NLH Small Stakes Cash Game: where are the profits?

M

mischman

Legend
Joined
Dec 30, 2005
Total posts
2,959
Written by timzc1 and copied off P5's. Viery good information and was a good read. Theres a lot of small stakes players on this site(including me) who might find this helpful

NLH Small Stakes Cash Game: where are the profits? by timzc1 on 12/12/2006 16:10
My route to NLH cash games was circuitous; unlike most people, I started playing NLH MTT’s online and only recently tried my hand at NLH cash games. I have enjoyed my cash game experiment. I am still a rookie, obviously, having only played about 6000 hands (usually 2-tabling the 25$ max (.10-.25) level). While my winnings are modest in terms of total dollars, the win rate of about 28BB /100 hands makes me think I am doing something right. My goal for this short article is to explain what I think were the key sources of my profit.
Source of Profit #1: When you have a good hand, on whatever street, bet huge and raise even more! Never be amazed at the action people call for their entire stack, including marginal holdings like underpairs to the top card on the board (or worse). When the pot is small and 5 people are checking down the board, if the river brings you the nut straight, then you should bet huge--even consider betting straight out all in! Frequently it will be the case that all five opponents fold, but a surprising number of times it will be the case that the river card made someone bottom two pair, and they think, “he has got to be bluffing!” and call.

Never be surprised with the curiosity level of your opponents; they really want to see your cards and will pay handsomely for the opportunity. These horrendous calls by players with marginal holdings are enormous sources of profit. Think of the large bets you make with the nuts on the river as a ‘max-min’ problem: your goal is to bet the largest amount of $ that you think will be called frequently enough such that it will more than compensate you for the times no one calls (the texture of the board can help you make the decision: was it likely that the river gave someone two pair?). If you reason that a pot-sized bet will be called 50% of the time, but a 5-times-pot bet will be called 20% of the time, then you make more money over the long run by firing out the ridiculously huge bet.
Source of Profit #2: The flip side of Source #1: Don’t bluff! Without a clear read on an opponent, never be amazed at the action players at these stakes will call on the turn or river with all sorts of bad hands and bad draws. I quickly learned that “creative” and aggressive moves with a weak holding hardly ever work at these limits. Am I saying you only put money in the middle when your pocket connects with the flop? Of course not: make continuation bets in position most of the time; be willing to semi-bluff re-raise when you flop a nut flush draw and there is a bit of a pot worth stealing. But don’t make stone cold bluffs unless you have a very good read on an opponent!
Source of Profit #3: Perhaps the largest source of profit came via game selection. What type of player makes a game a good one? When I think back on all my sessions, the sessions where I had the biggest wins were ones that included one or more aggressive bad players at the table (or, at least, an aggressive player playing poorly). It is easy to find these players: they try to see many flops, they raise pre flop straight out to 10 BB with, it turns out, a7s (or k10, or 44, or etc), they get it all in pre flop with 68s for their entire buy in, etc.

In short, these players throw their chips around with, it appears, no rhyme or reason. While it does sting to have kjs beat your AA all in pre flop for your entire buy in, the good thing about these aggressive maniacs is that you’ll have another chance at their stack: they often stick around when they get lucky and take down a big pot. These small stakes limits are populated with many such players as I have described, and, so long as you play solid post flop poker, your good hands will be paid off.
Best of luck at the virtual felt,
--tc
 
M

MercilessKiller

Rock Star
Joined
Jun 4, 2005
Total posts
290
quote: Don’t bluff! Without a clear read on an opponent....

Thats a contradiction. bluffing in NLHM small stakes CAN be profitable in the correct circumstance. I've won a LOT calling river all in's from people who i KNOW are maniacs!

However this IS rare and usuallyall in's on the river mean what they are! Need reads on players but bluffing is sometimes a profitable move.

There's a lot of money in small stakes by simply being patient and large playing good hands! Also limping with the suited connectors is a good move as no one puts you on a straight with a low flop :)
 
blankoblanco

blankoblanco

plays poker on hard mode
Joined
May 16, 2006
Total posts
6,129
quote: Don’t bluff! Without a clear read on an opponent....

Thats a contradiction. Bluffing in NLHM small stakes CAN be profitable in the correct circumstance. I've won a LOT calling river all in's from people who i KNOW are maniacs!

Exactly. That's why it specifies "without a clear read on an opponent".
 
M

MercilessKiller

Rock Star
Joined
Jun 4, 2005
Total posts
290
quote: "Don't Bluff!"

should be "Dont bluff witholut a clear read". This implies don't bluff even with the read :p (People remember key words and phrases right?)
 
joosebuck

joosebuck

Legend
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Total posts
4,193
thanks misch


pokerstars Game #8071697030: Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2007/01/22 - 17:13:48 (ET)
Table 'Algol V' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: mahoney01 ($29.40 in chips)
Seat 2: stechyshyn ($7.25 in chips)
Seat 3: Mikele BaBa ($9.55 in chips)
Seat 4: eykey ($12.85 in chips)
Seat 6: Nikkihundo ($10.25 in chips)
Seat 7: nostra3 ($21.95 in chips)
Seat 8: joosebucklol ($40.10 in chips)
Seat 9: TTMaster222 ($47.40 in chips)
stechyshyn: posts small blind $0.10
Mikele BaBa: posts big blind $0.25
skrpec: sits out
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to joosebucklol [4d 4c]
eykey: folds
Nikkihundo: folds
nostra3: folds
joosebucklol: calls $0.25
TTMaster222: raises $0.75 to $1
mahoney01: folds
stechyshyn: folds
Mikele BaBa: folds
joosebucklol: calls $0.75
*** FLOP *** [Th 7d Kc]
joosebucklol: checks
TTMaster222: checks
*** TURN *** [Th 7d Kc] [4s]
joosebucklol: checks
TTMaster222: checks
*** RIVER *** [Th 7d Kc 4s] [3h]
joosebucklol: bets $39.10 and is all-in
TTMaster222: calls $39.10
*** SHOW DOWN ***
joosebucklol: shows [4d 4c] (three of a kind, Fours)
TTMaster222: mucks hand
joosebucklol collected $77.55 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $80.55 | Rake $3
Board [Th 7d Kc 4s 3h]
Seat 1: mahoney01 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: stechyshyn (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 3: Mikele BaBa (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: eykey folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Nikkihundo folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: nostra3 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: joosebucklol showed [4d 4c] and won ($77.55) with three of a kind, Fours
Seat 9: TTMaster222 mucked [Ks Tc]
 
