Let’s get straight into it. The key to crushing online poker cash games is to do the following well:
* Smart bankroll management
* Aggression is key
* Knowing your opponents
These concepts are very important. In order to become a winning cash game player, you need to practise good bankroll management. The smaller your bankroll, the higher the risk of ruin. For No Limit Hold’em cash games, typically you want to have at least 20 buy-ins for the level you’re playing.
The importance of bankroll management for cash game players was mentioned first because it can be the difference between being a winning and losing cash game player. Skill will only get you so far. If you have no regard for BRM it’s only a matter of time before you lose your bankroll.
Now, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of how you should approach playing poker cash games online. Controlled aggression and not just thoughtless aggression is key to beating no limit hold’em cash games. Some players will have a greater tendency to fold than others, hence the importance in knowing your opponents, so you can know which players to target and put pressure on.
There will be many situations, especially when it’s heads up, whereby both players will have nothing, so the first player to show interest in the hand will often win it. It might not seem like that big of a deal, but over the course of a session, winning these small pots can really add a significant amount to your overall win rate.
As already mentioned the concept of knowing your opponents is another key factor when playing cash games. By getting a better understanding of an opponent’s playing tendencies you can adjust your play to exploit them. For example, let’s say you know a player never likes to fold. Obviously, bluffing isn’t going to be effective against that kind of player, and you should simply value bet the player relentlessly. You will find plenty of these players at the micro stakes because they’re only thinking about their hands and not what their opponents are trying to represent.
The game at the high levels will naturally have better players as there is more potential to make money. It requires time and dedication just like anything else to become a good cash game player as you progress through the different limits. That said, one of the big advantages of playing online poker is that micro limit NL hold’em cash games start from as little as $0.01/$0.02 and the vast majority of micro limit players are not students of the game, so they will be making plenty of mistakes.
However, it’s important to realize that even the best cash game players in the world will have losing sessions. So make no mistake about it, expecting to win every time you sit down to play a cash game is just not realistic.
Poker is a game of incomplete information. Perhaps this seems complicated at first since you don’t have much information on your opponents, but the reality is that if you can make fewer mistakes than your opponents with the limited amount of information you do have, you will come out on top.
Important skills in cash games include recognizing betting patterns, bluffing capabilities, positionally aware opponents and a player’s willingness to fold. With experience you will get better and better at this, because even a small increase in a player’s skill can have a significant impact on how much you can expect to make.
Another vital skill which should be incorporated into the strategy of a good cash game player is the ability to avoid losing control of your emotions which can result in making rash decisions. Your opponents will be looking to frustrate you into making mistakes. This can happen to anyone since no player is immune to tilting especially when the session hasn’t been going well, and so sometimes the only solution is to quit the game and call it a day.
Finally, many cash game players make the mistake of assessing their ability based on the results of each session. This is a mistake since variance plays a role too. Your goal should be simply making correct decisions. The closer to this goal you can be, the better the cash game results you can hope to achieve.
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