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The Best Poker Tips for Cash Games | How to Win

Brace yourself. This article will be different. The first reason it will stand out is because you don’t find many 1/3 No Limit poker games that lead to wild experiences, but this cash game wasn’t wild in the sense of swings. You will see what I mean soon. If you’re after poker strategy and poker tips for cash games, there will be plenty of that as well. It will just be in a different form.

1/3 No Limit Cash Game: Horseshoe Bossier City

This cash game took place during the RunGood Poker Series at Horseshoe Bossier City. I only played a few cash game sessions. The majority of my time went to the Texas Hold’em poker tournaments.

I would have played another cash game session or two, but after busting the Main Event (flopped the nuts) and putting my name on the cash game list, the guy running the games got pissed off because I asked him how long the wait would be. I think he was flustered because it was busy, but the dude shouldn’t be working the cash games if he can’t handle the pressure.

Whenever I saw that dude running the cash games, I felt a wave of negative energy come over me and wouldn’t play. I would do something else, such as eat at the Jasmine Noodle Bar or read a chapter of Harry Potter (I have since put the book down due to losing interest).

As bizarre as the following might sound, one of my poker tips for cash games is not to get involved when feeling negative energy. I know that might sound a little too Zen-ish, but I have found good and bad energy and their impacts to be real.

As far as 1/3 NL goes, I like it because it plays closer to a 2/5 than a 1/2. There were no 2/5 NL games being spread at this establishment. It was usually 1/3 NL or 4/8 FL.

Thought about playing the 4/8 FL game just to relax and have some fun since I like to have fun, but I decided to hop on the 1/3 game instead. I did hear that a 20/40 game broke out one night. I also heard that the RunGood crew went out one night, came back to the poker room, and talked the dealer into changing the game to PLO. Well played!

Poker Tips for Cash Games: The Approach & Early Reads

When I looked over to the 1/3 game that night, which was actually 7 a.m., I noticed Preston sitting in Seat 2.

Before getting to that, I had just woken up from a five-hour nap. You don’t sleep much on poker trips. Instead, you take naps at odd times. A five-hour nap is the equivalent to a bear oversleeping a few days during hibernation. You come out of that sombitch ready to go! And I’m using sombitch instead of son of a bitch because this area of Louisiana has a large East Texas influence.

You also couldn’t pick a better time to start a cash game when there’s a poker series going on.

RunGood poker series

Many players will play cash games for 12-24 hours. They’re exhausted. When you come in fresh after a five-hour nap, you feel like a shark in a koi pond. I guess that wouldn’t be much to eat, but you catch my drift.

As far as Preston goes, he’s a strong LAG player (sometimes TAG), so I knew he wouldn’t be my target. In fact, we played together for five hours and we didn’t play one pot to showdown. Not playing poker hands against your biggest threat at the table is a good poker strategy, within our poker rules for winning, and 100% anti-Ego. Ego is the enemy. He was in Seat 2.

Breakdown for the Rest of the Table:

Seat 3: TAG. Had been up for a long time. Fun country dude. Didn’t take risks, which he even admitted.

Seat 4: Played 1-3 hands per orbit/never bluffed. Easy to play against, but tough to extract chips.

Seat 5: Big Cup Guy (drinking out of huge plastic cup). Played very few hands but would bluff if necessary. If he played a hand and had any potential, he would often play it to the river.

Seat 6: Medium Player. Easy to read.

Seat 7: The Big Fisherman. Big dude. His appearance might intimidate some people, but he didn’t play that way. He wouldn’t hesitate to get all his chips in the middle pre-flop if he had a premium hand. Otherwise, he wanted more information prior to investing.

Freaking Alfalfa

Seat 8: THE STRANGER. I’m not yelling at you. I apologize if it came off that way. It’s just that this dude was so strange that I needed to capitalize it. He reminded me of an adult version of Alfalfa. If you don’t know who that is, I recommend looking it up so you will have a mental image.

I knew who it was but looked it up anyway because I never knew what happened to this dude. Apparently, in real life, he went to collect money from a friend at his friend’s house. He threatened his friend with a knife at his friend’s front door. There was a struggle and his friend shot and killed him. Alfalfa was no more.

