C8C #6 – M Theory

Welcome to Newsletter number six! I hope the cards have been treating everyone fairly. They have been equitable for me. I finished 22nd out of 911 entrants in the $3500 WPT at the Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida. Darryll Fish ending up winning. Congratulations to him!

Last newsletter I told everyone not to worry about being a short stack. It is going to happen almost all the time. There were a few strategies I touched on and I want to dive deeper into M-ratio today.

Today’s Poker Advice:

M-ratio, M-Factor, M, etc… is a simple formula used to calculate how many rounds around the table we can survive if we fold. It takes our stack size and divides by the addition of the small blind, big blind, and antes. Let’s say our stack is 6000 and the blinds are 200/400 with a 50 ante at a nine handed table:
6000 / (200 + 400 + 450) = 5.7

Being exact with our math isn’t always important when calculating our M. [6000/1000 = 6] We can approximate and play accordingly. If we are close to the money in a tournament, we might want to factor that into our short stack decision making and tighten our ranges.

The next thing to consider is our table position. If we are short and want to move all in, the more people left to act behind us, the greater the chance of someone calling with a strong hand. M theory works because it gives us a barometer of when the pot is worth risking our stack, depending on what hands we have and what might call us. If it folds to us on the cutoff, we only have the button and blinds to beat. If we shove X percent of hands and only get called 70-80% of the time, that means:

* We are winning one M the majority of the time.
* If we do get called, we will have decent equity to double up.
* We are at risk, but by making an aggressive, profitable play in a spot where we won’t always get called.

M Chart for Shoving Ranges

To the left is a chart that will shows what ranges we should play and from what position. Don’t mind the graphic, it’s just tilted! Save it to your phone or computer.

If our M is 4 or less, we mostly want to be moving all in. If we have a higher M of 6-7 or 15-20bbs, we have more options than that. We can raise our really strong hands and bluffs (hands that could see a flop but not call all in), while shoving weaker hands to win the blinds and antes without action. Hope this quick lesson on M along with the chart helps you with your short stack game!

Best of luck,
-Tristan Wade