The art of Cash game

Four stack of chipsCash games are one of the most exciting forms of poker. Contrary to tournaments, you are playing with your own money in front of you in the form of chips. You are perhaps already familiar with the concept of cash game, but here follows some advice that hopefully will improve your results in this game.

The psychological range

Cash game is a game about money, but even more, a game played with money directly - the chips on the table are convertible to money. In a cash game, you must be able to play in a relaxed way, even in conditions that say you must be ready to bet everything you have in chips if you feel that the odds are right.

From my online experience, it seems like players lose money in cash games for two main reasons: Either they call to many bets and raises with marginal hands or they play too tight and are relatively easy to bluff.Mark Vos

This is especially true in the no limit structure. In limit cash game, the bets in relation with your own chips aren’t very big. Therefore, you will not experience the same up and downs as in no limit. In both cases, though, the fluctuation of the money involves the psychological processes all players struggle with. “I must come back on plus minus zero...” or ”Should I stop now then I have won this much?", are some of the everlasting thoughts players experience when playing cash game. The presence of psychology is inevitable, your task is to understand the consequences and overcome the negative influence.

Keep the continuity in your game regardless if your result is plus or minus. Don’t be tempted to create big pots or get into extra action because you “need” to win back. Remember that it’s not a disaster to finish on a negative result on one specific day – it must happen sooner or later.

The same thing should be practiced when you are on a positive result. On these occasions, you have no reasons to become passive in terms of protecting your win. It’s all about the long term result, and it will be damaged if you change your play upon external causes.


The first thing to consider when you are about to sit down in a cash game is how much money to bring to the table. This is a very important area, especially in no limit. If you choose to bring 20 units (1 unit = big blind) to the table you won’t lose more than this, but neither can you win more in one pot (with lesser exceptions). If you instead bring 200 units, you can also win and lose more. This shows that you risk more than playing with bigger amounts of money, but at the same time it gives you more possibilities. The ambitious player will of course choose the later of the two – you can’t really make a profit with 20 units on the table.

The next thing is to choose a table. (If you are playing on a poker room online you will have plenty to choose from.) Instead of choosing a random table, look for conditions that suits you. Facing players with small stacks is often preferable, so that’s one of the things worth investigating before you choose your table. As you go on playing, you will soon discover your own preferences.


Here are three tips that should be helpful regardless if you play limit, pot limit or no limit.

1) If the table is very difficult, change to another table. If you have lost some money don’t get the idea that you must win it back on the very same table before changing.
2) If your chips are reduced in a way that you no longer can win big pots or you have to change the playing style because of this, it’s time to refill chips (or stop playing).
3) If some players have disappeared from the table (or temporarily "sits out") and it’s just you and one or two more left, once again you should leave the table. In other cases, you will have to pay for the blinds unnecessarily often.

Written by Oscar Sand

Related articles: