Monday, August 13, 2007

Cash game Crunch

Well, that got a lot of responses.
Never mind, then. :P

No, I was going to say that I've heard that people should take more risks in a cash game because you can always rebuy, but I've never quite understood that thinking. When you're in a tournament, you have to take risks to accumulate chips or else the blinds will eat you alive. The blinds really aren't a factor in cash games at the limits most of us play. I actually prefer to bluff after the flop more than try to raise pre-flop in a cash game to keep my stack level.

But bankroll management is the most important thing you can do for your poker game, and it's simply not good bankroll management to think you can rebuy whenever. In fact if I lose more than two buy-ins I'm done for the night.

When you play a tournament, you can only lose your buy-in. You should take risks because your bankroll can afford it. Calculated risks, of course, but more risks than a cash game.

I am aggressive in a cash game, but not as aggressive as I am in a tournament. And I don't see why anyone would play any differently. I rarely go all in in a cash game preflop. I even hesitate to do it with KK. I never do it with QQ or below unless I know the guy is a complete moron or he's got a really short stack.

What's your philosophy in a cash game versus a tournament? How much are you willing to risk in a cash game, and on what kinds of hands?


TripJax said...

Not enough folks take their bankroll into account when discussing the cash vs. tourney debate. Good point...

Gydyon said...

The philosophy regarding taking more risks in a cash game, as I have always understood it, is not that you should play looser or more agressively in cash games, but that you should be more willing to go with the odds than you would be in a tournament setting.

In a tournament, even though you're getting 2:1 on the flop with a naked flush draw, you may decide to fold (despite getting slightly better than the odds you need to call profitably) because if you lose, you're out. There are probably better examples.

In a cash game, however, you should probably call this bet every time. In that sense, the game has one less decision to be made, because there is no "tournament life" at stake -- you can always reload if you get your money in with the proper odds and happen to miss.

However, this is often taken the wrong way -- I have met and played with numerous people, especially playing live, whose philosophy is "hey I can always reload, let's gamble!" Unless you believe your skill level will allow you to reclaim those chips if you lose, that makes very little sense. It's a matter of odds, not recklessness.

As to bankroll consideration regarding cash games, nothing wrong with having a "stop loss" policy in cash games -- I have one myself. However, if losing a couple of buyins is negatively affecting your bankroll in a way that it enters your decision-making process regarding your calling bets with the proper odds, you're probably playing too high. That's called scared money and it's dangerous to play that way (because it will be picked up on and abused by a smart player).

I know this is somewhat academic (and irrelevant) for those of us with small or "part time" bankrolls, but that's the reasoning behind it.

Gydyon said...

And just so we're clear, I rarely go all-in preflop in a cash game too. That makes perfect sense.

However, it's inevitable that all-ins will eventually happen post-flop, especially in the era of capped buy-in no limit.

My reasoning for capping my losses is that it's probably just not my night -- unless I know I got the money in good each time and lost, I am obviously not playing well and need to go do something else for a change.

However, large swings are inevitable in poker, in the short and long-term, even when paying optimally, so the goal should be to play with enough bankroll that losing a few buyins does not risk ruin or affect how individual hands are played.

pokerpeaker said...

This is what I was saying, Gydyon, but you put it a little better. I do agree that odds should be pushed, but I'm still willing to fold a 55/45 hand if it's for $50 and wait for a better spot, whereas I will call that if it's late in a tournament because I don't have as much to lose.

And that's what I was talking about, too, the idea that, "Hey, it's a cash game, so I can just donk off three buyins!" That actually makes more sense for SnGs, to just gamble, because it won't hurt your bankroll nearly as much.

Drizztdj said...

Omaha doesn't apply to this argument because if you're aren't pushing 55/45 type draws/hands you're losing money.

Also, if you don't give action when you get those AA or hit a set, you'll get paid off less.

pokerpeaker said...

Drizz, let's be honest. Would I EVER post about Omaha, other than to say I lost money while playing it? :)

And what you're saying about giving action is true for the most part, but you don't have to give MUCH action on NL cash game hands to get a LOT on your sets.

HighOnPoker said...

I like your thinking here, Peaker. I believe Jesus Ferguson once said that when people ask how he adjusts his strategy between tournament and cash play, its a lot less than they think. The key is to always play optimal poker, and really, that means that your play should be more dependent on the playing conditions rather than the label of tournament vs. cash.

bayne_s said...

As long as you are playing at reasonable levels with respect to your bankroll you should be willing to push a 51/49 edge.

55/45 is a better edge than Vegas gives Roulette betters and you haven't seen a casino go broke

pokerpeaker said...

Good point, Bayne, but Casinos also have other ways to make up for that disparity with plenty of -EV games such as, sorry Drizz, Pai Gow. What do we have? Our side dice game with neighbors?