Cash Games are Where it’s At! – Dave Tarbet
While it may be viewed as a challenge to take on and beat the best players in the world in most other sports, in poker cash game play to make money is the most important thing. You could be the tenth best player in the world, but if you only ever play on a table with the top 9 players you will be a loser.
So our first lesson about cash game play is to select a game that you can beat, look for the bad players and play in their game and avoid players that you think are better than you. You may only be an average player, but if you always play with poor players then you will be a winner in the long term.
Another important factor to consider in cash games is that they are never ending, unlike a tournament where the blinds keep going up and players get knocked out until there is an eventual winner.
Think of your poker playing life as one long never ending cash game. It doesn’t matter if you are losing in your session today as the game will continue tomorrow and the next day and so on.
And lastly I’d like to talk about money management which is absolutely crucial if you are to be a successful cash game player. It doesn’t matter how good you are if you don’t have good money management skills. Indeed several world class players have gone broke because they have no idea of this concept.
The size of your bankroll should dictate the size of game you play in and a good rule of thumb is to never risk more than 5% of your bankroll in any one game. If you are a good player and stick to this rule then you should be able to withstand the short term fluctuations to become a winner in the long term. Although I do recommend setting a loss limit for a particular game I do not recommend setting a win limit. You should play for as long as the game is good and you feel like you are playing your best. Never say to yourself I am going to win $500 then get up. You should only stop when the game becomes bad or you start to feel tired.
Another aspect of money management is how much to buy-in for when you play a game. There are some people who advocate buying in for the minimum as you are risking less, but I am the opposite and like to have the most chips on the table as lots of chips give you a lot of ammunition and power. Your opponents may also be weary of you because of your large stack.
Although most casinos set the minimum buy-in as 10 times the big blind I recommend buying in for 50 big bets in a fixed limit game and 100 big blinds in a pot limit or no limit game. If you cannot afford to do this then maybe you are playing at a limit too high for your bankroll.
Until next time, enjoy your cash game play and I hope to see you across the table soon.