Live Poker Cash Game Strategies
posted in Live Poker, Poker Strategy on 1 January 2010 by

Massimo makes a couple of insightful posts about good adjustments to make when playing poker in a live casino cash game.
Because the competition is so much different than a “tight”, online game, these strategies can help the online player succeed in the live casinos!


This last turningstone trip was the 4th real casino trip i have taken in my life, and although i came out down once again, i think i’ve learned a few tips for beating the games. Although, these may just be off because i ran so bad. Here are my reccomendations:

Update after a trip to vegas last week i thought of new things and want to revise some old. Everything thats new is in bold and applies to 2/5 games.

1. In terms of raising preflop, i recommend playing pretty tight in early. Raising sc’s can be ok at tighter tables. In terms of in late position, i realize now that making gigantic LP raises ,with a wide range of hands, when there are limpers is a very effective strategy. It accomplishes a few things:

1) You get noticed when you raise 8-10x preflop, it pisses off the limpers and you get paid off more because of it. "YOU RAISED 69S $50 PRE WTF?"

2) You get isolation usually

3) Casino players judge hands by money, not pot size. When you make a big pot cont bets become much more effective in casinos. In a $20 pot, you can cont bet $15 and you’d get called by any pair. In a $100 pot, a $75 bet will only get called by TP. Yet, they’re the same 3/4 pot sized bets! it’s something to think about.

if there are no limpers or 1 limper, you can raise smaller because you’ll likely be in a 2 or 3 way pot anyway.

2. Try to make bluffs in small pots, and if they work show them. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL because it’s unbelievable how light some players will pay you off. The thing is, if you make bluffs in small pots, when they don’t work they’ll cost you little money but when you get in big pots people will pay you off because you raised a Flush draw that one time or whatever. I recommend c/r in a small pot as a bluff within the first two orbits, even if it may be slightly -EV in a vacuum.

3. Speaking of Flush draws, almost never call with them unless you have the expressed odds to do so. Raising will disguise your hand well too. Players are so scared of flushes, so you should also try to represent them. Players will usually make it very clear when they don’t like the flush card, and may fold hands as strong as top two pair to a decent sized bet. If you have a straight draw, it’s usually better to call with it if there is a flush draw also, because you can semi bluff the flush later.

If you have a bad image though, you may call with FD’s in many spots just because they’ll pay you off anyway.

4. Don’t be afraid to overbet the pot. Most casino donks will call a $30 flop bet in a $10 pot with the same hands they’ll call a $10 bet with, so if you need to build a pot feel free to overbet.

5. The most likely bluff/weak holding line from a casino donk is a lead, whether it be on the flop turn or river. If you have a bad image and a player leads into you, you should call down light.

I find that a flop lead isn’t really weak at all anymore. It’s as if all live players read some book that said lead your very strong hands, cause most do. So feel free to muck mid pair and even a weak TP to flop leads from casino nits.

6. Blocking bets are very effective for information as well as thin value.


dead on, nice post… me being an avid casino player i concur


Number Three intrigues me. Have you tried it successfully?



bigslikk wrote:
Number Three intrigues me. Have you tried it successfully?

Already with me


I start my live 1/2nl game with 50bbs buy in soon. Weeeeee, i bluffs you sir!


nice post



Verde wrote:

bigslikk wrote:
Number Three intrigues me. Have you tried it successfully?

Already with me

people will fold top set if a flush comes its ridiculous



Quote:
5. The most likely bluff/weak holding line from a casino donk is a lead, whether it be on the flop turn or river. If you have a bad image and a player leads into you, you should call down light or raise at some point.

This cannot be stressed enough. Take this advice as gospel.


sounds exactly like the 25NL online games i am playing in at AP right now, too.

when you have 4 players over 45% vpip and a table number around 50%, you need to heed this advice…

i will re-read it now. gr8 post. thx for sharing.


massimo was right about everything! i played 1/2 lastnight from 9pm – 8am and walked away with $1400 profit. i played on 4 different tables, cashed in twice – the first time I had $400 infront of me, second time I got it up to $1400. would you believe i flopped 1 set? Also, I played in my biggest ever live tournament. charity, 116 players/donks, shortstack poker the whole way through, $120 invested, $1275 profit, split 1st/2nd with one other dude. it was great because it was for young kids hockey teams and 90% of the players/donks are the parents of these kids who knew almost nothing about poker. I think half of the young people who participated made it to the final table, with only a couple of geezers. top 6 or 7 were all under 25.

thanks massimo and FTR!


