Do small-stack ninjas ruin the game?


Full Tilt's high-stakes Hold'em tables are often occupied by just one recognized player. But sometimes players with small stacks take a shot at beating them.

These players - the small-stack ninjas - enter the game in David-versus-Goliath style. They take a seat, put the minimum buy-in on the line, and try to catch a hand good enough to push all-in with. They hope to throw one stone that takes down the giant and if they do, they usually run for cover.

And they should. The small-stack players have "Gambler's Ruin" against them - a theory stating the player with largest bankroll has the best chance of winning.

Say that you and a friend repeatedly flip a coin for $100. You have $500 to play with and your opponent has $5,000. Although this is a 50-50 game, chances are good you'll eventually go broke. Your bankroll can't handle the swings.

So if a small-stack ninja manages to double up early, just like he planned to, but then decides to stay in the game, he's making a mistake. Often he has to double up once or twice more just to reach the maximum buy-in, and chances are good he goes broke in the process.

Also remember that the one with the big stack usually is a superior player, which also is a reason why the small-stack ninja should leave after his first double-up - or maybe not take a seat in the first place.

Nevertheless, this type of game goes on all the time and it's not particularly exciting to watch. And most observers tend to root for the large stack - the player who wants to play poker rather than win a coin toss and run.

But if you're interested in a quick double-up, this is how it's done:

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