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Poker cash-game strategy


Cash-game is one of the most difficult poker disciplines. Primarily because the players’ stacks in this game for the most part are 100 big blinds. This fact transfers the most part of the action on a postflop, compared to the tournaments where most of the chips are won in the preflop all-ins, that's why a poker strategy is more complicated here.

There are a lot of strategy peculiarities in the cash-game that new players should know before sitting at the table. The priority issue is what stacks’ size you are going to play at the tables. There are several strategies that depend on your selected stack:

  • Short stack strategy (SSS)

This strategy implies the fact that the player takes from 20 up to 40 big blinds at the table. This strategy conception totally tied to the mathematic because of the players’ stacks limitation. This cash-strategy type is similar to the tournament play at the late stages. Despite of this strategy’s essential mathematic component, new players should pay attention to it for the cash-game learning. You won’t be able to lose a lot if you follow a short stack strategy. Also you will have a less opportunity to make the expensive mistakes in a postflop play.

It is important to note that many poker-rooms (including PokerStars) don’t let their players sit at the table with a stack of 20 big blinds, it is required to have 40 BB or more.

  • Middle stack strategy (MSS)

This strategy is a more complex SSS version and it implies a deeper understanding of postflop game. According to this strategy the player takes the stack in the amount of 40 big blinds or a half from the maximum acquisition at the table. This strategy began popular when the largest poker-room has increased the minimal buy-in at the cash-tables. In essence, this strategy concept is the game symbiosis with a short stack and large stack.

  • Big stack strategy

This strategy is the most complex one in the cash-games. You should take the stack in the amount of 100 big blinds at the table according to this strategy. It is essentially intended to maximize the winnings due to the using of the stack depth and high level of postflop play understanding. In this strategy your game mistakes will cost you a lot of money. In order to earn the money in a sustained way in this discipline you should have the stat tracking programs at your opponents and different poker calculators.

Apart from the differences in the stacks sizes there are a lot of cash-game aspects which we are going to talk about hereinafter.

A simple ABC poker as for texas hold em strategy is enough for a profitable play at the micro-limits.

First of all, it should be mentioned that you should try to avoid the professional players’ blow-ups at the tables. Find the favorable tables and play against the amateurs who will often pay off your strong combination.

There are still a lot of amateurs who just crave to grant you their money. The sophisticated methods and bluffs sometimes impede the main idea to make a profit, to build the bankroll and move to the higher limits.

A simple ABC-poker is still enough to beat the micro-limits.

The button is the most profitable position at the poker table.

Your position has a huge impact on the action scenario. The button is a key and the most profitable position at the poker table since the player at this position is the last one to act. It means that the player will always have the greatest amount of information about the opponents who acted before him.

The player, who is to the right of the button and is called “cut-off”, has a strong advantage too. The player at this position acts instantaneous before the button and can potentially restrict his actions. The players at the early positions have the less favorable locations at the tables since they have a little information. That’s why for beginners it is recommended to enter the game from the early positions only with a strong part of a starting hands range.

You should remember: the closer you are to the button the wider range you can play, because you will have a favorable position with regard to the early positions.

You should bluff logically.

The bluff is the most exciting part in poker. But you can bluff at the tables in any situations only in Hollywood movies. In the real game the bluff might be wisely and well thought out. When you bluff against your opponent, then in essence you are telling him the history. This history’s aim is that your opponent will fold the strongest hand and give you the pot.

The successful bluff should convince the opponent that you have a hand which definitely beat him out. That’s why you should estimate how your actions are perceived by your opponent. Whether your story is consistent and coherent?

If you have decided to bluff in a totally unfavorable situation then there are good chances that a strong player will realize it and you will lose even more.

And the last thing we are going to talk about is probably the most important factor that will determine your results. When should you leave the game? If you have chosen the cash-game as your main discipline then you can do it in any moment. There are several ways to determine the time at the tables:

  • To impose a time-frame before the session starts (for example, you should necessarily play two hours and then make a break);
  • The quantity of played hands (for example, to play not less than 3 000 hands);
  • When you felt the fatigue or tilt from a lot of badbeats;
  • When you cannot find the favorable tables with the amateurs at your limit any more.

Remember, sometimes the decision to leave the game is the most positive from the possible ones.