Stealing and the Power of the Big Stack

A steal in poker is a play in which a player raises with a hand that doesn't necessarily warrant the raise. The raise is an attempt to push other players out of the hand and pick up the blinds. The hope is always that other players will fold their hands, giving the A Classic case of Cats and Robbersaggressor the pot uncontested. The term steal refers to a player stealing a pot that he doesn't deserve to win, given the strength of his hand.

This is a common play in a game of poker, particularly in late position and in short handed games, where there are fewer players to play and so the opportunity to raise from late position occurs more frequently.

In tournaments, steals are very common and essential to achieve any success, particularly in the later stages where the blinds and antes are higher, making the steals more profitable. It's common place for players to target the more passive players who they have a greater chance of success. These players tend not to defend their blinds without the hand to justify. In contrast a good player would recognize that a player was consistently trying to steal their blinds and would defend, by re-raising back to them.

Stack sizes also come into play in which big stacks will regularly try to out muscle the smaller stacks. It is also very common to steal when a player has a massive chip stack. This is often the case where a big chip stack is up against a smaller stack. Defending with a smaller stack puts your tournament life at risk. This isn't the case for the big stack, who can afford to lose the hand.


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