Cash Game Strategy
They say cash is king but poker fans would probably revamp that motto to read cash games are king. Playing cash games isn’t just the best way to learn the game of poker when you’re starting out, but once you’ve developed your skills it can be consistently profitable. When you consider the thousands of great cash games happening right now, it pays to know how to win. Empower yourself with the tips and tools you need to succeed playing cash games and watch your bankroll balloon.
Success Takes Discipline
All successful cash game strategies are based on discipline. It’s important to pace yourself and not play every hand. When you realise that the blinds will remain the same no matter how long you stay at a table, it’s easy to say how far patience can take you. Discipline means adhering to everything you’ve learned, practiced, and studied while avoiding all impulses and temptations. A little self-control will pay dividends in the long run.
Know Your Position
Position is a term that gets thrown around a lot in the poker world and it’s as simple as it sounds. Position is where you are seated relative to the dealer. Your position affects how invested you’ll be in a hand and how many players will get to act after you’ve already made your move. When you occupy a later position, you’ll have the luxury of having no mandatory financial stake in the hand preflop. That’s precisely when you get to play tight.
Sit Still and Play Tight
Cash Game Strategy At A Glance
- Resist the temptation to play every hand even during short sessions.
- Use poker tracking and analysis tools to know your opponents.
- Keep tabs on your bankroll and bring at least 100X the BB to the table.
- Find the fish and play with them.
- Use the chat feature to engage with players and keep them at the table.
- Don’t be afraid to leave the table if you dislike your performance or opponents.
Time really is on your side when you play cash games. Not only can you walk away on a whim, but your success doesn’t depend on longevity. When you play tournaments you need the stamina and hands to outlast your opponents over the long haul, which can sometimes take several hours. You can’t win your share of the prize pool without staying power. Impressive hands early on can end up being nothing other than footnotes on your way to defeat in a tournament. Yet in cash games, a few great hands in a session can make your night, no matter when you land them. The trick is to play only your great hands and be especially tight in early positions.
What constitutes playing tight from an early position will depend on the quality and number of your opponents. As a general rule in Texas Hold’em play ace-queen, ace-king, or a pair of tens or better. You can loosen up your strategy with weaker opponents, adding any two face cards to the mix.
Know Your Opponents
There’s value in every hand, even if you lose. Cash games are the perfect opportunity to get to know your opponents intimately. You don’t have to care about their weekend plans or what they ate for dinner, but you should care about their statistics. Take advantage of poker tracking and analysis software to generate player profiles. Even when you face an unknown player, you’ll know what to expect on average. This data is particularly useful since it’s based on your particular poker room and chosen stakes. Try creating reports on winning players and learn from the best. You’ll be surprised just how valuable your data can be. It’s a huge benefit of playing online poker and it’s one you should aim to exploit at every possible turn.
When you find yourself seated in a late position, you can safely raise with a suited king-queen pair or better before the flop. If you have a pair lower than 9 or two sequential cards of the same suit, you can call up to 5 times the big blind. This is only a rule of thumb and you’ll need to tweak it depending on where you play.
Avoid bluffing in cash games especially against weak opponents, who will likely just call anyway. You should avoid needlessly investing in the pot. In the long run, the math will work out in your favour if you wager properly.
Keep Your Ears And Eyes Open
Even if online cash games lack the traditional tells that are a hallmark of offline poker, the built in chat feature can speak volumes. Talk to your opponents. If you are engaging without being annoying, your opponents are more likely to remain at your table. Use this opportunity to collect data and make notes on what hands they play. Look for patterns and work this to your advantage. Remember, it’s much easier to choose your opponents in cash games.
Checkout Anytime You Like
Hate your opponents in the worst way possible? Feel like the world is out to get you? While being patient is important, take advantage of the ability to switch tables when you play online cash games. Better yet play multiple tables at once and abandon or replace the ones that don’t suit your needs. It’s really that easy. Hundreds of other options are always a click away.
Even though you can re-buy with the click of a mouse button, not bringing enough cash to the table can impact you psychologically. Most experts recommend bringing at least 100 times the big blind, which would be $10 to a $0.05/$0.10 game.
Learn more about our recommended bankroll management tips.
Feasting on the fish is often as easy as bringing your rod to the right pond. You can’t guarantee the presence of fish at a particular table, but many of them end up at $1/$2 no limit Hold’em tables. Watch them call repeatedly and prepare to take their money.