Cash game mentality vs. tournament mentality
I'm starting this thread because as I go forward, cash games are something I NEED to grow into as a poker player. I've struggled greatly with then in all prior attempts to play them because when I was learning how to play, all opportunities to play I had were either heads-up with my grandfather (and we didn't usually even play hold'em!) or later on, in amateur leagues, usually in libation related businesses (bars, pubs...if you're from whatever government does that sort of thing, I'll gladly sell the acronym Libation Related Business to you for the government's use in reports or whatever.) These leagues would always, always be a tournament format--qualifiers akin to fast-moving 1 or 2 table sit and gos leading into a multi-table tournament with merchandise related prizes, like a TV or something for the tournament winner, for example.
The nature of my exposure to poker has led me to adopt what I consider to be a "tournament mentality" that unfailingly hampers any effort I make in micro stakes cash games. For now, I plan to focus on single table SNG games, but eventually, I want to go beyond just online play, and SNGs don't...well...exist very much in brick and mortar as far ask I know. Therefore, my eventual goal is to be able to play in both cash games and tournament games on the level of "winning play", but this is one hell of a gear shift to even attempt to make. The purpose I have in mind for this thread is to compile input from as many here as possible about how I might achieve this--everything from what to do different in cash games to how to get myself to do it without losing part or even all of what is really starting to develop into a winning tournament mentality.
I figure I'll start things off by elucidating on what I know of the mentalities between these two formats and the differences between them. In the cash game mentality, a positive "expected value" is utterly paramount--and if this principle is applied judiciously enough, if you accurately make enough plays with positive expected value
, you are virtually assured of profit--provided you put in enough playing time so that the concept of the "long run" applies. This, to me, is cash games in their most distilled, simplified or possibly OVERsimplified form.
The tournament mentality is entirely different, for a simple, yet probably not particularly obvious reason: the "long run" does not exist.
Each tournament is its own microcosm--you either have chips or you don't, you either make the money or you don't, and there is no dipping into a bankroll to cover the worse instances of negative swings. Rebuy tournaments mitigate this, but by no means extend ANY tournament to a point where the "long run" applies.
What causes the long run to not exist is simple progression--the blinds increasing after every X minutes or hours--in the case of online play, this rarely reaches above 20 minutes afaik. This change is simple to execute, but the fact that the blinds increase in tournaments and stay static in cash games changes, I would say almost literally
everything. I remember someone telling me that an amount of BBs that I had bet and been raised into in a cash game, I think it was something like 15, was like nothing to walk away from in terms of a cash game. I cited a different reason--that there really wasn't a lot of respectably sized pots being played at that table--and maybe a couple others, but in addition to them, my tournament mentality tells
me to see fifteen big blinds as HUGE, because in many cases, it can be. In turbo tournaments as well as in crucial stages of any tournament like a proximity to the money bubble or the late stages, fifteen big blinds can be MORE than the difference between making some money and making NO money in the whole tournament, or making a lot of money or a little, long run be damned.
Well, that's what I have to say for now, and with that I open the floor.