After my real-life poker lesson at Mohegan Sun, I realized that I was playing tournament style poker at the local casinos’ cash games. Not a winning strategy.
When I started playing cash games, I only played tournaments. I played tournaments because I liked the rush of the blinds closing in and forcing action, and because the live games that I played locally were charity NL Texas Hold’em tournaments, so, it was good training.
I had changed my play, but, not my practice. Hummm…
How do you learn to play cash games? For me, immersion is the best way to learn and I believe that practice makes perfect, so, I started playing the $1/$2 NL Hold’em games on PokerStars. A couple of those games, and I backed off to the .50/$1 cash games. That seemed to work better for me. I had great wins and great losses.
I keep a spreadsheet of every cash hand I play – Stack prior to the hand, my position, hand, action, gain/loss for the hand. At the end of the day, I enter the net gain or loss into a chart that gives me a pictorial of daily activity so that I can watch the rise and fall of the line (my bank) from day to day.
Right now, that chart looks like the Dow Jones. A couple of sharp spikes up and down, then a plunge. This is a section of the grid from 8 days of playing cash games. Ouch!
When my bank got down to an uncomfortable level, I backed off to the .25/.50 cash games on PokerStars. My strategy was to reduce my losses while slowly building my bank so that I could return to the higher level games.
I had mild success, most memorable–> I doubled-up and won a $35.05 pot holding Kc Kd against a player holding Big Slick (As Ks). Flop was Kh Qh 2s, turn was 9d, and the river was 3s. Bad beat for that player…nice win for me.
Hands like that were few and far between, and, after a while, the .25/.50 cash games weren’t working for me. The players at this level tended to be more interested in not losing chips than playing NL Texas Hold’em. It is hard to improve your game when everyone folds to a bet unless they have the nuts on the flop… and when they don’t fold…you tend to fold at a bet on the turn or the river unless you’ve got the nuts…because that is the ‘tone’ of the table.
I wanted to build my bank faster, so, I started playing the Double or Nothing Tournaments. But.. that’s a post for another day!