Cash Games – Why, oh why, do I ever play them

After busting from the Friday night tourney, I decided to stay for the .50/1 No Limit cash game. Advantages of this game: no rake, no time, lots of laughs, and the possibility of another tournament once the first one ends. Disadvantages: we play about ten hands an hour, we always play No Limit Hold ‘Em, and I find NLHE extremely boring as a cash game. You might find that surprising. But the fact is that you must play much tighter in a NLHE cash game (especially one where there is frequently a straddle and restraddle pre-flop) and when you’re playing ten hands an hour, tight play is excruciating. Thus, I end up playing too many hands, get myself in trouble, and usually quit loser.

Last night was no exception. I was in the big blind with QcJs. Three players limped and I checked my option. The flop came 9c Tc x. The small blind bet out and I called. A player who had been playing rather aggressively all night and had just lost and won big pots in quick succession raised to $10. The small blind folded and I had a decision to make. I only had 32.50 in front of me at that point. I suspected I had the best hand at this point (I can’t tell you why in case he reads this!) or at least the best draw. I figured I had the nut straight draw, a decent backdoor flush draw, and probably two overcards. I also thought that with my stack size, he would not fold if I pushed in.

It’s sick, but I actually wanted to get all my money in on a draw against this guy! Do you see why I should never ever play NLHE cash?

I called the $10 and raised all-in for $22.50 more. He called and rolled over 7c 8c. Okay, so he had a better draw than I had read him for. The turn was a blank, but the river brought the hideous deuce of clubs, and IGHN.

Some people might ask why I would sit in this game when I could be at home, raking in the cash online. To those people I say: there are many reasons. First, it’s good to work on different games and to practice patience at the poker table. I clearly need to work on both my NLHE cash game and my patience. Second, it’s just more fun to hang out at a real poker table than in cyberspace. And third, I probably wouldn’t have stories like the following to share with you:

NLHE tournament. Blinds are $100/$200. I have about $2500 in chips. It folds to me on the button and I look down at 9s7d. A monster! I raise to $600. Both blinds call. The flop comes Q J T – all spades. Small blind bets $600, big blind calls. I push all-in for $1900. Small blind folds, big blind calls and turns over….pocket aces?!? What a clown! Unfortunately this clown has the ace of spades, so that kills many of my outs. And more unfortunately, none of my other outs materialize and IGHN. But seriously, who plays aces like this? This guy, that’s who. Wow. Wow.

Congratulations to Gabe for beating my ass in the private tourney a few nights ago. Well done, sir. But I demand a rematch.

11 replies on “Cash Games – Why, oh why, do I ever play them”

This is a live .50/1 NL cash game in the NYC area? Can others get in on it?

And for what it’s worth, when you got your money in you were only a 48-52 underdog.

Yeah, I didn’t feel badly about how I played the hand. As for the game, I don’t run it, but I’m pretty sure they’re not looking to expand any further.

You certainly may have a rematch, although the way I see it you are still up $1800 on me!

Not only were you a coinflip, but you are a coinflip over MANY hands he may have had. You may even be ahead if he’s fooling around with a small pair. Based on your stack, I don’t think there’s any play there except jamming. In fact, when the SB bets out, I probably jam right there. It will have the added benfit of getting action when you push with a monster if your hand gets shown down.

I don’t necessarily agree with the “play tighter in cash games” statement (other than as a VERY general guideline). It’s very situational. If you’re willing to buy in multiple times after you go broke (assuming they cap the buy-in amount), it might even be right to play looser (assuming you are one of the best players in the game)! It also depends a LOT on how deep the stacks are. Certainly, I agree if there are a lot of straddles going on, you have to tighten up. In general, I play much tighter out of position, but I’ll play a lot of hands in later position if people aren’t playing agressively enough. Obviously, this requires good post-flop play.

I do agree that live play requires a lot more patience, but boy does it feel good when you drag a monster pot, and it’s real money, not T$.