This is a murky story, though, and some people question what really happened. If you look closer, how did the friend suddenly have possession of a gun? I’m assuming most people don’t answer their front door with a gun when a friend knocks.

The Stranger

Anyway, Seat 8 is THE STRANGER. It wasn’t just his appearance. He said and did strange things. For instance, after winning one big pot, he said, “I won that because I ate a chocolate bar this morning.”

I didn’t get the joke, and I don’t think anyone else did either. And he probably didn’t, but he still laughed with his front teeth over his bottom lip while his shoulders bounced in laughter because he was excited. Your shoulders can bounce in humor, right? Don’t be a dick. You know what I mean.

Another time, THE STRANGER lost a big pot and said, “I done knew I shoulda brushed my teeth last night.”

I don’t even know. I do know this, though. Preston leaned over to me at one point and whispered, “That guy in Seat 8 has been going south.”

The Stranger Going South

This means THE STRANGER was removing chips from his stack and putting them in his pocket. This is not allowed and it’s terrible poker etiquette. The following is one of my most important tips for cash games: Never Go South!

If you do, you shall be shunned. When you go to your car in the parking lot, a minimum of three players from that cash game will stealthily follow you. Prior to entering your car, they will stop you and force you to get naked. They will then bring you to the front of the poker room where all poker players from that room will form two lines so you have a path to walk in the middle.

As you walk that path with your head down, they will throw Starbucks cupcakes at your head and shout, “Shame! Shame! Shame!”

Okay. That might not happen. But, you could be kicked out of the poker room. Therefore, this really is one of my most important poker tips for cash games.

The Stranger vs The Big Fisherman

THE STRANGER also called raises out of position over and over again. And his average time to act was 50 seconds. I didn’t actually time him. This was an estimate, but I would say it’s pretty accurate. It got to the point where The Big Fisherman said, “I was married to my first wife longer than it takes you to act.”

THE STRANGER: “Must have been an ugly wife, and I can take all the time I need.”

The Big Fisherman: “No you can’t. I’ll call the clock. Otherwise, we’d all be dead by the time you made a decision.”

This was getting nasty, but it was good for me, and it would be good for you. Here’s one of my other poker tips for cash games. When a situation like this is taking place, don’t get involved. Just know that it will benefit you. Both players are getting each other on tilt. There is a 99.9% chance that they will be flustered. This, in turn, is going to lead to decreased focus and rushed play.

For the record, The Big Fisherman could have crushed THE STRANGER in a physical altercation, but I think The Big Fisherman knew not to escalate the situation because THE STRANGER had the most chips on the table at that point, and everyone at the table knew he would have zero chips by the time he was done.

Slow Rolling The Stranger

You can’t call pre-flop raises out of position every orbit and win. It’s simply not possible. If you call pre-flop raises out of position every orbit, then you are shunned from these poker articles because you’re not following our poker rules for winning. I will reiterate: one of my poker tips for cash games is not to call pre-flop raises out of position on every orbit.

Here’s one other thing about THE STRANGER. He even pissed off Preston. That’s very difficult to do. If you ever see Preston, he looks like a chill rocker dude and he walks with a gait that let’s you know he doesn’t take life too seriously. Pissing him off is like pissing off Big Bird. It’s nearly impossible. Believe it or not, I pissed off Big Bird once, but it was in a dream and I don’t really want to get into it.

As far as Preston goes, he and THE STRANGER were involved in a big pot and THE STRANGER tabled top pair/top kicker. Preston kept his cards down and shook his head as though THE STRANGER had won the hand. He did this for a solid five seconds, then tabled two pair. That’s a slow-roll, folks. I’m glad Preston did this because it fueled more tilt for THE STRANGER.

Poker Tips for Cash Games: Attack Weakness

I haven’t gotten to Seat 9 yet, have I? That’s probably because the majority of my profit came from THE STRANGER. I started this session down $85 (bought-in for $300), but I didn’t panic. I waited for the right spots, which was mostly to play pots against THE STRANGER when I had position. This lead to me being + $345 for the session. Targeting the weakest player at the table is another one of my poker tips for cash games.

