at a table with the maximum buy-in is no guarantee that you will win more money, but if you have a larger stack of chips in front of you, you can win larger pots and make a greater amount of money in a shorter space of time. If you are playing a big hand against a player who also has a large stack in front of him, if you only have $40.00 in front of you, the most you are going to win is $40.00. If you arrive at the table with $200.00, then you stand to gain another $200.00.
The easiest way to maximise your equity in a game is to start off with a big stack. You need not play any differently than if you were joining a table with the minimum buy-in, but the advantages of showing yourself to be a successful poker player and enjoying the comfort that having a large stack of chips provides will undoubtedly contribute to you winning more money at the poker tables.