The game of poker can be traced all the way back to 10th century China. After crossing several continents and cultures, it made its way to North America via French colonists who introduced it to their settlements in the early 19th century. Since then, poker has evolved to become one of the most popular games in the world.
Today, the game is easily accessible through countless casino sites that attract millions of players thanks in no small part to their poker apps. There are many different versions of cash game poker, and some of the most popular variants include Texas hold ’em and Omaha Hi-Lo. Below we’ll run you through a few tips on how to enhance your game regardless of the variant you choose.
Glossary of Terms
Before we get to the advanced strategy tips, it’s important to go through basic poker terminology that will improve your understanding of how the game works.
Action – One’s turn to act during a hand. Either bet or raise.
Ante – A small bet every player needs to place before the hand is dealt
Board – The term refers to poker tables as well as community cards players combine with pocket cards to make the best hand.
Buy-in – The cost for entering a tournament or the minimum amount required to join a cash game
Community cards – Community cards or shared cards are those that are dealt face up in the center of the table.
Counterfeit – A duplicate card on the board that devalues your hand
Dealer – The player who shuffles the deck and deals the cards
Dealer button – A plastic disk that shows who the dealer is. It’s passed clockwise with each hand.
Flop – The first three community cards that are dealt once the first round is complete
Fold – Dropping out of the hand and placing your cards face down to the table
No-limit – A type of game where there’s no limit on how much players can bet. They can bet their full stack.
Hand – Five cards the player holds, which are made of community cards and his pocket cards
Omaha – A poker game in which players receive four pocket cards and are required to use exactly two of them, combined with three community cards, to make a hand
Pocket cards – Pocket or hole cards are not a part of community cards
River – The last of the five community cards
Showdown – The moment when the final round is over, and players are required to turn their hands face-up.
You can also check out our more extensive article covering the most important poker terms and expressions.
What Is a Cash Game?
Cash games, also known as ring games, are the ones played with real chips and money at stake. That means a $10 chip is worth $10, and the player can exchange it for real money.
There are also different game formats. For instance, there are some notable differences between a regular poker cash game and a poker tournament. A player can quit a cash game at any time and exchange his chips for cash, while the tournament ends when one player has all the chips, and players are paid out based on where they finish.
What Is a Win Rate?
The game of poker is the perfect blend of skill and luck. And while many players are satisfied with regular low-stake games, others prefer to play big and take greater risks. In both cases, it’s important to gamble responsibly and define your success rate.
A success rate or a win rate measures how fast a player wins. In an online poker cash game, a decent win rate depends on multiple factors, including the stakes and the rake, which is a scaled commission fee taken by the game operator. It usually ranges from 2.5% to 10% of the pot in each hand, or it can be a fixed amount.
Calculating Win Rates
Win rates are measured in terms of big blinds made per 100 hands. When it comes to tournaments, the win rate calculation is slightly different. It’s measured based on the average return a player makes on each buy-in. For example, if a player makes $0.20 for every $1 tournament he participates in, his return on investments or ROI would be 20%.
Most players who participate in online cash games want to know what a good win rate is. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer. But, generally speaking, these would be good win rates:
- In online cash games, zero to ten big blinds on 100 hands are considered a good win rate. Anything more than ten big blinds is considered an exceptional score.
- In live cash games, zero to thirty big blinds on 100 hands are considered successful, while 30+ big blinds represent an exceptional rate.
The Game Strategy
Now that you know all the basics, here’s where the real fun begins. Let’s go over a few poker cash game strategy tips that will help you boost your winnings.
1. Choose the table carefully
The first thing you should do once you get to a poker site is pick a poker table. With cash games, you’re allowed to join the game or leave the table any time you like. Before you approach the table and join the game, make sure it isn’t packed with experienced players. If the table is full of advanced-level players, you’ll probably improve your chances of winning if you look for another game. The first step in any cash game poker strategy is finding the right table for your skillset.
