JavaScript must be enabled for Sign In.
Please check your broswer settings.

Home \ Community \ Blogs \

The Road to Fame and Fortune


Topping up

By: Ov3rsight @ 07:59 (EST) / 405 / Comment ( 2 )

Topping up in cash games is a much debated subject. Should you top up to the maximum buy-in? Why? And how often? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Just for reference: topping up in a cash game is the practice of putting more money on the table once you take a few hits to your stack.

Frankly, I haven't a clue. I just don't. Why not you ask? Good question...

Doing a little research makes it clear: you should always top up to the full buy-in if you drop more than, say, 5-10% of that stack. I usually see only the one reason given: you want to be able to get max value for a monster if you do happen to get all-in. The only downside I can find is the risk of losing a whole lotta chips should you happen to enter tilt-city.

Well, once I lose a number of chips, my mindset is that of a losing player. That to me means topping up endangers more of my bankroll. Without topping up, I lose the one buy-in and that's it. Also, I like the idea of fighting back to a starting stack. To see your stack go ove the original buy-in after a deficit gives me a great feeling. Today I lost almost half my buy-in within the first 15 minutes of play. For another hour I hovered between half a buy-in and a full stack. I was pretty much card dead, and everytime I did pick up a hand it got folded around. Of th pots I played I missed the flop on all but one hand.

But I exercised a lesson learned last week, the lesson of patience. Sooner or later I should actually get a hand good enough to win a decent pot with. And sure enough, finally I got pocket Queens and not everyone folded. In fact, the UTG player raised to 4 x. So there I sat pondering what to do. Raise to 12 x or so and putting in a quarter of my remaining stack, or just shove it. I could of course raise a bit bigger than 12 x so that I'd actually have a pot-sized bet left and then shove the flop.

In the end I decided to shove right here for simple reasons. First, I didn't wanna run the risk of the flop coming Ace high and the other guy donk-shoving into me. Then what do you do with your Queens... Second, I didn't want to run the risk of the flop scaring him away and folding to my flop shove. This was my one chance to get back to a starting stack after all. And third, the guy had me covered by a whole lot, and I felt he actually had a decent hand possible of calling a short-stack shove. And he did. The flop indeed came Ace high, but fortunately the guy didn't have the AK, just a pair of 7. And so I got back to my original starting stack. Plus the blinds. Now had I topped up, I would have had double the stack I'd had now. That would have been way too big to shove, so I'd have made a normal raise, got scared out of my its my the Ace on the flop, and I might likely have lost the hand. By not topping up, I had a shovable stack that actually had a decent hance of being called by worse (AK, AQ, any pocket pair). An hour and a half of play and I was up by a whopping 10 Big Blinds. Not a huge profit, but considering I was down 50 Big blinds for over an hour, it's still satisfying to finish the session in the black.

But what it comes down to ... is such a story enough to make a final decision on topping up? Probably not since it's just the one example. This blog certainly won't end any discussion on topping up, least of all for me. I just know that for the time being, I'll stick to the status quo of not topping up. Unless of course there's a whole lot of people coming up with more reasons to start doing it except the one already mentioned...

In order to comment, you must login or register.
Take Quiz
New here? Take our Poker Assessment to start your education.
already a member? sign in here
JavaScript must be enabled for Sign In.
Please check your broswer settings.
Learn From basics to advanced strategy
Practice Improve your skills with our trainers
Win! Establish yourself as a winning player
/Featured Promotions/
Progressive Jackpot Progressive Jackpot Playing our new 'Scratch & Match' game is free and very easy. If you match 3 symbols you win a prize!!!! View details
Earn 10 Tournament Tickets Today! Earn 10 Tournament Tickets Today! Invite your friends to join Poker School and you could earn up to 10 tournament tickets as a reward! View details

Getting PokerStars is easy: download and install the PokerStars game software, create your free player account, and validate your email address. Clicking on the download poker button will lead to the installation of compatible poker software on your PC of 51.7 MB, which will enable you to register and play poker on the PokerStars platform. To uninstall PokerStars use the Windows uninstaller: click Start > Control Panel and then select Add or Remove programs > Select PokerStars and click Uninstall or Remove.

Copyright (c) All rights reserved, Rational Group, Douglas Bay Complex, King Edward Road, Onchan, Isle of Man, IM3 1DZ. You can email us on