Poker Strategy for Cash Games

Poker strategy cash game

In poker strategy cash game is one of the most difficult disciplines. Primarily because the stacks of the players in it are mostly 100 big blinds. This fact shifts most of the action postflop, unlike tournaments where most chips are won preflop all-in. In the cash games, there are many strategic features that a beginner should know before sitting down at the tables.

Like MTT, poker cash game online is considered one of the main disciplines in poker. At the cash tables, it is important to adjust your game to your opponents in time and change your strategy depending on the number of players at the table and the limits. The variance in cash is much smaller than in tournament poker, but you should be prepared for protracted downswings and prepare your bankroll for negative sessions in advance.

In this article, we will consider the main poker strategy for cash games, its variants and features, as well as specific cash game tips that will help you understand the basics. In many ways, it all depends on your stack, but you should not forget about the position and strength of your opponents. Successful application of winning tactics can improve the results in the long run.

Poker Strategy Cash Game By Stacks

In poker, all participants are dealt the same number of hole cards, but they play with them in different ways. Most poker players have their own tactics, but their opponents are also not sitting idly by. There is a big difference between tournament poker strategy and cash games. A strategy for cash games is a rather complex thing which professionals have devoted many educational books to.

In the cash game, there are a large number of strategic features that a beginner should know before sitting down at the tables. What matters a lot is what stack you are going to play with at the tables. There are several strategies that depend on the chosen stack:

Short Stack Strategy (SSS)
Short Stack Strategy (SSS)

This cash poker strategy consists in the fact that the player takes from 20 to 40 big blinds at the table. The concept is completely tied to mathematics due to the limited stacks of players. This kind of strategy is similar to tournament play in the later stages. Despite the significant mathematical component, a beginner should pay attention to this concrete approach in the start of playing this discipline. You won't be able to lose much if you stick to a short stack strategy, and you'll have fewer opportunities to make expensive mistakes postflop.

Medium stack strategy (MSS)
Medium stack strategy (MSS)

A more sophisticated version of SSS, it suggests a deeper understanding of postflop play. The player takes 40 big blinds or half of the maximum purchase at the table with him to the table. This poker strategy for cash games became popular after the largest poker rooms raised the minimum purchase at cash tables. In fact, this is a symbiosis of short and big stack play.

Also, this approach is often used by those players who usually play with deep stacks but want to try a more expensive limit. So with the help of a medium stack, they can learn new tables and not immediately risk large sums.

Big Stack Strategy (BSS)
Big Stack Strategy (BSS)

This is the hardest cash game tactic: you need a stack of 100 big blinds. Its essence is aimed at maximizing winnings through the use of stack depth and a high level of understanding of the postflop game. Game errors can be incredibly costly.

By the way, regardless of the chosen stack depth, players are always advised to wait for their turn to post the big blind when they sit down at a new table. Do not rush and put the BB out of turn, it will harm your profit at a distance.

Did you know?
Did you know?

A large number of poker rooms (including PokerStars) no longer allow their players to sit at tables with a stack of 20 big blinds, but require 40bb or more to start.

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Main Tips for Cash Players

In order to consistently make money in this discipline, you need to use programs for collecting statistics on opponents and a variety of poker calculators. In addition to differences in stack sizes, there are many more poker strategy cash game aspects, which we will discuss next.

Avoid regulars

First of all, it should be mentioned that you should try not to interfere in the battles of professional players at the table. Look for profitable tables and play against amateurs who will often pay off your strong hand.

At the micro limits, there are still many amateurs who do not know how to play poker at all. Complex tricks and bluffs often get in the way of the main idea, which is to make a profit, build a bankroll and move to higher limits. ABC poker strategy allows you to calmly beat the micro limits without the use of complex moves.

Position strength

The position has a great influence on the development of events at the table. The button is the most advantageous seat at the poker table, since the player there has the last word. This allows you to have more other information about the players who entered the game before the button.

Also, the player who sits to the right of the button has a strong role of a cut-off. The poker player in this position acts directly in front of the last one and can potentially limit his actions. Players who are in early positions have the least advantageous position at the table, because they have a small amount of information.

Therefore, from early positions, beginners are advised to enter the game only with the strongest cards that the poker cheat sheet of starting hands offers. The closer you get to the button, the wider the range you can play, as you will have an advantageous position relative to early positions.

Is it possible to use an online poker cash games strategy in tournaments?
Is it possible to use an online poker cash games strategy in tournaments?

For tournament poker players the strategy is quite different. The tactics depend on the stage of the tournament, as well as the format of the event. The main goal is to survive as long as possible in order to get more prize money.

Bluff intelligently

Bluffing is one of the most exciting parts of poker. But only in Hollywood films at the table you can bluff in absolutely any situation. In a real game, any action must be meaningful and well thought out.

When you bluff your opponent, you are essentially telling him a story. The purpose of this story is for your opponent to fold the strongest hand and give you the pot. A successful move has to convince your opponent that you have a hand that definitely beats him, so you have to evaluate how your actions look in his eyes. Is your story coherent and logical?

If you decide to bluff in an absolutely inappropriate situation, then chances are that a strong player will realize this, and you will lose even more.

Don't be a limper

Many beginner players like the idea of limping into the game, because you can spend only one blind and see the flop. And there you can collect a good combination and start playing aggressively. However, you need to understand that such a strategy is not suitable for regular use. For beginners, it is recommended to use a tight-aggressive game with narrow ranges and active bets with a combination. It is worth entering the game with an open-raise or a 3-bet.

