Why short stacks are better value for GGPoker Day 2 staking

A few months ago GGPoker introduced a staking feature for Day 2 survivors of their tournaments called Adjusted Stack Markup (ASMU). It sounds complicated but it basically multiplies your initial buy-in by the number of starting stacks you have won to get to Day 2.

So if you play an $100 MTT with 10,000 starting stacks and get to Day 2 with 30,000 your ASMU is 3.0 and you can sell 1% for $3 (you can also apply an additional markup if you think you are skilled enough, which most people do).

What tends to happen is Day 2 starts near the money, for example the ‘Siege of Malta’ event last weekend started with about 1,200 Day 1 survivors and the payouts started at 1,100. So buying a piece on Day 2 has a high chance of at least mincashing.

With that in mind, who should you buy a piece of? Most people would assume you should buy a piece of the chipleaders because they have the best chance of winning, while avoiding the short stacks as they are among the only players likely to miss out on a min cash. That instinct would be wrong.

Day 2 staking with ASMU information

What is that stack worth?

Let’s start with a very simple example which mimicks what you often see on Day 2 of GGPoker tournaments. This is a $100 MTT with 5,000 starting stacks. 120 players enter, 12 get paid and 15 remain. The chip leader has 100,000 (ASMU of 20) and the shortest stack has just their 5,000 starting stack (AMSU of 1). If they sold at face value ASMU with no additional markup the chip leader could sell 1% for $20 and the short stack would sell 1% for $1.

Take a look at the stacks and the payouts below and before going further, ask yourself how much you think the chip leader’s stack is worth in real money as well as the short stack. The top prize is $3,500 and the min cash is $200.


Now let’s look at what ICM calculator ICMIZER actually values them at:


With a first prize of $3,500 and ASMU valuing 1% at $20, I think a lot of people would assume the chipleader’s stack is worth somewhere between $2,000 and $2,500. It is actually worth $1,584.76 and thus should cost $15.8 for 1%. It is worth 20% less than ASMU. The short stack which has an ASMU of 1 is actually worth $168.92, almost 69% more than the face value GGPoker would have set. 1% of the short stack is actually worth $1.69, not $1.

The short stack has a greater upside

This highlights a fundamental law of ICM which is that chips decrease in value the more of them you have. You see this in final table deals all the time, people greatly overestimate the big stack’s value and assume the short stack is worthless. The reality is that the amount the chip leader can win is capped. If they have 50% of the chips in play but first prize is 20% of the prize pool, that is the maximum they can win. The short stack, however, not only can win the mincash, they can go on to ladder up the rest of the payouts too.

Practically speaking in this example if you bought 1% of the chipleader for $20, the maximum you could win would be $35 for an ROI of 75%. If, however, you bought 1% of the short stack for $1 the top prize is still $35 but your ROI is 3,400%. Plus the chances of you simply mincashing are much greater than most novices assume.

So if you are looking for value in the Day 2 staking feature at GGPoker, keep an eye on the short stacks with low markups. The sky is the limit for them and they are usually undervalued according to ASMU. A chipleader with an additional markup could literally be burning money.

For a more detailed analysis of Day 2 staking I highly recommend this video from Dara O’Kearney and Adam Owen where they break it down in detail (yours truly gets a mention too):

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Do you do Day 2 staking at GGPoker? Let us know in the comments:

Barry Carter

Barry Carter

Barry Carter is the editor of PokerStrategy.com and the co-author of The Mental Game of Poker 1 & 2, Poker Satellite Strategy and PKO Poker Strategy

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