Regarding his play with the aces, and in absence of many other relevant factors, I don’t see anything wrong with the way he played them. If you suscribe to always reraising with aces, then you will be pegged by those that play with you regularly. You have to change it up, and perhaps on this occasion that’s what he was doing…and guess what, he got you.

Read Terrence Chan’s blog today, I think you’ll find a relevant post. Basically he played a hand with a guy who after losing said somthing like ” How could I put you on an ace, when you didn’t raise preflop?”.

Well, Rico, if you think a good spot for mixing it up with aces is in the big blind facing a raise and a call against two short stacks and blinds that represent 10% of your stack in a tournament that pays two spots with 12 people left…then please email me and I’ll let you know where the game is. We’d love to have you.

There is a time and a place to “mix it up” with big hands. Getting too fancy is a good way to lose all your chips if you’re crap at post-flop play, which this particular opponent is. The fact is that this mrono got lucky to catch an all-spades flop holding the ace of spades. Without the spade on the turn, he loses the hand to my straight on the river. And the probability is that he will call my all-in on the flop with AA no spade and lose most of his chips.

Good analysis though. Thanks for dragging Terrence into this – I’ll tell him you said hi next time I see him. (His post is about a 100/200 limit cash game, not a $70 NL tourney, btw. But I’m sure you understand the difference…)

Your comment

“The fact is that this mrono (your spelling) got lucky to catch an all-spades flop holding the ace of spades. Without the spade on the turn, he loses the hand to my straight on the river”

Got lucky, eh??? LOL

I suggest you keep hanging around your famous poker buddies, perhaps you’ll learn a thing or two…perhaps.

“Mrono” is the correct spelling of “mrono” as far as I know. Are there alternate spellings of which I am unaware?

Yes, my opponent got lucky that his idiotic play did not backfire on him. I will not expend any more energy trying to help you understand the difference between tournaments and cash games.

Please stop reading the blogs of my famous poker buddies. It’s clear you won’t learn a damn thing from them.

Instead, I recommend Winning Low-Limit Hold ‘Em by Lee Jones. The third edition just came out. I’m rereading it myself and it has some great basics. Check out p.59-60, which has a wonderful suggestion for how to play QQ and JJ from the big blind. In a cash game. For one bet. (Damn, there I go trying to explain things to you again.)

Your should learn a little humility, your ego is getting the best of you.

I thought you were a cool poker playing (and intelligent) person.

It’s obvious I was wrong. If you keep talking down to your readers, you’ll soon be left with none.

Hey Rico Suave,

I have yet to hear a cogent argument out of you stating why flat calling with aces in the hand in question was in fact, a superior play. And guess what, just because it worked does not make it the right play. Instead, your first post just pointed to the result and said “hey guess what he got you.” When Jodi had the temerity to respond to this conclusory and antagonistic attack, you proceeded to attack her. If you are going to be a douche, at least also include some poker reasoning.

Ok….here you go:

Preflop, BB was trapping
the button that was very likely on the steal here, why re-raise and risk
frightening her away here? Its not as though there are any more players behind
that can call. He doesn’t need to thin the field because the maximum players in
this hand is only 3.

On the flop, I think he played it fine as well. If he were to push here, he is
only likely to get called by a made flush, whereas if he just calls the sb’s
probing bet, he can induce a stack off by the button with a weaker hand (as button
was the preflop raiser), as it puts the decision to the button whether to push
out the draw or not if he really had a hand. Even if button did have the
flush, BB still has a lot of outs. But far more likely if button was pushing
here, button would not have the flush, but maybe a painted spades, with maybe a
pair. And if button did have a flush and slow plays it, BB is drawing on the

Anyway, BB got button to committ all her chips to the pot whilst drawing very
slim, how can that be the play of a moron? Whereas in the unlikely possiblity
that BB was behind, he still had very good outs to bust button. So, who’s the

Comments are closed.