On Poker: Psycho, killer or gentleman — who has that stack?

In an ideal world, you hold the chip lead, and it doesn't matter if the poker is being played in a cash-game or tournament format. This also is the world where the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, the Dallas Cowboys are awesome again and you find a hidden $20 every time you reach into your jeans pockets after doing the laundry.

But the more likely reality is that somebody else at the table has the chip lead, and the resident big stack likely has one of the following three personas: the gentleman, the psycho or the stone-cold killer. Let's examine their tendencies:

The Gentleman

The big stack is nothing more than a fine detail to The Gentleman, who opts to continue to play his or her standard game regardless of the beneficial circumstances.

This traditionally is a sign of one or a combination of three things — the big stack is inexperienced in the position, is a financial tightwad, or is a true grinder looking to extend his or her bankroll in a deliberately controlled manner.


The best news about this player type is that you have free rein to continue to play your standard brand of poker without fear of bullying.

The Psycho

When the resident crazy has command of the big stack, he or she doesn't look at the profits as an opportunity to bank a big win — it's seen as a window to open up the gates for more gambling.

The Psycho, whom you never should bluff into, will look down at the 5c-4c, and will have no problem calling a big bet because he or she has the mentality that he or she is doing it with somebody else's money.

As difficult as this type is to play against, this person actually is a welcome sight, because this is the player type that is most likely to splash that money back to the rest of the table. Or walk away with all of it, if the hot streak is unyielding.

The Stone-Cold Killer

This is the player who uses the power of his or her stack as leverage against the rest of the table, applying maximum pressure when the situation allows it.

The Killer can smell it when an opponent sheepishly enters a pot and forces him or her to either commit more than he or she intended to with a speculative holding, or force total abandonment in the pursuit of seeing a flop or an extra card.


Your best hope against the Killer is to actually have the goods and spring a quality trap.

WSOP Schedule announcement/chances:The 2016 World Series of Poker schedule has been released, and with it comes the annual changes and alterations that make poker's signature tournament series lively. The 69-tournament schedule starts on May 31 and will run through July 18. For full details, go to

For the big-money players willing to enter a $10,000-buy-in tournament, including the Main Event, WSOP officials have pumped starting stacks up to $50,000, a 66 percent increase from 2015 levels.

Also, tournament payouts have been stretched. Instead of paying out the traditional top 10 percent of the field in any given tournament, events will now pay out 15 percent, with a minimum reward of one and a half times the buy-in amount. Officials estimate that most tournaments will now get into the money on Day 1 of the event.

Look for a more thorough breakdown in coming weeks.

What To Read Next
Get Local