How simple is this, folks? I played five hours and targeted one player. ONE PLAYER! I probably only played 20% of my poker hands, and most of them were against one player.

If you’re looking for poker tips for cash games, one of them is to target the weakest player at the table, but only if they have a lot of chips. If they don’t have a lot of chips, you really have to play your game against the field.

But in some situations, when the weakest player in the game has been running good and has the most chips, the game becomes about your target, not your cards. That is an important poker tip.

Poker Tips for Cash Games: Play the Player

I know the GTO crowd won’t agree with this being one of the best poker tips for cash games, but I’m playing a different game. The GTO crowd probably wouldn’t agree with any of my poker tips for cash games, but that’s because GTO is anti-human. In other words, it has nothing to do with playing the player.

This gets a little complicated because I’m not just playing the player. Some people tell me I’m exploitative, but I’m not. I’m not GTO or exploitative. I’m long-term situational. I evaluate a situation and make necessary adjustments in order to determine the best path to profits.

You could say that targeting one player is exploitative, but if I was truly playing exploitative, I would be doing that against each player at the table. I was folding pretty decent poker hands against some other players to save my ammo vs. a terrible player. This paid off.

Some people don’t have the patience for this, and some people can’t do it because of Ego. If you throw your Ego out the window, it can pay off. This is the case for traditional poker games and Texas Hold’em poker tournaments. Or any type of poker tournaments for that matter.

Say Goodbye to The Stranger

Seat 9: Quiet Do Gooder. This means he was quiet and he did good. Could I outplay him? Yes. Did I want to bother based on the circumstances? No. No need.

By the way, if you ever play at a cash game with Preston, I need to warn you that he sometimes suffers from muscle spasms and might accidentally knock your chip stack over. Beware.

I almost got to showdown with Preston on one hand. THE STRANGER was also in the hand and bet out on the flop. I was open-ended and next to act. I min-raised because I knew if I flatted Preston would raise. Nothing looks stronger than a min-raise (except a check-raise). Preston flatted. I missed my straight, THE STRANGER bet, I folded, and Preston folded.

I only min-raised there because I had a strong LAG player to my left. The min-raise was to slow him down. That’s playing the situation. Even though I didn’t hit my card, it allowed me to see that turn card at a cheaper price.

To give Preston some props, he made a great value bet with a king-high flush (potential straight flush out there) for $150 on the river and got called by THE STRANGER. He sets up an image so he will get called in these spots. I set up an image so I can get away with bluffs. Two different paths. That’s why I always say to be you.

THE STRANGER ended up getting kicked out of the poker room because he was caught going south. I had already left the game when this happened, but apparently he was yelling at people. Freaking Alfalfa.

Final Thoughts

This article is different because the poker tips for cash games focuses on situational awareness more than anything else. To be more specific, it’s about understanding the players in the game and targeting your weakest opponent.

If you did this every time, you would have an incredibly high win rate. The problem is that most people have too much of an Ego. Remember, one of the best and most overlooked poker tips for cash games is to target the weakest players at the table. But my #1 poker tip is to visit Bossier City and find THE STRANGER.

♠ pokerjournal.org / Tyler Nals

FAQs

Q: What are cash games in poker?

A: A cash games is when you buy-in for a specific amount of chips and play poker with those chips. You can leave whenever you want.

Q: How much does it cost to buy in a poker cash game?

A: It depends on the game. For 1/2 NL poker games, the buy-in might be $60-$200. For a 1/3 NL poker game, the buy-in might be $100-$300. And for a 2/5 NL poker game, the buy-in might be $200-$1,000. In some games, you can match the biggest stack at the table.

Q: How many big blinds should you start with in a poker game?

A: It really depends on your style of play. I like to buy-in for 60BBs. This is a little short, but I find that it keeps me more focused and prevents me from doing stupid things.

Q: Are poker cash games harder than poker tournaments?

A: It depends on the cash game and tournament. For instance, a 2/5 NL poker game will be tougher than Daily/Nightly poker tournaments, but a WSOP Circuit Main Event will be tougher than a 1/2 NL poker game.

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