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Transition to live play - how do you keep track of chips totals and stack sizes?

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I've been going to a few smaller tournaments at my local poker room, Ocala Poker & Jai Lai.

One of my biggest challenges is keeping track of stack size for both myself and my opponents.

You start taking down a few pots, especially after the antes, and you find yourself concentrating on counting how many chips you have, doing math on BBs, etc. rather than concentrating on hands and making reads.

And when tables start breaking and new players come in I get lost trying to count their stacks. "Is this guy really deep stacked or does he just have a lot of medium count chips he hasn't colored up, etc.?"

Are there any tips or techniques to simplify the process?

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As for keeping track of your chip count. Get into a habit of stacking your chips up in certain amounts, i.e. 20 chip stacks. {20 green (T25) = T500, 20 black (T100 = 2k)

As far as keeping track of other player's chip stacks. Eventually you should be able to look at a stack and say "That looks like x amount", until you get to that point, you can kinda use your chip stack size as a reference.

Unfortunately in most tournaments, if you ask an opponet how much he has behind or how many chips he has, he doesn't have to tell you and the dealer is not allowed to count there chips, unless that player is already all-in.

Also, players must keep their larger denomination chips out front or on top of their stack, clearly visible. Not all dealers pay close attention to this so always make sure you "slow down" and pay attention that this person isn't hiding larger chips behind smaller valued chips, if you see this, just ask him politely to move the chips up top or out front, then usually the dealer will chime in and tell him as well.

Hope this helped.

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Good advice from Hoosier. You should always have a pretty close estimate of your own chips at all times so that shouldnt take up much time or effort. I suggest counting the stacks that are going to impact your decision right when you're thinking about your decision and focus on watching hands when you're not in them. Try to get a rough idea of where everyone is at in your head along the way. The play in Ocala isn't at a level where precise stack sizing is going to have a huge impact anyway so have a rough idea is going to be fine.

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true a rough estimate of most ppls stack is going to be fine. The thing you wanna be most careful about is getting involved with a short stack. Obv there comes a point when someone is short enough that you don't really wanna play a pot with them that you are gonna fold post, so being aware of the shorties is probably the most important.

BUT also keep in mind that most live players are not going to be stack size aware. So they aren't really thinking about their stack like you might be thinking about yours. So, in other words, don't assume that just cause they have 11bbs that they won't call a preflop raise and fold when they miss.

Question: I don't play live much at all, but it was my understanding that if you are involved with an opponent in a hand, they must give you a rough estimate of how much their playing. At least this happened to me on one occassion where a dealer required my opponent to tell me what he had behind. When the opponent just blurted out some random number that wasn't even close, the dealer then counted it.

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