This thread motivated me to play live which I haven’t done in a long time. So I donked around 1/2 and my local casino. I would have to agree with all of this, but wow there were some bad players. I would agree that having a bad image is important and another way to get it is by straddling a couple of orbits and even a double straddle or 2 which they tell me is a blind raise (sounds even more reckless). Do that a couple of times and you get the crazy gambler image which is very helpful.


^^^^^

I did the same. It’s called a blind raise when UTG posting a bet larger than the big blind. I was making it $7 everytime I was UTG. Great for the image!


it’s called a "LIVE STRADDLE" and I do it almost exclusively, everytime!



BankItDrew wrote:
^^^^^

I did the same. It’s called a blind raise when UTG posting a bet larger than the big blind. I was making it $7 everytime I was UTG. Great for the image!

I’m curious what effect this had on the hands that played out while you had the straddle on?… Did the flop have fewer players than normal, more than normal?… Any details would be appreciated.



Quote:
I’m curious what effect this had on the hands that played out while you had the straddle on?… Did the flop have fewer players than normal, more than normal?… Any details would be appreciated.

The only thing it did was bloat the pot. You still had 5 and 6 way pots. It was sick, all night I don’t think I saw 1 heads up pot and maybe a couple of 3 way ones. It’s really a bad idea in a vacuum but its helpful in getting a bad image which I think makes it good. It also makes it interesting for you since your only playing 1 table and maybe 40 hands an hour it can get kinda boring so this way it helped me stay awake.


straddling is probably not needed imo and definitely a terrible move in a vaccum. Unless you get the whole table to agree with it, then it’s fine… it just essentially turns into a 2/5 game then.



BankItDrew wrote:
massimo was right about everything! i played 1/2 lastnight from 9pm – 8am and walked away with $1400 profit. i played on 4 different tables, cashed in twice – the first time I had $400 infront of me, second time I got it up to $1400. would you believe i flopped 1 set? Also, I played in my biggest ever live tournament. charity, 116 players/donks, shortstack poker the whole way through, $120 invested, $1275 profit, split 1st/2nd with one other dude. it was great because it was for young kids hockey teams and 90% of the players/donks are the parents of these kids who knew almost nothing about poker. I think half of the young people who participated made it to the final table, with only a couple of geezers. top 6 or 7 were all under 25.

thanks massimo and FTR!

Wow… very nice job.



Massimo wrote:
straddling is probably not needed imo and definitely a terrible move in a vaccum. Unless you get the whole table to agree with it, then it’s fine… it just essentially turns into a 2/5 game then.

Agreed. There are better ways to look the part of a typical donk. Show bluffs, hell talking a lot will even do it. I don’t mean banter either, just social chatter.

A straddle basically bloats the pot when you have any two cards OOP. Sounds like a recipe for disaster vs. a bunch of loose calling stations. Look at it this way, you are voluntarily paying another blind that nobody else is.

BTW, Great post Max!



Massimo wrote:
straddling is probably not needed imo and definitely a terrible move in a vaccum… it just essentially turns into a 2/5 or 5/10 game then.

+EV


Currently,i’m spending my weekends at local casino. Last saturday, i sit there the whole night ( from 4:pm to 6:am) and walked away with $2.3k profit while playing 2-4 no limit. Actually, i don’t really care about my table image just because a bunch of casino donks & gamblers really pay you off nicely even if you play like a rock for a long time. The basic strategy to crush casino poker is discipline, huge patience and controlled aggression.

my AA went all-in against KcQc on Kh Jc 4c flop and wonnnnnnnn total 1.5k. Twisted Evil ship it.


^^^^^

nicely done! what casino?


nova scotia casino, atlantic canada Laughing


BankItDrew wrote:
^^^^^

nicely done! what casino?


I bet the all you can eat seafood buffets are great.


7. When most players get sick of you, it’s likely that they won’t play back at you with draws. Instead, you’ll see them raise some marginal strength hand and go too far with it. The guy that’s been quiet and glaring at you is the most likely person to do this.

Some players won’t ever play back at you, they’ll just start calling you really light. If a player is trying to make his prescence known, and "aggressively" calling you, he is most likely doing this.

8. Most players are very tight reraisers, many of which will only reraise AA and KK, sometimes QQ. Almost no one reraises AK. Conversely, players will have a hard time putting you on anything but that range, so making small light reraises against casino nit donks can be a very effective strategy, especially because they will almost always 4-bet AA or KK.

a lot players may call your reraises a lot, but just give up if they don’t hit anything, so this strategy is also very effective against them.

