Cash game players transition better to tournaments than vice versa, because cash game players are used to much intrincate post flop decision maker, while tournament players focus more on pre flop decision making. But I guess it's possible to be excellent at both. Poker is something anyone can do to some point in the long run with strategy and discipline.
Originally Posted by CMJones
According to the great Phil, these are the only hands that a beginning cash player should enter the pot with. (From "Play Poker Like the Pros", by Phil Hellmuth.)
Which I respect but I disagree. A hand like AQ, AJ, AT, KQ and PPs from 6s-2s are far easier to play than hands like JJ-77 for a beginner. Pretty much because these hands (jacks through sevens) are value hands, but you can only extract value from them and play them well post flop if you have better than solid ranges understanding, or you flop a monster like overpair to the board or sets - but if a beginner should only play post flop these hands if they see no overcards or flop a set, wouldn't it make them far closer to 66-22 than aces or kings?
Point is: on the hands of a beginner, hands like JJ-88 plays much closer to 77-22 than to AA-QQ.
For gods sake, Phil Hellmuth himself freezes out if there's a queen on the flop with JJ (and so does a lot of very experienced pros).
On the other hand, the game with AT+, KJ+, is much more simple than that. You either hit or you don't and you just build on these hands post flop given the strenght of your connection to the board (these hands often give you TP on the flop), or your skill edge. For a beginner it translates as if hit or miss, making small c-bet bluffs or river bluffs in position if your opponent has shown passivity.
I tend to categorize three types of starting hands, when playing ABC poker:
1- Monsters - AA, KK, AK, QQ = play from any position, play them strongly.
2- Hands that flop very well - AT+, KT+, QJ, JT = play them in position. Play them with caution. Exercise a lot of pot control (check behind in position, blocking bets out of position)
3 - Implied odds
hands and hands that are strong but difficult to play - for a beginning player that should be exclusively pocket pairs and extend from 22-JJ. Play sets stronger than aces. Fold if you don't have edge in aggression or position (or don't hit a set) = Play them from any position. Never limp with them. If you face a three bet, call if effective stacks are 150 BB+ AND you're last to act pre flop, fold if below that (may vary if it's tournament play or cash games). If facing a four bet, call if effective stack sizes are 300 BB+ AND you are last to act PF. If you're up against a 4-bet and have people behind you to act, fold.