Lo-Dog

Lo-Dog

Cardschat Elite
Joined
Apr 11, 2006
Total posts
2,240
thanks misch


PokerStars Game #8071697030: Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2007/01/22 - 17:13:48 (ET)
Table 'Algol V' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: mahoney01 ($29.40 in chips)
Seat 2: stechyshyn ($7.25 in chips)
Seat 3: Mikele BaBa ($9.55 in chips)
Seat 4: eykey ($12.85 in chips)
Seat 6: Nikkihundo ($10.25 in chips)
Seat 7: nostra3 ($21.95 in chips)
Seat 8: joosebucklol ($40.10 in chips)
Seat 9: TTMaster222 ($47.40 in chips)
stechyshyn: posts small blind $0.10
Mikele BaBa: posts big blind $0.25
skrpec: sits out
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to joosebucklol [4d 4c]
eykey: folds
Nikkihundo: folds
nostra3: folds
joosebucklol: calls $0.25
TTMaster222: raises $0.75 to $1
mahoney01: folds
stechyshyn: folds
Mikele BaBa: folds
joosebucklol: calls $0.75
*** FLOP *** [Th 7d Kc]
joosebucklol: checks
TTMaster222: checks
*** TURN *** [Th 7d Kc] 4♠
joosebucklol: checks
TTMaster222: checks
*** RIVER *** [Th 7d Kc 4s] 3♥
joosebucklol: bets $39.10 and is all-in
TTMaster222: calls $39.10
*** SHOW DOWN ***
joosebucklol: shows [4d 4c] (three of a kind, Fours)
TTMaster222: mucks hand
joosebucklol collected $77.55 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $80.55 | Rake $3
Board [Th 7d Kc 4s 3h]
Seat 1: mahoney01 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: stechyshyn (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 3: Mikele BaBa (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: eykey folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Nikkihundo folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: nostra3 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: joosebucklol showed [4d 4c] and won ($77.55) with three of a kind, Fours
Seat 9: TTMaster222 mucked [Ks Tc]

OMFG it works. n1 joose. :eek:
 
mrsnake3695

mrsnake3695

I'm confused
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Total posts
1,597
Horrible check on the flop by villan. People slow play way too much.

What if you had 8 9 or Q J.
 
joosebuck

joosebuck

Legend
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Total posts
4,193
you need to be my publicist then. go ahead on to indiana and prepare them for the arrival of joose for the circuit events
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Total posts
2,389
Source of Profit #3: Perhaps the largest source of profit came via game selection. What type of player makes a game a good one? When I think back on all my sessions, the sessions where I had the biggest wins were ones that included one or more aggressive bad players at the table (or, at least, an aggressive player playing poorly). It is easy to find these players: they try to see many flops, they raise pre flop straight out to 10 BB with, it turns out, a7s (or k10, or 44, or etc), they get it all in pre flop with 68s for their entire buy in, etc.
Question is, how do you find the good tables? Multi-tabling (can be tough at 5-max) or just keep switching tables? I tend to just pick a table and stick with it for a session. If I keep switching, how do I know that the next table's going to be any better?
 
M

MercilessKiller

Rock Star
Joined
Jun 4, 2005
Total posts
290
you want to stick at a table, and you want that table to have an average chip stack of about 15 to 20 times the big blind

so for 0.05/0.10 an avg size of between $7 and $10 is a good table. The avg pot an hour isnt as important.

If the tbale has short stacks, then your raises are pointless if they're nearly a whole players stacks so its either fold or all in, and for a table full of $20+, the opposite will happen which you dont want either :) A nice mix is what ya need :D
 
pokernut

pokernut

Guest
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Total posts
578
Question is, how do you find the good tables? Multi-tabling (can be tough at 5-max) or just keep switching tables? I tend to just pick a table and stick with it for a session. If I keep switching, how do I know that the next table's going to be any better?

I find that there are always a couple of spots at the table where people are frequently coming and going. The odds are that your table will change from tight to aggressive to tight, etc. IMO it's better to stay at a table so you can at least get a notebook on the people who are there for a while with you, then to move around a lot.
 
Bill_Hollorian

Bill_Hollorian

Rock Star
Joined
Jun 25, 2005
Total posts
400
Bluffing is more useful in information control, than it is as a profit center.
In other words you may find that bluffing increases pay offs when you make big hands.
In other words on rare occasion open raising j3 off from early position, then check folding to an A on the flop will get your AA raise from ealry position payed off on later hands giving your bigger hands much more value.

game theory states that optimal strategy includes bluffing whether you know anything about your opponent or not. It applies to all limits as game theory is fundamental to poker.

Exploitive strategy would also require bluffing, although to exploit your opponents it sounds like they have an overwhelming call showdown frequency.

If so, that is hugely unfortunate, and is also an argument that the micros do not prepare you for even slightly larger limits..

Bill H.
 
Real Money Poker - Real Money Casinos Top 10 Games
Top