Also a question for people with casino experience. I’ve always thought that squeezing should be a very good play in typical games, but it always seems that i get into bad situations when i do it. Either i get like 4 callers, or one caller who doesn’t fold (maybe this is just bad varience), either way, i am almost always getting a caller. Has anyone had good success with squeezing? It just seems to high varience for me to want to do it on a typical casino trip.



seoul_child1 wrote:
it’s called a "LIVE STRADDLE" and I do it almost exclusively, everytime!

When I played in Tunica you could straddle from any position with precedence given to position (ie. button had first option. if button declines then CO could straddle. if CO declined then HJ could, etc.) and the PF action started to the left of the straddler. So if you straddled from the CO the button was UTG PF. It was massively +EV to straddle. I was playing at a 2/5 game with a bunch of nits and would straddle 4-5/10 hands because no one else would. I don’t know how many times 4-5 people would call the straddle and I would just make it $50-60 to go and would just pick up the money or make a c-bet on the flop and take it down. Too bad it was a must move table and my next table wasn’t so passive, but it was a shit ton of fun.



Massimo wrote:
I’ve always thought that squeezing should be a very good play in typical games, but it always seems that i get into bad situations when i do it. Either i get like 4 callers, or one caller who doesn’t fold (maybe this is just bad varience), either way, i am almost always getting a caller. Has anyone had good success with squeezing? It just seems to high varience for me to want to do it on a typical casino trip.

Your table there will probably change for your next visit, but you can probably expect that the slower players won’t be fooled by the squeeze play. The guy’s thinking about his cards, not about the player on his left.


pretty sad that this weekend casino experience ended up losing 1.5 buy-in at 2-4 NL. In that situation, i raised $20 with TT UTG 1 ,got 4 callers behind , flopped top set and stacked off when another guy pushed over with nuts straight on the flop (WTF, he coldcalled 89 offsuit ) Twisted Evil


i squeeze a lot with ATC if everyone limps. if i have a good showdown image it seems to work a lot. re-raising as a squeeze probably doesnt work as well because as said before they are only thinking about their cards. If they raised with it or called a raise they want to see a flop and probably are not folding.


squeezing light doesn’t work assuming you already have aggro image, just do it once every so often and show it if it works out

agree with everything else, and lol the flush thing is so true live. when the third of a suit comes it instills the fear of god in anyone holding less than a flush. however, someone holding a 5-high flush thinks he’s got the nizzles!


updated


So how much did you win?


/agree with everything said. Sooooooooo exploitable.


Tried squeezing light with the tightest nit image in the world, and everybody called or reraised me, every time!


yeah, squeezing light at casino is not profitable. ppl are not scared of your bet at all if they are rich donks. Twisted Evil


i did pull off a massive bluff later though with a busted straight draw when the potential flush came on the rivarrr. Very Happy he laid down TPGK (KQ) face-up so proudly that I had to show that he just got bluffed by a rock.


nice bluff, Cool i have a question for you. Do you really enjoy your ROCK style at casino and crush your tables? i have no idea how much patience i need to beat casino donkey games. Sad


eugmac wrote:
i did pull off a massive bluff later though with a busted straight draw when the potential flush came on the rivarrr. Very Happy he laid down TPGK (KQ) face-up so proudly that I had to show that he just got bluffed by a rock.


I’m by no means an experienced live player – just a few sessions here and there at a local casino here.

Taking money from fish is always enjoyable, but god it’s trying on your patience to go a whole hour without playing a hand, and putting up with all the crap casino donkeys talk.

Still, the uber-low standard of play is always tempting.

Like for example when I squeezed with A4o out of pure boredom, I of course get called by loose guy who always plays Bust-a-Rock, the early posistion chronic limper just about leaps out of his chair as he shoves all his money in. Second limper also meekly calls for all his chips, I insta-fold and people are like OMG the rock raised then folded, then loose guy is like, "well this is the only way I’m gonna bust you guys" so he calls getting 3:1 with 86s! First limper of course had AA, god knows what limper 2 had.


i enjoyed my super tight aggressive style for a long time at my local casino and never had any image problem until recently i was pegged as the tightest player in the house whenever i played big games(2/4NL, 3/6 nl) against the same group mixed up with loose passive, tight aggressive and uber loose aggressive regulars.

other regulars except unknown donks started paying me less often cuz they know me very well and easily got away from hands i was involved in. yeah, i tried to shape up my image occasionally and bluff a few times in some small-medium pots but still got no actions when i had a big hand.Twisted Evil

Should i totally switch gear( perhaps even a complete overhaul) and play loose aggressive unpredictable poker to fix this problem?


too many absolutes



pokerfan wrote:

Should i totally switch gear( perhaps even a complete overhaul) and play loose aggressive unpredictable poker to fix this problem?

