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We’ve all suffered from it at one time or another. The mood is right. The setting perfect and then it happens. You get short stacked during your tournament or cash game. But how did it happen? It’s not a question of blood flow – or maybe it is.

Today we will take a look at five reasons that you get short stacked at the poker table that go beyond your typical “bad beats” and “coolers.” Evaluate your own game and see if any of these apply to you.

You Saw Boobs – And Then Became One

Some guys won’t admit it but chances are that most of us have had a female player sit down at the table and immediately discredit her or worse still we let our hormones take over. When this happens, we discredit everything about her poker ability until she takes a monster hand from us and leaves us with breadcrumbs.

jennifer tilly

If you pay close attention when a female player sits down, you can almost spot the guy that’s going to become the boob just because he saw a pair come to his table. Is it sexist? Yes. Is it hilarious to watch that guy get short stacked and try to explain it away? Absolutely.

You Had No Clue You Were Playing With a Pro

The previous example reminded me of a story from a few years ago. A young man sat down to my left and within a minute or two made an off hand comment about whether the tournament would run past “grandma’s bedtime.” “Grandma” was the player sitting to my right.

Well after two level, “Grandma” had proceeded to cut this guy’s stack down by about 80% because he just wouldn’t fold during any hand she was in. Someone clued this guy in on who grandma was during the break.

Barbara Enright

“Why didn’t any of you tell me she is Barbara Enright?” About half the table got a good laugh out of that one. It probably helps to know if you are playing with a pro at your table. Otherwise you may get short stacked and look like an idiot in the process.

Your Wife / Girlfriend / Life Partner Won’t Leave You Alone

man on phoneThere’s a reason many poker players can’t stay in a long-term relationship. At some point they will be in a tournament and their significant other just won’t leave them alone. They get called multiple times during a level and have to constantly leave the table to appease their honey.

For whatever reason, this player doesn’t know how to cut off their phone. They are too afraid to upset their honey. However, it often ends up with the two arguing on the phone and the player practically throwing the tournament.

Before you say that this sounds like a very “male” explanation, that’s because I seldom see females arguing with their husbands on the phone during a tournament. They have seemed to have figured out how to cut their phones offs or they just text between hands. Males tend to be a little slower on the uptake.

So men, either stay single or learn how to cut your phone off during a tournament. Your bankroll will thank you.

You’re Hungry

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen a poker player virtually throw a poker tournament because they are too hungry to think straight. One time, there was a guy whose stomach was making so much noise that the dealer thought he said raise when action was on him.

Your body has needs, so don’t overlook them for the sake of a poker tournament. Hungry? Eat a Snickers. You tend to get short stacked when you’re hungry.

You Think You’re Gus Hansen

Notice how a lot of poker pros recommend that you don’t try the moves that you see them do on TV? Part of that is because a lot of times you’re seeing an edited hand out of context but the other is because too many players have gotten themselves in trouble by emulating their favorite pros.

Gus Hansen used to be the one player that fans would emulate and then get crushed at the poker table. Sure, let me play 9-3 offsuit. Gus did it and stacked a player and I can too. After they lose most of their chips, they wonder how he is able to do it.

Remember folks, while Gus has won millions in live poker, he’s lost over $20 million online. Emulate him if you want, and please let us know where you’re playing.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.