If there are limpers at your table, then you can start exploiting them yourself. Most likely, these are weak players, which means it will be beneficial to try to isolate them and stay heads-up post-flop. This can be done with fairly wide ranges from position.

Know how to exit the game in time

Finally, let's talk about the most important poker strategy cash game advice that will determine your poker results. When to leave the game? If you have chosen the cash game as the main discipline, you can do this at any time. There are several ways to determine the time at the tables:

  • Set yourself a time frame before the start of the session (for example, be sure to play two hours and then take a break);
  • Number of hands played (let's say play at least 3,000 hands). Note that Zoom poker strategy allows you to play a small number of tables (2 or 3 tables give a lot of action, but there is time to think about each decision);
  • In case of tilt from coolers or fatigue;
  • In the absence of profitable tables with amateurs at your limit.

Often the decision to leave the game in time is the most positive of all possible ones in cash poker. This way you can save most of your bankroll. Many poker players had their careers ruined due to the fact that they did not leave the table in time and ended up losing a fortune.

Pros and Cons of this Discipline

Let's understand what are the advantages and disadvantages of cash compared to tournament poker:

  • ​More freedom in choosing a lifestyle. MTT fans are tied to the tournament schedule, and can only afford small breaks during game sessions. Cash players themselves choose the time to play and make a convenient schedule for themselves.
  • More opportunities to analyze the game. At the cash tables, there is no need to worry about payjumps and blinds levels, and you can focus on playing competently postflop and exploiting your opponents.
  • Variance is much lower. You are unlikely to encounter such terrible downswings in the cash game that tournament players experience. Yes, sometimes you will have bad periods in the game. But competent bankroll management and work on yourself will allow you to get out of the downswing with the least losses.
  • Lower bankroll requirements. It is possible that in MTT you hardly have enough buy-ins for a comfortable game. But in the cash, 40-50 buy-ins per limit will be quite enough for you.
  • There are significantly more regulars at the cash tables. As a rule, stronger players prefer it because this discipline requires a deep understanding of the game. Freedom and less exposure to variance attract regulars willing to work hard to achieve the ideal lifestyle.
  • Cash may seem like a chore to you. The same actions, the same players... Even the most dedicated grinders sometimes get tired of the monotony of these games.
  • You will not be able to make a huge profit in one session. On average, a good day at the cash tables can be estimated at +2-3 buy-ins (sometimes more). But this is nothing compared to MTT, where one tournament can get you +100-200 buy-ins at a time.
  • The rake in cash games is usually higher. This is especially felt on micro limits, where it is usually called "robbery". At the cash tables, you'll pay rake on all hands in which you reach the flop. In tournaments, you are only raked once for each buy-in.

Final Thoughts

This article outlines the three main strategies for cash games: short stacks, medium stacks, and deep stacks. The first two are most often chosen by beginners and amateurs, as it is easier for them to play in this manner. The one with a deep stack is an advanced poker cash game strategy, more suitable for professionals and high rollers, as they know their advantage at a distance.

We also talked about the main points that you should pay attention to when choosing tactics. This is just a small part of the iceberg on which the cash game is built. If you want to achieve success in poker, devote enough time to learning and then the result will not be long in coming.

FAQ
💎 How can I improve my poker cash game?

For beginners in cash games, it is recommended to start with the lowest limits. It's a good idea to look at poker starting hand charts for your chosen format to build a foundation for playing. To improve your results, you need to work hard on theory, not just on practice. For this, you can on a regular basis watch streams and broadcasts of professional players in the same discipline, do a constant analysis of the played hands after each session, and work with poker programs and solvers. Reading poker forums and discussing strategies and tactics with other poker players is also helpful.

💸 Is cash game poker profitable?

There is no single answer to this question, as it depends on a large number of factors. Firstly, it depends on the player's skill level, his play style, his bankroll management, the number of his mistakes and so on. Secondly, it is also connected with luck, since at a short distance, each player can get into a downswing and lose due to dispersion. That is why in cash games you need to evaluate the results only at a long distance. If you play a lot and follow the recommendations, constantly work on theory and practice, then you can get profit in these games. This will directly depend on the player's win rate and the skill level of his opponents. Also important is the size of the rake and rakeback, as well as related promotions of the poker room (for example, leaderboards).

🎯 Is there a strategy to online poker?

There are two most popular disciplines in online poker: poker tournaments and cash games. For each discipline there is a separate strategy and a large number of useful recommendations. In cash games, strategies can differ depending on the size of the stacks, the level of opponents, the limits and many other factors. It is very important to be able not only to understand the charts of starting hands and know the poker combinations, but also to constantly analyze the full-fledged situation and adapt to all factors. We have described in more detail the main tips for cash game strategy in our special material.

💡 How do you dominate cash games?

To achieve positive results at a distance in cash games, you need to take this activity seriously. It is very important to observe bankroll management and choose the right limits for the game. It is also important to be smart about your opponents at the tables. It is desirable that there are several weaker players at each table. Poker professionals most often play several tables at the same time. Loose-aggressive style of play is often used to dominate the game, which is characterized by wider ranges and frequent postflop betting. It is important to understand that this is a rather complicated strategy that is not suitable for beginners. Most often, pros choose a deep stack strategy, as there is more room for maneuver postflop. Also, such stacks allow you to deal with variance and show plus at a distance.

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