When / how do you join cash games?

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nameless1537

Rock Star
Hi... I’ve been only playing tournaments for a long time and have never played NLHE in cash games. When I have limited time, I think I might want to dip my toes into cash games.

I poked my head into the cash games lobby in PStars and noticed that they track games based on flop%, hands/hour, avg pot size... not sure if there are others. It appears that it only tracks these stats on the desktop client and not so much on the iOS versions.

So my question is — which table stats do you look for and why? Or do you just randomly hop onto whichever one has a free seat?

Also, do you tend to observe a table first to see what’s going on (what kind of action usually takes place) or do you just hop on and play?

Curious about other people’s tendencies...
 
Poker Orifice

Poker Orifice

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Preferably higher Avg Pot, and more players to the Flop.

I will also open up new tables or join new tables as you'll see newer players with a tendency to do this and these are some of the ones I'd prefer to be playing with.

When you join the table check off 'Wait for Big Blind'.... & always join with 100bb's

good luck!
 
N

nameless1537

Rock Star
Yes, agree with Poker O, the higher the average pot, generally the looser the players. That's what I look for.


So if you are playing with loose players, then you are looking to play tight / aggressive? How successful is a LAG playstyle in the micro cash games?

Any time you’d look to play against tight tables just to take advantage of overly tight plays?
 
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fundiver199

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The table stats in the lobby are not all that usefull, because they are so dynamic. In principle you want a high average players per flop, but the number could be high because of a single player (fish), who just left the table.

If possible I prefer to get on starting tables or even start my own rather than going on waiting lists or join tables, where someone just left and noone else are waiting in line. Often there is a reason for this, and the reason is, that the fish just left.

Mainly though you have to evaluate tables after getting on them. A good table has at least one fish on it, and preferably within a few seats from your right, since this allow you to play more pots in position and isolate, when they limp. If the fish is on your direct left, you will get floated and annoyed, especially if you are running card dead.

The easiest way to identify fish is by using a HUD and put a label on everyone playing more than 40% of their hands (VPIP). On HUD-free sites try to observe manually, who play to many hands, and look for other tells like limping, weird bet sizes, donk betting in bad situations and not starting with a full stack.
 
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fundiver199

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Here is an example of how to identify a fish without using a HUD. The Villain joins the table, which is a 10NL cash table with 9 players, and he buy in for 7.63$. This is almost certainly the remaining balance in his poker account, and he is ready to gamble it up. Rather than wait for the blinds to come around for him, he post a big blind from UTG+2.

A few hands later he is in the SB seat, you open from UTG, he call. Flop comes AK4 rainbow. A flop, which strongly favour your range over his, but even so he comes right out with a big donk bet. You call in position with AQ, turn is a brick, and now he bet 10c into the pot of 1.65$. You raise to 1,4$, he call. River is another brick, he check, you bet half pot, and he call you down with A8 offsuit. This is clearly a huge fish, and he is two seats to your right. So as long as he is still playing, you found your perfect table :D
 
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A

abyk

Rock Star
Stay away from cash games if your balance is low, and if you do play cash games, don't put in too much of your balance (try to put in less than 5%)
 
E

EarnDAStack

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Looking for high average pots and high players to the flip has already been mentioned, but I would like to answer your question on observing tables before I sit in. If there is only 1 open seat and it looks like it’s a good table based off of average pot and players to the flip, I’ll usually take the seat and then sit out a blinds round to try and pick up some of the other players tendencies. Is there is two open seats or more I’ll usually watch the table before I sit down as there won’t be as much of a rush to sit in the table.

Also tagging other players can make your life a lot easier, You’ll be able to find the softest tables and the best seat at those soft tables.

Hope this helps!!!
 
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fundiver199

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Looking for high average pots and high players to the flip has already been mentioned, but I would like to answer your question on observing tables before I sit in. If there is only 1 open seat and it looks like it’s a good table based off of average pot and players to the flip, I’ll usually take the seat and then sit out a blinds round to try and pick up some of the other players tendencies. Is there is two open seats or more I’ll usually watch the table before I sit down as there won’t be as much of a rush to sit in the table.

The problem with observing first is, that its often a race between regulars to get the ”jesus seat”, which is the seat to the direct left of a bad player. So if I see an unknown player sitting with 6,73$ at a 10$ table, I will sit as close to his left as possible as fast as possible. If it then turn out, he is in fact a nit, who just forgot to enable auto top-up, or for whatever reason did not buy in full, I sit out and leave after a few orbits. Rince and repeat process.
 