Widen up your 3-bet range a bit. Two and three barrel more. Don’t do anything really radicle other than abusing your fold equity in big pots every now and then. Eventually you’ll get enough distrust to get paid off.


should i limp in ace rag, low SC and one gappers on CO/BU when loose passive guys limp in ep? Is it +EV to limp in ace suited in early position when preflop/postflop games are very passive? Usually, i only limp in small -medium pairs and a few weak broadway suited cards like KJs, QJs,JTs occasionally. Sometimes, i want to signal them(the same group) with my loose preflop image but run into lots of tough situations with these marginal cards.Sad

Ironically, i really play my live games totally differently than online. Probably way too passive.


Fnord wrote:

pokerfan wrote:

Should i totally switch gear( perhaps even a complete overhaul) and play loose aggressive unpredictable poker to fix this problem?

Widen up your 3-bet range a bit. Two and three barrel more. Don’t do anything really radicle other than abusing your fold equity in big pots every now and then. Eventually you’ll get enough distrust to get paid off.



pokerfan wrote:
should i limp in ace rag, low SC and one gappers on CO/BU when loose passive guys limp in ep? Is it +EV to limp in ace suited in early position when preflop/postflop games are very passive? Usually, i only limp in small -medium pairs and a few weak broadway suited cards like KJs, QJs,JTs occasionally. Sometimes, i want to signal them(the same group) with my loose preflop image but run into lots of tough situations with these marginal cards.Sad

Ironically, i really play my live games totally differently than online. Probably way too passive.


Fnord wrote:

pokerfan wrote:

Should i totally switch gear( perhaps even a complete overhaul) and play loose aggressive unpredictable poker to fix this problem?

Widen up your 3-bet range a bit. Two and three barrel more. Don’t do anything really radicle other than abusing your fold equity in big pots every now and then. Eventually you’ll get enough distrust to get paid off.

I will raise with those in lp live.


Ace rag is a trash hand.

Against limpers who will fold when they miss, raising suited stuff behind them and following through a couple times to loosen them up is free money. Just don’t go crazy. Gear switching is good.


Also from what i’ve seen the best way to get noticed as a loose player is to raise to 8x the BB or 10x the BB (when there are like 3-6 limpers or something) twice in a row.


I assume that playing live everyone’s loosening up relative to the multi-tabling nits online.

Does KT live start to look like AJ online?

TPTK/overpair = da nuts vs anyone but the nits?

Do you run into a lot of raise/fold kind of players, or is it mostly loose passives?

I assume that I can’t run my typical multi-tabling 15/11 game live…should I be limping more from MP/LP if there’s tons of limpers and not much preflop raising? Does raising behind limpers from LP with hands like KTo become -EV if you’re going to end up in a 5-way raised pot?


my standard preflop raise is beween 6BB and 10BB in my local card room. if i have to play good hands out of blinds, i often raise loose limpers like 10BB. last night i popped into my local casino and chose a very soft 1/2 NL table. A bunch of unknown casino donks/gamblers really paid me off nicely even if i still played like a rock for hours. Yeah, its awesome table selection on my part Laughing

i just need to fix my image problem when playing against the same group in big games.



pokerfan wrote:
i just need to fix my image problem when playing against the same group in big games.

You know what they think of you. I think exploiting that is far easier than trying to build a new image. When someone calls you something, ANYTHING at the table, run with it. If someone else says it, it’s more credible than any crazy series of plays you could come up with that won’t spew more value than they’d be worth.


squeezing light doesn’t work assuming you already have aggro image, just do it once every so often and show it if it works out


{from NLH Strats}


This was a great thread to read, thanks!


The best image is one of having it when called!!

Be Careful

Peace,

Flow


i notice that live players tend to fold top pair hands very often when they are under constant pressure and face a few big bets. So we should use our tight clean image to our advantage and occasionally throw out some outrageous 2/3 barrel bluffs against normal players other than the loosest calling stations.


great post. alot of great tips.


Borgata Poker

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