5 Advanced Cash Game Strategies That Nobody Talks About

graceacupuncture - 29/11/2022 - STRATEGY - 152 Views

This article was written by blackrain79.com contributor Fran Ferlan.

Poker is an incredibly competitive game, and it seems to getprogressively more so every passing year. What used to be a tried and truewinning strategy in the past can only bring you mediocre results today.5 Advanced Cash Game Strategies That Nobody Talks About

Afterall, if everyone is doing the same thing, everyone will have the same resultsby default. With technical game knowledge being so widespread today, even therecreational players know they should “just play tight”.

The gamesare nowhere near as much of a joke they used to be back in the good old days,and just sitting down at the random table waiting for the nuts all day simplydoesn’t work anymore.

However, not everything is all doom and gloom as some forum threads would haveyou believe.

Poker is indeed

still beatable in 2021

, but it will take some effort on your part. Then again, so will anythingelse in life, so why should poker be any different?

One great thing about poker is that for every strategy, there’s a counterstrategy, and the game will keep evolving.

Those that learn and keep evolving with it will be the ones to ultimatelyreach the top. Those that stagnate will be left behind.

So just by reading strategy articles such as this one and keeping up with thelatest trends, you’re well ahead of the majority of the player pool that stilljust plays for fun, and don’t even try to improve and take their game to thenext level.

In this article, you will find cash games strategies that aren’t quite commonknowledge yet, and by employing them successfully you’ll stay a couple ofsteps ahead of the competition.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it.

1. 3-bet Bluff the Isolation Raises

Any remotely decent player knows by now that the most money in poker comes notfrom their superior skills, but from the inadequacies of their opponents, akathe fish.

They also know that the best way to take the fish’s money is by playing aheads-up pot against them in position as a preflop aggressor.

And when you know that, and you know the exact location of said fish and thedecent players, you can recognize when they try to isolate the fish by raising after they limped in the pot (which is a telltale sign of a recreational player 99% of the time).

When you see such a situation, consider 3-bet bluffing and try to take down the pot preflop.

The reason this play works so well is because you are attacking extremely wide and weak ranges of both the fish and the raiser.

The recreational player’s limping range is usually as high as their overall

VPIP (Voluntarily Put Money in Pot)

, and there’s no telling what kind of garbage hands they’ll opt to play.

The isolation raiser’s range will consist of playable cards at least, but most of them won’t stand the pressure of a 3-bet.

You should target isolation raises from late positions, as they tend to be the widest.

Decent regs will target limpers more widely when they can play in position postflop, so they will play the most hands in the cutoff and on the button.

As for what hands you should 3-bet them with, you shouldn’t just do it withany two hands any chance you get, even though you have a significant amount offold equity. You should choose the hands that have at least some sort ofplayability postflop.

Needless to say, you should 3-bet your strong value hands in any case. Somegood candidates for 3-bet bluffing can be suited Aces or Kings, forexample.

Not only do they block your opponents strong value hands (pocket Aces andpocket Kings), they can also make monster flushes, which will come in handy ifyour 3-bet bluff gets called. And it will happen sometimes.

But even if it does, you’ll still be in a good spot. You will either playheads-up with a fish or against a reg with a range advantage, so you can takedown the pot with a simple flop c-bet.

If you get called by both or more players, however, you’ll more than likelyplay in a multiway bloated flop, which isn’t ideal. In that case, you shouldjust give up if you don’t hit the flop in any way, which would be most times.

Remember, the goal is to get folds preflop, so if the villains aren’t likelyto fold, you should only 3-bet them for value.

By the way, for more "tricky" strategies just like this, Nathan just released his top 12 advanced online poker tips video.

Effective stack sizes: 100 BB.

You are dealt K♣9♣ on the BU.

A loose passive fish limps in UTG.

A tight and aggressive reg raises to 4x.

You: ???

You should 3-bet to 12x.

There are multiple reasons a 3-bet would be a preferable option to flatcalling here.

First of all, you can easily get folds preflop, as you’re attacking prettywide ranges from both the fish and the regular, and we can’t win the potoutright with calling.

If you just call, you’re more than likelyto play in a multiway pot,without the range advantage and with a dominated hand.

What’s more, the players in the blinds can squeeze you out with a 3-bet oftheir own.

Your hand is an ideal candidate for a light 3-bet here, as it has a blockerand decent playability postflop (i.e. it can make strong straights andflushes), but it could also spell trouble for you in a multiway pot, where youoften won’t be sure where you stand in the hand.

If your 3-bet gets called by both the fish and the reg, the best approachwould be to play the rest of the hand “honestly”.

If you hit the flop or get a drawing hand, continue betting for value or as asemi-bluff if they check to you, and just give up if you misscompletely.

Remember, the goal was to get folds preflop, and if it doesn’t work, itdoesn’t really make sense to keep trying to buy out the pot at this point.

This hand is an example of a proactive approach you should take with everyhand you play. Your decision making process should consider as many variablesas possible.

It can’t just be thinking this way: I like my hand somewhat, I call, or I likemy hand a lot, I raise.

2. Shove the Flop With Ace-high Against Fish

If you’re playing cash games, the goal is to locate the fish as quickly aspossible and take their money before the next guy.

This is especially the case if you are looking to make poker your side hustle($200 to $1000 per month) as BlackRain79 discusses in

his latest video:

The tried and true method of waiting for a strong hand and value bet the hellout of it against them is usually the way to go, but the problem is stronghands just don’t come around as often.

So you should be willing to expand your value betting range depending on howbig the fish is. If someone is playing 80% of their hands, for example, youshouldn’t just wait for Aces to take all their money.

If you hold anything remotely playable, you should try to get involved withthem as often as possible. That’s because your skill edge postflop againstthese players is huge, and you’re potentially missing out a ton of value ifyou don’t get involved.

If you iso-raise these players, you will often play shallow SPR (stack to potratio) pots, because fish tend to play with less than 100 big blinds stacks incash games.

They’ll often buy-in for a minimum amount, and if they buy-in for a 100 bigblinds, they’ll spew their chips quickly without reloading.

So if you hit the flop with a top-pair hand or better against them with SPR of3 or less, you will be automatically committed to the pot, meaning you shouldbe willing to play for the rest of their stack.

What about when you miss the flop, though? Should you just give up?

Not necessarily.

You will miss the flop 2 out of 3 times, but so will your opponent. And ifyou’re up against a recreational player who plays an insane amount of hands,they’re going to miss even more frequently.

That’s because they’ll have a bunch of unsuited and unconnected cards in theirrange, so they’ll rarely connect with the flop in some significant way.

Some fish will be of the fit-or-fold variety, meaning they like to see a bunchof flops, but will give up on the flop when they don’t hit (which will be mostof the time).

So if you have an Ace-high hand against them in a shallow SPR pot, you mightwant to consider just shoving the rest of the stack in for maximum foldequity.

This way you’re applying maximum pressure and force them torelinquishtheir equity.

And even if they call you, they’ll often call with all sorts of ludicrousdraws, and your Ace-high hand will actually be a favourite to win againstthem.5 Advanced Cash Game Strategies That Nobody Talks About

6-max game. Effective stack size: 40 BB.

You are dealt A♦J♠ in the CO.

A loose and passive fish limps in the MP.

You raise to 5x. BB folds, fish calls.

Pot: 11 BB

Flop: T♥6♦3♣

Fish checks.

You: ???

You should shove all-in.

This one might be a head scratcher at first, but bear with me.

While a standard play here would certainly be a smaller c-bet, let’s considerwhat you accomplish with a shove.

First of all, the board is quite dry, so it’s unlikely the villain hit it inany significant way. By shoving all-in, you get the maximum fold equity, andthere’s not much left behind in the villain's stack anyway.

On the other hand, if the villain has some sort of weird gutshot draw or abackdoor flush draw, your Ace-high is actually a favourite to win, so you’rebetting more for value than as a bluff.

What’s more, implied odds are bigger on earlier streets than they are on laterstreets, and considering the villain is a fish who loves chasing draws, whynot get all the money in ASAP?

And even if he calls you with some sort of Tx hand or a middle pair, not allis lost, as you still have two overcards to improve with on later streets. Youmight be surprised with what kinds of crazy nonsense they’re going to call youdown with.

In the worst case scenario, if you lose the pot, you lost to a fish, so youcan always try to get your money back from them.

Also, this kind of unconventional play from time to time can do wonders foryour table image.

Just a disclaimer, though. Shoving all-in on the flop with an Ace-high handisn’t something you should ever do as a default.

This is just a specific example against a particular opponent with a shallowstack left behind, and while it might look crazy at a first glance, it hassome rationale behind it.

The point is to appear wild and erratic, while actually pondering deeply andacting deliberately in every single spot.

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3. 4-bet Light Against Aggressive Regs

In the good old days, a 4-bet meant Aces and Aces only. As the games gotprogressively more competitive and players realized the utility of 3-betbluffing, a counter strategy slowly began to emerge in the form of 4-betbluffing.

That’s the beauty of poker. There is a way to successfully adapt to everystrategy, so there’s no standing still. You have to continually improve andadapt to stay ahead of the competition.