N

nameless1537

Rock Star
Looking for high average pots and high players to the flip has already been mentioned, but I would like to answer your question on observing tables before I sit in. If there is only 1 open seat and it looks like it’s a good table based off of average pot and players to the flip, I’ll usually take the seat and then sit out a blinds round to try and pick up some of the other players tendencies. Is there is two open seats or more I’ll usually watch the table before I sit down as there won’t be as much of a rush to sit in the table.

Also tagging other players can make your life a lot easier, You’ll be able to find the softest tables and the best seat at those soft tables.

Hope this helps!!!

The problem with observing first is, that its often a race between regulars to get the ”jesus seat”, which is the seat to the direct left of a bad player. So if I see an unknown player sitting with 6,73$ at a 10$ table, I will sit as close to his left as possible as fast as possible. If it then turn out, he is in fact a nit, who just forgot to enable auto top-up, or for whatever reason did not buy in full, I sit out and leave after a few orbits. Rince and repeat process.


Thanks for your replies everyone... Especially fundiver199 -- you have been so helpful in many of my queries on this site. Glad that we aren't playing on the same site... not sure if I really want to play against you. lol

I looked for a higher-than-average average pot (and actually fewer hands in pot... as I'd think I'd prefer dealing isolating players whenever possible) and walked out of my first cash game up 50% of the max buyin. Mind you, it was only in the 2NL tables, but it was a trial run. It was also my first game playing with a HUD and I must say... I really like having that tool as it helps me make better decisions with the table (knowing who's playing super tight, and helped me to quickly decide whether to fold on a 3bet... which I did).

I think I'll stick around cash games for a while and work on the fundamentals of the game -- trying to learn how to wield implied odds, pot odds, fold & fear equity into my play in the cash games, and then bring what I learn back into the tourneys... which always used to be my bread-and-butter.

Thanks again for the suggestions. If there are any other points you'd like to write, I'm open to reading them too. Thanks!
 
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fundiver199

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Thanks for your replies everyone... Especially fundiver199 -- you have been so helpful in many of my queries on this site. Glad that we aren't playing on the same site... not sure if I really want to play against you. lol


You are welcome. I still have my account on Stars, so I might come over there and hunt you down at the 2NL tables :p
 
Deedgee

Deedgee

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The average pot size is definitely the main factor. It tells you everything you need to know about the table.
 
Evan Jarvis

Evan Jarvis

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Hi... I’ve been only playing tournaments for a long time and have never played NLHE in cash games. When I have limited time, I think I might want to dip my toes into cash games.

I poked my head into the cash games lobby in PStars and noticed that they track games based on flop%, hands/hour, avg pot size... not sure if there are others. It appears that it only tracks these stats on the desktop client and not so much on the iOS versions.

So my question is — which table stats do you look for and why? Or do you just randomly hop onto whichever one has a free seat?

Also, do you tend to observe a table first to see what’s going on (what kind of action usually takes place) or do you just hop on and play?

Curious about other people’s tendencies...

You've got it pretty covered. First step is looking for a high players per flop %, next is looking at average pot size (and if it's big looking at the table to see if someone is jamming blind or something)

Here's a video that goes into it deeper

Taking the time to label people and have marks you go for will pay dividends in the long run. Poker is a war, and the table setup is the territory, the better you know it, the better your odds of emerging victorious!
 
Rowdy Greg

Rowdy Greg

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I just take the quick seat assignment. I find it gets too complicated trying to select tables when you're multi-tabling. Plus, players change tables so frequently (at the lower stakes) that the stats don't really seem all that valid, and certainly won't be valid 15 - 30 mins later.
 
F

fundiver199

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I just take the quick seat assignment. I find it gets too complicated trying to select tables when you're multi-tabling. Plus, players change tables so frequently (at the lower stakes) that the stats don't really seem all that valid, and certainly won't be valid 15 - 30 mins later.


I tend to agree, especially if we are talking about 6-max tables. From time to time you can get lucky to get on a good table and keep it running for an hour, but often times bad players only play for 5-10 minutes, and regular tables tend to only exist, as long as bad players are on them.

No sensible regular wants to sit all day and play with other regulars in the micros, because they know, they will just get killed by the rake. So what often happen is, you go on the waiting list for that “perfect” table, you found. But when you get on it, the fish has left, and 5 minutes later the whole table has dissolved, and you can start all over again.

So at 6-max in particular waiting lists are almost never worth the time and effort. You are better off jumping on new starting tables, starting your own, or simply just resign and use the quick seat assignment. If the table is not good, you can just leave after a few orbits and jump on another one.

