Why I play full ring cash games

There are many reasons as to why I play full ring cash games but the main reasons are two-fold. Firstly a seat at a poker table is very valuable if you are +EV. You don’t make any money sitting on waiting lists. So this means that by playing full ring then I can sit at many more tables than I could at six max. I like full ring cash games for another reason though and this has to do with the fact that I can read the action a lot better. For example if a player raises from the UTG position then I don’t try 3/betting unless I am doing so for value.

So if a player makes it 3.5bb to go and I am on the button with Kc-Kd then I know that I am not only ahead of their range but that they have a hand that can call the 3/bet or even 4/bet. The problem with 3/betting is that you often run into A-A when you get 4/bet. However the point is that many players will raise-call at the lower levels and that is simply a weak strategy. It is much better to use raise-fold or raise-4/bet lines than raise-call.

This is commonly accepted now within the poker fraternity and many players simply do not think hard enough about their strategy before they employ it. Everybody seems to be jumping into six max games these days but I think that many players are making a huge mistake in doing so. When a ten handed game loses two players then the dynamic doesn’t really alter all that much. However when a six handed game loses two players then the game is short-handed and the dynamic has moved dramatically. One of the biggest flaws in the games of lesser experienced players is by not adjusting their ranges and frequencies fast enough.

If this is an area of the game in which you struggle then you will find it difficult in six max games. This will especially be the case if you try your hand at higher stakes games. At levels like NL200 and NL400 then your opponents will be frequently adjusting their ranges and switching ranges to throw you a curve ball. They play poker in a very situational way and this makes it tough for any new player at a higher level to cope. Most players fall into a broad category if we use the Bell Curve distribution model for a minute.

In my experience the vast majority of online poker players would be better served by playing fewer hands and not more. The difference in skill between them and their opponents is a lot more marginal than even good players realise. Also the smaller your skill advantage then the longer it will take you to realise that advantage and for your earn rate to normalise. So more and more players would be better off playing fewer hands and making a greater net yield per hand!

For example a player that makes $0.05 per hand and plays 100 hands per hour would make $5 per hour. However a player that made $0.50 per hand and only played 20 hands per hour would make $10 per hour. So it isn’t about how many hands you play but how much your yield is per hand coupled with how many hands you play. Just playing loads of poker hands isn’t a guaranteed road to success and neither is having a high net yield per hand if you don’t see any action to speak of.

Carl “The Dean” Sampson can also be seen on his blog at http://pokerworld.pacificpoker.com/pokerblogs/rel=author

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