Archives for January2013

Opening poker hands based on position in cash game NLH

With which poker hands should you open based on your position in a cash game?




Early position (UTG, UTG+1, UTG+2, UTG+3)

AJo UTG shoud be folded

Do not play speculative hands (suite or non suited connectors) that require good skills postflop

Simplify your postflop decisions by playing big pairs or AK, AQ, AJs : on the flop you either hit a A (or a K or Q with top kicker) and will be able to extract some value out of the 3 streets, if you do not hit the flop at best you try to check up to the showdown (or exit the hand)

Middle position (cut-off, cut-off -1, cut-off -2)

Do not play speculative hands (suite or non suited connectors) that require good skills postflop

Do not call a raise preflop with QJ, KJ, KQ, KT, QT (dominated hands) but depending on your position you can open with those

Late position (BB, SB and button)

Thinking about calling from the BB a raise by the cut-off with KJs : do not think about it

Do not call a raise preflop with QJ, KJ, KQ, KT, QT (dominated hands) but depending on your position you can open with those

Attempt playing speculative hands (suite or non suited connectors) if on only you are confident in not being raised (limp opportunity)

Focus on specific hands

JJ better plays in heads up, you should always raise with JJ preflop (or raise all-in if short stack). With JJ you have to pray for a flop with no overcards. Yet 43% of the time you will see at least 1 overcard (13% two and 1% three). If you add the texture (eg 2 hearts which can be also quite scary) you will be facing a scary flop with your JJ 66% of the time…A are totally scary (because they can have been played with almost any kicker), K and Q also but to a lesser extent. With 1 overcard you are either far ahead…or far behind. You need to extract as much money as possible from a player whith a smaller pair and avoid giving out too many blinds to a player who hit his flop. Best thing to do is not to raise heavily as this is a EV- move in the long run.

Poker bankroll rules & winrate goals in cash game NLH

Define your objectives and dedicate a specific bankroll for your cash game sessions




For a lot of players, myself included, beating the micro and small limits is like climbing the K2 (not to say the Everest) and these lines will hopefully help you in your journey.  If you are playing in NL2, NL5, NL10, or NL25 and do not seem to make any profit, win regularly or crush the limit please read further.


  • Aim for a winrate of 5BB (in small stakes) and 3BB (in middle stakes) every 100 hands (over > 50 000 hands played)
  • Make less mistakes than your opponents
  • Do not be surprised by the moves you will see
  • Play a solid poker, stick to it and be patient, you will win in the long run
  • Draw as much money into the pot as possible and as fast as possible (by value betting)


  • Never risk more than 5% of your bankroll in low stakes cash game
  • Meaning you should have 20 buy-ins to play at a given limit (eg 20 x 10$ at NL10)
  • Always sit a table with 100BB (unless if you adopt a short-stack strategy with 30BB and focus on pre-flop games – not a big fan an therefore will not detail it here
  • The number of needed buy-ins increases with the limit (never risk more than 3% of your bankroll, make it 30 to 40 buy-ins at NL100)

When you will climb from small to middle stakes limits you will be facing sone new and more complex moves at these limits and more skilled players. This means you will have to adapt your game always and mix up your play to balance your range. You need to start asking  » what does my opponent thinks i am holding? ». Too many players moving up from the low stakes only focus on their cards and what they believe their opponent is holding.


  • Aim for a winrate of 3 to 5BB every 100 hands (over > 50 000 hands played)


  • The number of needed buy-ins increases with the limit
  • Never risk more than 3% of your bankroll
  • Make it 30 to 40 buy-ins at NL100

3-bet and open raise spots in MTT

Which are the eligible spots to place an efficient 3-bet?







Several conditions must be met :

  • you have reached the middle or the end of an MTT
  • antes apply
  • you have the perfect stack to place a 4-bet all in
  • you are at an aggressive table where pots are often 3-bet preflop

If you have between 20 and 30 BB you should open raise  »light » in order to preserve your fold equity when you will 4-bet all in (e.g : with such a stack if you open raise to 2,1 BB and face a 3-bet of 5 BB a 4-bet all in from you will prove often very efficient since the size of your stack does not give your opponent the odds to call you with any 2 cards.

Do not open raise too often in early position at a table where stacks are deep because you will get called too often. But do open raise quite often from early position if stacks from the hijack to the BB range between 20 to 40 BB (calling will not be easy for them and they will hesitate to 3-bet you since you represent a good strength with your move).

Seemingly avoid opening on small stacks (between 10 and 20 BB) as they will not hesitate to 3-bet you all in.

LAG will work best than TAG in MTT







LAG (loose-aggressive) play will work best in a MTT (unless you are playing satellites to qualify to a high stake event which will lead you to adopt a TAG strategy considering the specificity of the pay-out structure – equal pay-out for all players who burst the bubble).

LAG style defines players who play a lot of hands (loose) and very aggressively (aggressive). Preflop those players will often opt for open raises, frequent 3/4 bets. Postflop strategy will involve a lot of calculated risks. Where some players would rather make calls and see another card, LAG players will prefer to make a raise and put the decision back on their opponent. LAG players do not care if they are called or if they miss their big draws from time to time because t the folds they tend to generate will more than compensate for it in the end.