Full ring tables tend to be a little more robust, because there is more chance for multible bad players to be seated on the same table. So just because one bad player leave, it will not always start an avalanche effect, where everyone else want to leave as well.

It has honestly become a bit of a circus sometimes, and I would not be surpriced, if all poker sites eventually move to “quick seating” only to limit all this bum hunting, which is going on.
 
dimon4ik89

dimon4ik89

Rock Star
Very interesting topic. I usually choose tables with average banks and other average indicators, it helps me to find a normal table with adequate players. If the average pot is very high, it means there are aggressive players at the table, and if it’s very low, then the players at the table play passively and if I have a good card, then hardly anyone will respond to my raise. Similarly, with the other indicators, if they are very high, then the table is very aggressive or if it is low, then the table is passive. Earlier, before sitting down at the table, I watched the game for a while, but now I don’t do it, but just look at the table’s indicators and I’ve got enough of it.
 
N

nameless1537

Rock Star
So here's a bit of a follow-up to my question. In my very small sample size of cash games, I've been finding that trying to find the highest average pot with decent avg players per pot has not worked well for me. In these tables, the reason that there are higher pot sizes is usually because there is already some kind of a LAG player in there that's drawing out a bunch of calls from passive players... or targetting one or two fish.

Where I have found the most success are tables with the highest average players per pot, indicating more passive players and opportunities for me to draw out more money into the pot with more aggressive raises. Just need to be careful that the average pot is not too small, otherwise it could be just a bunch of nits at a table, which is pretty boring.

I have also joined newer tables... and I think I do prefer this experience more. Being at a new table with most players at around the same chip level makes me a bit more relaxed -- I don't really like sitting to the right of the largest stack on the table...

Thanks for the answers in this thread!
 
makisaa

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I just find a table and play, or I leave the software to find me one quicker. Generally, I prefer the zoom kind!
 
T

TpaEnforcement

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I don't like cash games, I am not good at them. When sitting at cash tables I always lose. I always try to double my bank roll , but it never pays off. I lose my bank roll in a matter of 10 mins. I wait patiently for 3 of the top pairs , but they never hold up. So now I have to learn to just play in tournaments. Not lucky at cash tables, even if I sit at tables with max buy ins.
 
N

nameless1537

Rock Star
I just find a table and play, or I leave the software to find me one quicker. Generally, I prefer the zoom kind!
Interesting that you mention zoom. What draws you to zoom? Personally, I am not really all that interested zoom because I want to know who I'm playing against... so an opponent's story at the table matters to me as much as the hand that I am playing. Going in and out of hands seems a bit jarring... and yes, you are simply playing the hands... but I feel that I have a lack of information going in. I haven't really tried this out yet... but maybe it's something I'll do in the future.

I don't like cash games, I am not good at them. When sitting at cash tables I always lose. I always try to double my bank roll , but it never pays off. I lose my bank roll in a matter of 10 mins. I wait patiently for 3 of the top pairs , but they never hold up. So now I have to learn to just play in tournaments. Not lucky at cash tables, even if I sit at tables with max buy ins.
I gotta say... the cash game is quite a fair bit different from tournament. Last night, I was card dead for like 60-70 hands (over 40 mins) and after some small losses in the beginning, I had really nitty table stats (a VPIP/PFR or like 8/4) which isn't how I like to play but I really couldn't get anything. Eventually I started getting decent cards and walked away from the table up like 83BBs. All this to say... what you might consider patient in terms of tournament play doesn't compare to the amount of patience you need to play the cash tables. More so with cash tables than tournament, you can't really focus on the results of the hand and the long term view is the key thing... so I question whether having a goal of doubling your money in a cash game is the best way to approach the game. It's about playing good strategic poker and the belief that if you play well, the results will take care of themselves. My mentality when approaching cash games now is... I'll take what the table gives me. If I can double, great. But if all I can get is a +50%, then that's what it is. Sometimes you are playing in a super tight table, and you can't really squeeze more out of rocks... and so I've learned that table selection is an important part of the game too (something you have no way of controlling with tourneys)... hence the subject of this thread! Good luck!
 
R

ROYALROAD

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championship in a micro tournament 5 times a week

If you can win the championship in a micro tournament 5 times a week, even if You challenge a cash game, they'll be very promising.
 
neontuning

neontuning

Rock Star
I play normal in start, after win some hands and pot is increase, I play more aggressive and analytic. Pair in my hand is all in, when I do high pair or more always raise, when I'm nuts (Flop, Turn) check, and River all in.

Sometimes I play common many hands, when I find a villain I do a game different and always aggressive if I have a good hand. Basicaly this!
 
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