This is where 4-bet bluffing can work wonders, as most players still 4-betexclusively with pocket Aces or Kings, and maybe pocket Queens, so they(correctly) assume everyone else does the same.

And this is where your opportunity lies if you’re able to execute this bluffeffectively. Bear in mind that this isn’t something you should do often, butif you’re able to pull it off once per session, for example, it can do wondersto your bottom line.

You just have to find the right spot to do it, and come to terms that it’s ahigh variance play. It is best employed against aggressive regulars who 3-betlight a lot themselves.

The reason you should employ this tactic is when you play against decentthinking opponents day in and day out, there really isn’t any significantskill edge between you.

Nobody will make too many mistakes postflop, and you’ll basically trade moneyback and forth. So it pays to keep looking for edges in every situation, and4-bet bluffing might just be one of them.

Effective stack size: 100 BB.

You are dealt A♠4♠ in the CO.

You open raise to 3x.

A loose and aggressive reg 3-bets to 9x.

You: ???

You should 4-bet to 20x.

Calling a 3-bet out of position with a dominated hand isn’t a great look, soyou should either fold or 4-bet.

Considering the type of villain you are up against and his position, you canassume he won’t 3-bet purely for value, so it’s a great spot to 4-betlight.

You block a lot of villain’s value range with your hand, and even if you getcalled, your hand is playable postflop, as it can make a straight as well as anut flush, so you have a ton of equity to fall back on.

If you get called, you will be automatically committed with a top pair and/orflush draws, and you can take down the pot with a simple c-bet on a lot ofboard textures, except on super coordinated boards that favour villain’scalling range.

4. Check-Raise the Turn When You Pick Up Some Equity

It’s hard to play profitably out of position due to the informationaldisadvantage and the inability to control the size of the pot.

However, it’simpossible to just play 100% of hands in position.

You can certainly try to do so by only playing on the button, but it’s hardlyan optimal long term strategy.

You have to know how to play out of position as well, and in order not to getrun over by other overly aggressive regulars who abuse the positional playthemselves, it pays to implement a check-raise in your arsenal.

One “advantage” of playing out of position is you can go for a check-raiseline, which is perceived to be a really strong play.

So if you learn to check-raise bluff effectively, you’ll make yourself muchharder to play against, and other players will have to think twice beforebarrelling into you with impunity.

The best opponents to check-raise the turn against would be regs who are:

a)positionally aware

and 5 Advanced Cash Game Strategies That Nobody Talks About

b) on the more aggressive side of the spectrum, as theywill have more significant percentage of bluffs in their range and will bemore likely to double barrel when you check to them twice.

If you check-raise the turn, it will show incredible strength, and they willhave to have a really strong hand to continue.

It’s important to mention that it’s better to try to employ this play withsome sort of equity, as you will get called, or even reraised from time totime, so this play works great as a semibluff.

The reason you might want to go for a check-raise rather than a check-callwith a drawing hand is because your opponent might not be too inclined to fireoff another shell on the river if he sees some sort of draw completing, like athird spade on the river, for example.

If you go for a check-call on the turn, one of these situations willhappen:

1. You will either miss your draw and have to fold to a triple barrel

2. Or you will complete your draw, in which case you can either donk bet andhope for a call, or check again and hope against odds that villain will fireoff on a scary board runout, which he won’t be particularly inclined to do ifhe sees a completed draw of some sort.

5. Intentionally Tilt the Regs

This one is going to take a lot of nerve and is not for the fainthearted, butif you manage to pull it off successfully, it can be insanely lucrative notjust during that one session, but for many sessions in the future.

Now, I’m not going to debate whether or not it’s justifiable to absolutely goout of your way to ruin someone’s day, and just to be completely clear, I amin no way condoning any form of angle shooting or inflammatory table talk inorder to get under someone’s skin.

This tactic is about using incessant aggression against a particular opponentin order to get them to make mistakes when playing against you, which istotally within the bounds of game rules, as well as fair play.

And yes, that means running some big bluffs as BlackRain79 discusses in this video:

Winning poker is all about finding edges against your opponents, and this isno different. It might feel uncomfortable at first, as you are intentionallycreating conflict, but there’s conflict in every hand you play.

This is all about upping the ante, so to speak. So how do you best go aboutruining someone’s session?

First you need to identify your target.

The recreational players are the obvious choice, of course, but when it comesto them, you really don’t need to do anything special or go out your way toget them to spew off their chips to you.

They are notoriously impatient as it is, so it’s mostly a matter of timebefore they start steaming and making all kinds of crazy mistakes.

