Good online players know instinctively when they should play their cards or not. However, the strongest players in the game also keep tabs of every opponent’s stack size, in particular those opponents that are still waiting to play and are short stacked. Tracking of short stacks at the table, will have a large impact on your determination to play or not.
That might be severe but it is utterly true where for example you have a nice-looking hand like Queen of spades and Jack of hearts in late position, that you would ordinarily raise you are 1st to act. However, if one of the blinds is a short stack and is likely to move all in, you will probably want to reconsider this showdown based on both of your stack sizes. Even though your opponent may be short stacked, if he wins a hand against you, then you may become a short.
Some players plainly go to far out of their way to try and decimate a short stack, without consideration of their own situation if they are way behind, and lose. Too frequently, too much is riding on a situation where you’re only a marginal favorite to win the hand, because some players may feel invinicible against a smaller stack.
The trouble in forcing short stacks to play with you is that since they do not have much of a choice, you will very often the entering into a negative EV(Expected Value) situation. This almost always changes if you have a goliath stack or a green mzoned where you can easily yield such a loss. The theory behind this is that if you enter in enough of these hands you are going to be positive EV and can greatly improve your chances of cashing large in the tournament.
These type of ICM plays also fare well when you are three or four handed, and the blinds are rather huge to all the players remaining at the table. That is a viable and reccomended strategy and most master advice that you read about in these spots will agree. Nevertheless, at a full table – you want to take special note of stack situations of everyone remaining.