No one is promising an "easy life," of course, and the card counting discussed below, with the proper experience and skill, can help you gain an advantage over the gambling house. Why do you need it? By counting cards, the player will be able to keep track of the ratio between the high value cards and the low-value cards that are left in the deck. Thus, it's possible to determine the adv...
Here we’ll look at actual strategies and tactics for cash games (not to be confused with tournaments) using Texas Hold’em, one of the most popular forms of poker.
Short stack strategy
In cash games, the size of the blinds always stays the same. If a player loses part of his stack, he has the right to buy the required number of chips. The style of play at the cash tables will always depend on the size of the stack, and that’s it. Next, we’ll walk through the strategy of playing from the shortest to the deepest stack. The first option is Short Stack Strategy (SSS). It is optimal for increasing your bankroll, but it is only effective on micro-limits. Actually, for this reason, SSS cannot bring a lot of profit to the poker player, and is a suitable option for beginners.
It’s usually a small stack, about 20 big blinds (GB), which is ideal for minimizing losses in case of a bad hand.
- The Short Stack Strategy involves only playing strong hands in the preflop phase, and aggressively participating in betting circles.
- With mid-level pocket cards, it is advisable to play from a middle position. SSS involves raising the bet by raiding.
The strategy of playing with a short stack is aimed at increasing the pot even in the preflop. Here, the player needs to knock out as many opponents as possible to reduce the competition in the next rounds of trading. If you see that many opponents suddenly began to equalize bets, it is recommended to do the following maneuvers:
- If there is a good chance that your opponent has a stronger combination on the flop, and he’s trading aggressively, it’s best to fold.
- If a strong combination is picked up during the flop, you should continue to play aggressively.
Medium Stack Strategy
The Middle Stack Strategy (MSS) will be a bit more complicated than the strategy above. Here, at the postflop stage, the poker player will have to make more decisions, including having a specific level of mathematical knowledge. Due to the gaps in the “math”, the player makes huge mistakes when using the Middle Stack Strategy. To use MSS, a player must have at least 40 Bb at his disposal, because otherwise the mathematical expectation may be minus, and as a result, the game would go into deficit at the distance.
MSS is a good option for beginner poker players, because it gives the opportunity to play with a small financial risk. The main disadvantage of MSS is the impossibility of effectively playing hands from a middle position at the table. The poker player’s actions on the preflop will depend on the position of the game table:
- If no one has raised before the player, then it should be done on 4BB.
- If someone came in as a limper (made a call, which equals one BB in the preflop), then it is necessary to raise 4 BB + 16 BB for each limper.
- If the raise has already been made, a re-bet or 3-bet must be made.
- If someone else raises against this move, you must discard cards (except A-A and K-K).
- Deviations from MSS are allowed, but only experienced poker players are recommended to apply them. For example, if no one started the bidding with a Raise, but there were several Limps, you can also make a Limp.
Large Stack Strategy
Big Stack Strategy (BSS) can bring the poker player the most profits. The player must have at least 100 BB to use it. Within the Big Stack Strategy, in addition to calculating the mathematical expectation, bluffing, half-bluffs and other techniques are widely used. An important role is also played by position at the table – it is recommended to play a big pot only in a late position.
Also important is the factor of aggression, because, first of all, it puts psychological pressure on the opponent. Second, it guarantees a high FE (Fold Equity) against your opponent, because holding the same cards makes it more likely to win against the more aggressive player. It is advisable for the player to bet based on the following circumstances:
- Re-raise equals 4 BB + 1 Blind per Limper.
- Re-raise equals Re-raise times 3 + 1 Blind for each player who called the Re-raise.
- If more than two Re-raises have been made before a player, you must discard cards (except for A-A or K-K in hand). Sometimes you can continue to participate in a hand with J-J, but only if the sum of player and opponent’s stacks is greater than the total preflop bet.
- If the re-stack is 1/2 stack, then it is better to go all-in.
Deep Stack Strategy
The Deep Stack Strategy (DSS) includes a mandatory bet, the ante, which all participants in the dealings contribute. This strategy implies that the poker player has more than 200 BB. Such a large number of chips gives the poker player the opportunity to bluff actively in the early stages of the game. Nevertheless, the poker player must have a lot of experience to apply DSS. The size of the bets at the preflop stage will directly depend on the opponent’s bets:
- If the opponent has made a raid, it is necessary to make a raiser.
- If the opponent’s raid was tied by several other players, then a bet equal to the raid plus an additional raid for each limper should be made.
- If two raises have been made in front of a poker player, then all hands must be discounted except for A-A and K-K.
- Thus, there are several poker strategies, which depend on the size of the player’s stack, each of them has its advantages and disadvantages, but they all have in common an aggressive style and the desire to finish the game at the pre-flop stage.