Cash Games

Strategies for Cash Game Tables

Changing Your Style

Cash games require a different style of playing to tournaments. If you were Bill Gates then you would never technically run out of money (unless you were playing with Warren Buffett!) – the blinds never go up and you will never have to suddenly chuck all your chips in the middle of the poker table in a desperate attempt to scoop the blinds.

Walk, Don’t Run

Remember that you are in this for the long haul and not just a quick hit. Unless of course you get very lucky.

All of the cliches can come out for this: It’s a marathon not a sprint and so on…

You should always be folding mediocre hands and have the patience to be able to do this for a long time at cash tables. Second-best poker hands can end up costing you a lot of money. If you find you get bored easily waiting for premuim hands, why not open up two or three tables at once. That way you are seeing more cards and will be involved in more action at the poker table.

Basic cash game strategy requires you to play the big pairs, TT, JJ, QQ, KK, AA and big aces AJ, AQ, AK. This goes without saying. When you decide to play these hands, make sure you put in a decent raise. Raising will filter out people playing (and hitting) mediocre hands, and it will give you “control” of the table. You always find out a lot more information about your opponent’s cards if you raise rather than flat call.

If there are a lot of players in the pot, you can look at playing suited connectors. TJs, 56s, QKs are all good hands to join a pot with simply because you have more outs to hit. With suited connectors you can make a straight or a flush with your two hole cards. These strong hands are required in order to beat everyone else’s hand who has entered the pot with you. By playing suited connectors you will most likely be playing a drawing hand from the flop. In order to get the correct odds to continue playing your hand it helps to have a couple more players involved.

Keep Ahead Of The Pot

Every pot that you play will be “raked”. This is the casino’s way of making money and is normally 5% of each pot up to a maximum amount. However, you need to make sure that you can keep ahead of the rake, and that there is new blood joining the poker table often.

Maximise Your Poker Income

Poker Strategy Tip

Hot Tip: If you have a half pot size stab at the pot, you only need to win a third of the time to get even money.

How long to stay at the poker table is a tricky question. Some people like to hit and run whereas others like to stay if they are winning. It all depends on how well you believe you can play against the table.

SCB prefer to set an agreed amount that will be made or lost before sitting down. When Duff and Vster hit Las Vegas, we each sat down with $100. If we both doubled up, then we moved on to the next casino. If one of us lost all our chips, then we moved on to the next poker room.

If our texas holdem poker strategy is winning and the table is rammed full of fish then we will continue to make some more money but normally these limits are adhered to.

Don’t Spend More Than you Intended

Duff playing poker at the MGM Casino, Las VegasIt is certinaly NOT a good idea to reach into your pocket for more money if you have been ruined. Unless you firmly believe that you are way better than everyone else and have literally had the worst luck in the world, not only will losing loads start to set you on tilt but it will also show the others at the poker table who they are going to get their money from!

You make your money from the fish at the poker table. Don’t let yourself become one of them.

If you suffer many bad beats and are serisouly short stacking then it’s best to walk away and find a different table.

Playing Limit Poker

Limit poker is a great way to earn money so long as you know your limits (literally) and your poker odds. As long as you have the bankroll and play the odds / table as best you can, then you should definitely be showing a profit.

The low-limit tables such as 2/4 or 4/8 will be full of monkeys so steer clear. However the odds which you play will more than make up for the odd “suck-out” which monkeys get by not playing the correct pot odds. You will easily get odds to call even for gutshot draws in these type of games.

You will struggle to get such loose players in the more middle limits, however you will get a more interesting and respected game.

SCB would not recommend sitting down at the lowest of no-limit texas holdem poker tables as these are packed to the rafters from the local zoo with the local reject monkeys!

They sit down having either only played online or having never really played at all and they will defy all odds and ruin you time and time again.

Although these tables are wonderful for picking up tells, it is very hard to play against such people unless you are prepared to sit tight and hit them hard when you have a good hand.

Don’t let one mistake rule how you play the hand!

Just because you make a mistake pre-flop and call with a poker hand that you probably shouldn’t, doesn’t mean that at the nearest opportunity you fold! Every new bit of action needs to be evaluated as it is at that moment. Work out the pot odds, and if they are good then keep playing.

Love Thy Fish

Good poker players rarely criticize their opponents’ play – you don’t want to scare suckers from the table, or even worse, motivate them to start playing better. Think of it this way:

When you’re at a pet store, there is almost always a sign that says: “Don’t tap on the aquarium!”

Try To Assess Why Someone Has Raised

Have they raised as a defensive mechanism or are they getting more money in there with the best hand? You need to look at it from their perspective and see what the reason is. It may not be the same play that you would make, however they are not you, so you need to try to take a step back and assess what is going on.

Is this someone who hardly ever raises or do they raise all the time?

This not only goes for poker but it happens all the time. Why has your partner just shouted at you? Is it something that you have done or is it because they need to get it off their chest?! – looking at it from their side can very often reveal the answer, and then you can act accordingly rather than losing more than you have to.

Taking one step back will very often lead to taking 3 steps forward.

Don’t Get Bullied Around!

You will very often find that when you are in a vulnerable position (such as the big blind) that if everyone has folded round to the button, then said button player or the small blind will raise to try to pinch your BB. We’ve all had it and you normally look down to find 72u and so you opt to fold – however – if you keep doing this then they will see this as a free lunch and raise all day long. (I know I would!)

You must stand up to bullies. A simple reraise (even with nothing) will make them think twice about doing it again with junk hands!

Stand up for yourself even just once and it will save you in the long run!

Aggression – The Key to Success?

Normally in a texas holdem poker game, aggression is something that is a must-have tool. People may disagree with me, however I feel that it is a must-have tool in life as well. Take for example driving. The nicest person in the world can sit at a T-junction forever as no-one will let them out; a simple nudge and showing your intentions can easily get someone to fold and let you in.

If in doubt raise – it’s the only way to find out where you are.

In Summary

When playing in a texas holdem cash game, be careful who you are playing against. If they are clearly worried about loosing their money then you can attempt to bully them more. However, on the flip side, if they are prepared for a gamble and have lots of money in their pocket then they will most probably call any bluff thats going just to see.

One comment

  1. I have forever changed my game to match your advice!!!

    Comment by JR on March 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm

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