So the optimal target here would actually be weak and tight regs, the onesthat play a reasonable number of hands preflop, but are generally weakpostflop and don’t fight back if they don’t have a strong hand.

This is the type of player that will usually play quite a straightforward ABCstyle, and won’t get out of line too much, or even at all.

They will usually fold to 3-bets too often (80% or more), fold to stealattempts in the blinds, c-bet the flop purely for value (about 50% or less),and basically give up at the slightest sight of trouble.

If you are seated on their direct left on multiple tables, and your session isgoing a bit slow, try this: 3-bet them preflop and barrel them postflop everychance you get.

Don’t wait around for good hands, just go absolutely berserk.

They usually won’t figure out what’s going on right away, they’ll just let youhave it for a while. But they’ll figure out something’s up after a feworbits.

You will know the tactic is working when they start calling you down withmarginal hands.

If you’re really committed to the act, you might get lucky and absolutelysmash the board with your garbage hands, and they will call you down withtheir top pair, weak kicker, second pair and the like, and you take down thepot with your J4 offsuit.

They’ll absolutely lose their marbles, and this is when the fun begins.

From this point on, they’ll assume you’re full of it 100% of the time, so it’stime to shift gears.

You will tighten up significantly, and bet and raise for value, and valueonly. They will never give you any credit, so when you finally wake up withAces, value bet them relentlessly and watch them donate their stack toyou.

The beauty of this tactic is that people won’t soon forget this. If you’replaying cash games, you’re bound to play with the same people over and overagain, and if you get out of line in one session only, they’ll peg you for amaniac for the rest of eternity.

From then on, they can become your personal ATM machine.

You won’t need to 3-bet them with 83s next session. You can just keep playingyour normal game and watch them call you down trying to catch your bluffs andget even with you.

These 5 tactics are meant to make you a more difficult adversary, and goslightly beyond the “just play tight” adage. In fact, they are allfoundational components to an

advanced poker strategy.

First of all, identify and differentiate between the regulars and therecreational players as soon as possible.

When you see a regular trying to isolate the fish, attack them with a 3-betbluff. Don’t just do it just because, though. Try to do it with hands thathave some sort of playability post-flop if your 3-bet gets called.

Next, when you are the one to isolate the fish preflop, consider shoving theflop when they check to you for maximum fold equity.

Again, don’t do it just because, but make sure you at least have some sort ofequity to fall back on if you get called (like with overcards or some sort ofdraw, at least).

When you’re up against loose and aggressive regulars who 3-bet a lot, considerattacking back with a light 4-bet, especially when you are out ofposition.

The best hands to do it with are small suited Aces (A2s through A5s) becauseof their nut flush and straight potential, as well as their blockerpower.

If you play out of position against aggressive regulars who abuse theirpositional advantage, throw out an occasional check raise against their flopor turn c-bets, as they will have a significant amount of bluffs in theirrange.

The best spot to do so would be the one where you have picked up some sort ofequity with straight or flush draws, for example. Doing so from time to timewill make them think twice about barreling into you with impunity.

And finally, if your session is going a bit slow, see if you can create a bitof drama by going out of your way to absolutely ruin someone’s day.

Try to find a weak and timid regular on your direct right (preferably onmultiple tables) and 3-bet him every chance you get.

After he starts calling you down wide, tighten up significantly and trap himwhen you eventually wake up with a monster hand.

One thing all these tactics have in common is aggression.

Winning poker is aggressive poker, and the biggest winners are those that knowhow and when to apply maximum pressure on their opponents, so they don’t needto rely on their hand strength alone.

After all, in a large enough sample size, everyone will get their share ofgood cards and bad cards, respectively. So it’s not just about the cards,otherwise everyone would have more or less the same results over the longrun.

One common bias of most poker players is they think they are playingaggressively, when that’s hardly the case in reality.

It’s kind of like how everyone thinks their driving skills are above average,and that’s statistically impossible. It makes you wonder where all the baddrivers are, then.The aim of this article was to hopefullyilluminate certain spots where you might want to reconsider just going for the“standard play” every time. You will often come to the conclusionthat standard play was right all along, but just asking yourself what wouldhappen if I just shove here instead, you might realize how many +EV spots youcan find.Even if it doesn’t work out every time, don’t beatyourself too much about it, and don’t worry about appearing foolish if yourstone-cold bluff gets called.

Everyone else is so wrapped up in their own game, and most of them won’t evennotice.

And even if they do, appearing wild and erratic is not a bad thing. Whathappens in one hand is totally meaningless. Poker is a long game, and it’s allone big session. You just have to keep moving forward.

And the only way to do that is to get out of line from time to time. So go outthere and have fun with it. It’s about the journey, not the destination.