Preparing for war

An introduction on how to beat low-limit cash games

If you’re yet to taste the thrill of cash games then now is the time

If you’re yet to experience the visceral thrill of cash games then now is the time. Cash games are real poker according to some poker purists, while other more, erm, ‘gambling-oriented’ players simply prefer the traditional ring game for the white-knuckle ride that the real money play brings.

Each individual cash game is a very different beast, so treat our introduction as just that – a guide to follow as you dip your toes into the murky waters for the very first time. Or, if you’ve previously plunged a leg in and had it bitten off, to teach you how to better manage your chip-stack forays.

Think of it as a base from which to launch a more long-reaching campaign. It’s your John Terry. It’s your Normandy landing. If you’ve faltered before, it’s your crutch with which to pick yourself back up and, when the buggers get close enough, to batter foes over the head with.

Our cash game intro will give you that solid base to build upon but, as you must appreciate, condensing poker wisdom into just a few pages is always going to create a few casualties of war. In other words don’t sit down at the felt feeling that our tuition is going to prepare you for every situation that you’re going to come up against.

In poker there will ALWAYS be a situation where the conventionally accepted strategy is the wrong thing to do. So, while it’s customary to raise and re-raise with big pairs pre- flop, there are times when you should elect to slow-play for maximum payoff.

Realising how situations shift, switch and swerve will come with time and experience. The main thing to remember is that you’re not playing against a computer or ‘the house’ – you’re playing against flesh and blood players. As such, it’s not just the cards you have to control but real people – people who are more than capable of having a dominating hand, getting lucky or, quite simply, outplaying you.

Each player you face brings a unique challenge.

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