Cash Poker: 10 Tips to Improve Your Game

There are several things you should be doing both on and off the table to get ahead of the competition. Here are my top 10 cash poker tips to help you improve at poker, faster.

 
  1. Range Charts

  2. Preflop Bet Sizings

  3. Basic Math

  4. Overbetting

  5. Calling with Draws

  6. Slow Playing

  7. 3betting and 4betting

  8. Stop Losses

  9. Cbet Sizing

  10. Take a Break

 

Range Charts

If you’re not using range charts, you’re missing out. Having a solid preflop range is one of the foundations of playing profitable poker. You can download our Range Charts here. Your mistakes in poker magnify the further you go through the hand, it’s a snowball effect. If you keep finding yourself in situations with poor 2nd and 3rd pairs or weak draws, the chances are you don’t have a solid preflop strategy. You could also be losing too much cash from the Blinds due to a poor big-blind defence strategy.


One of the best ways to increase the chance that you will win in poker, is to play hands higher chances of winning than your opponent. We also need to have a wide, balanced range of hands to maximise profit regardless of the flop, turn or river. The solution is to use range charts to your advantage.


Bet Sizings Preflop

Like your preflop ranges, the sizings that you choose to make your preflop raises have big ramifications for the rest of the hand. There are a few reasons that we as professionals choose specific raise sizings preflop, the two main ones are Pot-Odds and Pot Geometry:


Pot Odds

Every time you make a bet at the poker table, you are giving your opponents and mathematical equation, the pot odds calculation. If you raise by a small sizing, you decrease the frequency that your opponent must win the pot to be profitable. In other words, you give them better odds. You also want to make your opponents fold preflop. Generating folds makes opponents ranges more predictable and denies them of equity. You get to win 100% of the time without paying rake when our opponents fold. You also get to take advantage of Pot Geometry by selecting the best sizings possible.


Pot Geometry

There is a concept in poker called “pot geometry”, which essentially means how a pot grows and changes over the course of a hand. Because all bet sizing is based on the size of the pot, when you raise by a smaller amount than recommended, you limit the total amount of cash you can extract from your opponent. Similarly, if you bet too large, especially with a wide range, you increase the risk that you lose too much capitol. It’s all about getting the perfect balance between the pot-odds you give your opponent and the ability to get all the money in (stack off) should you wish. You also them must mitigate the risk that if you do have to fold in the hand, you’ve not invested too much into the pot.


Learn Some Basic Math

We’ve already spoken about pot-odds in this article, and that is a calculation that is well worth learning in more detail. That is all the basic poker math you need to know in my opinion. Being able to quickly calculate the pot odds of a situation can be the difference between you making a profitable call vs a losing one.


Alongside learning about pot-odds in poker, you should learn how to quickly calculate your equity in a hand. If you remember that each out you have is around 2% equity on the turn and then the same for the river, couple this with your knowledge of pot-odds and you will be better than many of the opposition at your table.


Don’t be Afraid of the Overbet

If you’re not overbetting in poker, you are not making as much cash as you could be. Don't be afraid of it, you can start small! You need to start incorporating an overbetting strategy into your game for the following reasons:


“Buying more bluffs”- If you increase the bet size, you change the pot odds calculation for your opponent. You make it so when they call, they must win more frequently to be profitable. This means that they must fold more frequently. As long as you are balanced with your value, you can include some more bluffing combinations profitably into your range.


"Increase your EV"- Read about that in this article on overbetting


Stop Calling With Bad Draws

You should be well versed with equity and pot odds, there will be some draws that are bad simply due to the odds you are given when making the call. There are other bad draws in poker, you need to look at the quality of the draw in question.


If you are on a board that has a possible flush-draw, you may think that your open-ended straight draw has 8 outs. However, 2 of those outs will complete a flush draw, this is going to kill your action (villain will be cautions that several draws completed so will be hesitant to increase the pot size), or you will end up coolering yourself. Factor in those “dirty” outs before you make a call.


Stop Slow Playing

Slow playing when you are in position is a disaster. You lose so much value from your opponent in the long run. To win big money, you need to keep inflating the pot. When you slow-play, you prevent cash from going into that pot. This hurts your bottom line and the amount of cash you can expect to win from the hand. If you want to deceive your opponents and disguise the strength of your hand- throw in some bluffs instead.


3bet and 4bet Bluff More

It would shock you how often people live and online overfold to 3bets and 4bets, you also need to balance your range with some bluffs- that's what prevents you from getting exploited. Another reason you should bluff preflop is that it’s hard to play profitably when you are the caller in the hand. Take the game into your own hands and be the player making the raises. Not only will you win more money preflop- as your opponents will fold, but you will make more money post-flop by bluffing (or hitting a disguised strong hand)


Set Stop-Losses

If you haven’t read my article about bankroll management, I mention stop-losses. To prevent yourself from losing huge portions of your bankroll in one session and allow yourself time to reset (especially if you could be tilted), you should set a stop loss. A stop loss is essentially a predetermined maximum buy-ins that you permit yourself for a session. This could be anywhere from 1 buy-in to 10, 3 is recommended. Stop-Losses allow you to come back to the table and play you’re A-Game more frequently as you will return in a better frame of mind. You also reduce the risk that you burn through your bankroll, and therefore will not have to wait until you can afford to top-up your bankroll again.


Downsize Your Cbets

If you can get your opponent to fold at a similar rate with a smaller bet, you are making more theoretical profit with that bet. When you bet a small sizing post-flop (33% normally), you are giving your opponent a good price to call, however you can still make your opponent fold. There are some hands in your opponent’s range that will have such little equity remaining that they still must fold. Acquiesce to the fact that your opponent is going to call with any pair, gunshot or better anyway, make them fold hands that still have equity with the tactical small bet sizing and watch your profits increase.


Take a Break

Seriously. Taking a quick break, even a day or two away from the poker table can do wonders for your game.


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