Beating Small Stakes Cash Games - Part 1

The Sky Poker Community offers some great advice to both new players and those more seasoned at the tables. In a post written by one of our players, DOHHHHHHH explains his thoughts on how to beat the small stakes cash games here on Sky Poker. So, if you're finding it tough to beat the 2/4p tables, this could be the article for you...

Pre flop.

Our whole strategy at this level is going to be about value. We're not going to mix it up with players, readless, we're going to play solid poker, and exploit the mistakes our opponents make.

Without any sort of reads or anything, say you're sat with 5 unknowns, hand selection is key! I reckon a standard open raise size of 5xbb is about right. 20p from all positions with value hands assuming you're the first into the pot. This figure shouldn't be set in stone though. Some hands are easier to play post flop than others.

For example, If I have AA UTG, I want to play it, it's a clear open to 20p. I could have pocket 2s. Again, I want to play it because if I hit a set, I get paid well and win a big pot. However I'd rather not commit 5xbb UTG w/22 because most flops I'm just going to have to check or fold.

I can adapt my raise size, and open to 3xbb. THEY DON'T NOTICE!!! Without reads, this is fine, but if someone behind is aggressive and raising a lot, it's fine to limp in and call a raise, rather than raise and be re-raised off the pot without seeing a flop. Seriously, mixing your raise sizes up according to the strength of your hand is fine.

Another scenario, I have AA on the button and there’s a limp UTG. I'm making it 7xbb (28p). 2 limpers, it's going up to 38p, etc. We're looking to pot build with value hands from start to finish.

Beating Small Stakes - Diagram 1

Here I've got a value hand in late position. After a couple of limpers I'm looking to bang it right up. None of this 3x + 1 per limper, just bash the raise button till you get a big number and get building the pot.

Pairs in limped pots?

I really don't think there's any value in raising limpers with hands that aren't going to hit many flops. The pots build fast at NL4. Limping with pairs, even as strong as 9s or maybe 10s is fine in limped pots.

It's also important to look at stack sizes of opponents. If there’s a raise and a call in front, it looks like a great spot to see a flop with 22/33/44/55/66/77. You really need the players to be at least 50xbb deep to call here. We are never going to win the pot unless we hit a set, because our strategy post flop is all about value town, rather than bluffing and taking pots down uncontested.

Beating Small Stakes Cash - Diagram 2

Looking at the above hand, the stacks are such that if I hit a set on the flop, my opponents have a lot of money behind, so I have the implied odds to make the call and win a big pot.

3-bet sizing.

Pre flop 3-bet sizing is really important at NL4. Our 3-bet value range readless is going to be fairly tight. JJ/QQ/KK/AA/AK. Similar to unraised pots, bigger is better. You can't worry about 3-betting AA big, and making everyone fold. As that is going to happen. It happens at every level, NL4 to NL1000. You just have to get used to it. Never worry about "scaring people off". We're betting for value constantly. Bigger bets = more value.

The tendencies of NL4 players are to see flops, they hate to fold. So we can use this in our favour by charging them more, hence winning more money when we have the best hand. Our hand selection is solid, so we will have the best hand most times!!

Beating Small Stakes Cash - Diagram 3

Really simple spot, and this is just going over basics, but readless we've got a value hand that we're willing to get in pre flop and on a lot of flops, so bigger sizing = more chance of doing so.

It's also important to look at stack sizes when 3-betting. If your opponent has a £1.50 stack, and you have aces facing his raise, you can 3-bet smaller, as here we really do not want to scare him off, and we don't need to raise so big to get all his money in by the end of the hand. A normal 3-bet size from maybe 12p to 32p is fine against short stacks with value hands. Again, they will not notice.

Next: Beating Small Stakes Cash Games - Part 2

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