2. Bluff, but don’t overdo it
Bluffing is one of the oldest strategies in poker, and if you use it wisely, it can go a long way. If you never bluff while playing, other players will easily spot a pattern and fold whenever you show the initiative. They will most likely back off when you bet or raise. On the other hand, you shouldn’t bluff too frequently, as other players will try to exploit your playing style.
3. Set a limit
Believe it or not, the most critical cash game strategy is knowing when to stop. After winning a few hands, most players get overconfident and start thinking nothing can stop them. But that’s not how things work in poker. Before starting a game, you should decide on how many games you’d like to play, manage your expectations in terms of profit and set a limit on how much you’re ready to spend.
4. Manage the bankroll
Having good hands and some previous experience with poker won’t be enough if you don’t know how to manage your bankroll. So, one of the first and most significant poker cash game rules is discipline. Always split your personal and poker finances to avoid spending more than you can afford. Allocating a specific amount of cash just for poker will also enable you to play more aggressively and call more often. Of course, if you’re a beginner, you should play it safe until you develop a winning strategy.
5. The position is important
A position at the poker table has major implications for a player’s strategy. If you’re playing cash game poker in-position, you get to act last and see what the other players are doing. A good position gives you an advantage and the time to decide what your next move will be.
6. Go for the blinds
Blinds are one of the main reasons why players stay in the game. They are forced bets players in certain positions are required to place before the flop. These positions are called the Big Blind and the Small Blind, and they represent the two positions to the left of the dealer button. These two positions aren’t really a favourite among players as those who have them play last preflop and first post-flop.
7. Play aggressively
This is another important tip when playing online cash game poker. It’s a critical component of every winning strategy. If you play passively and only check and call, you can only win if you have the best hand. On the other hand, raising and the right dose of aggression in your gameplay will force some players to fold, and you’ll get to take the pot without a showdown.
8. Pick the right bet size
Choosing the right bet size is one of the most valuable cash game tips. It can help you maximise your winnings and manipulate the opponent’s gameplay. Experienced poker players are more likely to call wider on smaller bets and narrower when the bets are larger. This can give you an idea of what to expect during the game and help you plan your next move.
9. Avoid distractions
Focus is an essential factor for any player, especially when it comes to live games. You should always pay attention to your opponent’s hands, even if you’re not participating in them. That will help you find a pattern and understand how other players think, which is crucial for success. So, switch off all the devices that might distract your live cash game. Poker is a game where distractions can be costly.
10. Don’t get emotionally invested
This might sound like a cliche, but you should always leave emotions out of poker. Those who don’t often make quick, impulsive decisions that lead to costly mistakes. Needless to say, poker is a very emotional game with lots of ups and downs. Learning how to manage your emotions is an important part of developing a winning strategy.
Now that you know the most important poker cash game tips, you’re ready to join the action. There are countless online casinos that offer various poker games for you to enjoy. Remember to select the tables carefully, focus on your opponents and their weaknesses, and always manage your expectations. As you keep learning and applying these strategies, you’ll advance your game and be able to swim with the big sharks. In the meantime, stay focused, and if things don’t go as planned, know when to walk away from the table.
Online Vs. Live Poker: Main Differences
What is a good poker cash game ROI?
Poker ROI represents the difference between how much you invest in the game and how much you get in return. When it comes to poker tournaments, anything going from 0% to 30% is considered a good ROI, while anything above 30% counts as excellent ROI.
What is BB in poker?
BB is an abbreviation that refers either to big bets or the big blind position at the table. People often confuse it with a lower case bb which exclusively refers to big blinds. Inexperienced players may not be familiar with the difference between big bets and big blinds, but there’s a clear distinction between the two, which is vital for understanding cash game strategy. Big bet represents a larger bet-sizing increment used in later betting rounds, while big blind represents a larger value cited in the stake description.
How do you increase your win rate in poker?
There are various tips that can help you improve your win rate and your overall game. Here are some of them:
- Learn the rules
- Practice on low-stake games
- Don’t bluff too often
- Defend the big blind
- Know when to fold
These are just some examples that can help you improve your cash game poker strategies and increase your win rate. Be prepared to make mistakes at the beginning and learn from those mistakes as you go along.