Ever described a person, or a group of people, as ‘the scourge of the world’?

Well, Simon Hemsworth has. He believes a cult of shortstackers is poisoning the online cash game and has shared one way to kill them (metaphorically speaking), when they appear on your table.


Hemsworth’s not alone. Alex Martin launched an attack on what he calls ‘parasites of the mid-stakes Poker world’ in 2009.

A shortstacker buys in to a ring game for the minimum amount, then looks to shove all-in on every hand they play. They have a strict hand range they stick to and so generally have the edge in a race.

It’s a strategy that works for them. And it’s no fun (for normal players) whatsoever.

There’s nothing worse than waiting around for a nice hand, 8/9 suited finally lands and you fancy it – then a clown ships all in and you have no choice but to bin your suited connectors. Sad times.

In general, shortstackers are weak card players but there is a collection of pros to watch out for. Like it or not, they continue to reside online and we all need to know how to get rid of them.

How to beat different shortstackers

Hemsworth suggests using the shortstacker hand range to create a winning Poker formula against them– and he makes a good case.

If you know the hands they’re playing with, you can dodge their shoves and outmanoeuvre them when you’re holding cards are sick (and the price is right).

But it’s not that simple.

When Alex Martin first put this species of poker player under the microscope, he identified three clear breeds and how to wipe them all out:

·       Super Tights – just like you would with any regular nit, steal their blinds and duck their shoves.

·       Uber Aggros – these guys open to steal blinds but will look to get their stack in the pot via a 3-bet. Min-raise their opening bets and they’ll usually fold.

·       Good Shorties – these guys are shortstackers, but they’re still playing poker. You need to treat them like you would any regular spewtard, with caution.

The best strategy against the good shortstackers is to small-ball them off the scent. They are so robotic and set in their ways, that they rarely take bet size into account. This means your re-raise of $8 holds the same power as your re-raise of $16. Minimise your risks and acidize their stacks one chunk at a time.

It’s down to you…

Of course, there is no strategy that will work every time. Ultimately, it’s down to you to determine the type of shortstackers you’re up against and how best to flick them from your table.

However, what we can learn from Hemsworth and Martin, is that ‘the scourge of the online poker world’ can’t necessarily suck all the fun from our beloved game, if we treat them like a new spawn of player type, adapt our poker style to wipe them out and bask in the cleanliness of the table when that happens.

Got any more ideas on how to quash these pests? Are you a proud shortstacker yourself? Have your say in the comment feed.


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Vivid Times

This article is written by Vivid Time Staff member.