NL Texas Holdem : How to beat low limit cash games

undef1 By undef1, 12th Apr 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Gambling>Poker>Online Poker

So, you have been playing online cash games but you can't seem to be winning with consistency. Or perhaps, you are unable to read your opponents ? Read on to discover what to consider if you want to become a winning full ring cash game player.

1. Bankroll management

First of all, the most important thing is your bankroll management. When sitting on a table, you should always buy in for the maximum amount. You should have at least 25 buy-ins for the stake you are playing.

For example, if you have 300$ in your account, you should be playing on .05/.10 full ring tables (the maximum buy-in for that stake is $10, that is 30 buy-ins).

If you move up limits, and start losing and fall back under 30 buy-ins, don't hesitate to move back in lower stakes, that is the best thing you can do for your bankroll.

2. Holdem Manager

I recommend you to get a copy of Holdem Manager to keep track of your opponent statistics, and to analyze your plays. It will help your game a lot in the long run.

Here's a few basic statistics you should be aware of :
VPIP: Voluntary Put Into Pot, or how often do you play your hands (%) - Should be somewhere between 15%-25%, if yours is above 25%, you are playing too many hands.
PFR: Pre Flop Raise, or how often do you raise before the flop (%)
AF: Agression Factor, the ratio of bets + raises versus calls. The higher it is, the more agressive you are
3BET%: How often do you re-raise preflop (%)

3. Position

You should be willing to play more hands in late position, and play less hands in early position. The position next to the big blind is called Under The Gun or UTG. The last and best position in poker is called the button, and the before-last position is the cutoff.

The fact is, if you play a hand on the button, you will get to act last on each post-flop betting round, so you can get away with playing more marginal hands on the button because of this advantage.

4. Hand selection

This will give you a rough idea on how to select the hand you will play

Early position : play tight. (Limp or raise 3, raise 4 and 7, occasionally limp or raise 2 especially if your table is not raising much)
Middle position : somewhat tight. (Call, raise or re-raise with 4, re-raise with AK, call or raise 3, limp or call or raise 2 but not 100% of the time)
Late position : As stated earlier, you should play more hands from late position (Raise or re-raise 4 and 7, raise 3 and 6 if nobody raised, raise 2 and 5 if nobody raised and nobody limped. If there was a raise in front of you and many players called - meaning you are getting good pot odds - you should call with 1,2,3,5,6)

1. Suited aces
2. Small pocket pairs (22 to 66)
3. Medium pocket pairs (77 to TT)
4. Big pocket pairs (JJ to AA)
5. Small suited connectors (23 to 98)
6. Big suited connectors (T9 to QK)
7. Big aces (AJ, AQ, AK)

Remember that someone who raises from early position represent a lot of strength, so re-raising your JJ might not be such a good idea, unless that specific opponent has a high PFR.

5. Expected value

Expected value is an important concept in poker, however I will not explain it to you. There's already a good article about it on Wikinut, you can find it here.

6. Strategy

Do not attempt to bluff especially in the lower stakes, because people will call you down with bad hands (third pairs kind of hands). The only time you might want to do it, is when you raised preflop and it is checked to you, you might want to continue representing strength by making a continuation bet (if there's 1 or 2 other players in the pot - no more).

7. Review your plays

You should review your plays in Holdem Manager after each session in order to improve. Here's a couple of things to watch for
- Did I play too many/not enough hands ? (VPIP below 15% or above 25%)
- In what position do you lose money, and how can you improve ?
- What type of hands cost you the most money ? Small pocket pairs, suited connectors, big pairs, Ace-x ?
- Did I misplay a particular hand, and what have I done wrong ?

Remember that the statistics might not be accurate for a small size sample (number of hands), because of the variance. One can easily be losing on the button after 1 000 hands. A good sample size is 100 000 hands and more.

8. Further reading - recommended books

Professional No-Limit Hold 'em : Excellent book for mid-stakes cash games - The best poker strategy book I know of

No Limit Hold 'em: Theory and Practice : Another excellent book for cash games

The Poker Mindset: Essential Attitudes for Poker Success : Poker isn't just about strategy, you have to be mentally strong and control your game. This book teaches you just that


Cash Games, No Limit Poker, Poker, Poker Guide, Poker Strategies, Texas Holdem

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author avatar undef1
Computer science lover and self-development addict

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author avatar Denise O
14th Apr 2011 (#)

First of all, welcome to wikinut, I look forward to reading more fo your work.
My family just loves texas hold'em. Great info. Thank you for sharing.:)

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