Playing Cash Tables
Some people get a little carried away when playing cash tables, either playing above their limit or seeing high initial wins as being easily convertable into longterm wins.
Firstly in cash, more than anywhere else Bankroll Management is of major importance.
Another major thing is expectation.
If you are say at say a $3/$6 table and suddenly you have made $100 in 20 mins, this doesnt mean this is sustainable. It isnt. Plain and simple.
Cash tables are a long term thing, where you need to play 100's of thousands of hands to produce a genuine hourly rate. (NB Hourly rate is your profit per hour and how all cash players rate their performance)
Good players can aim for a realistic return of 1BB an hour. (one big bet an hour) IE in this case at the $3/$6, a good player can expect to average $6 an hour. If someone says to you, well I make $50 an hour at these tables, then the truth of the matter is that they have probably not played more than 10 hours of cash poker in their entire life.
Another funny thing in relation to this accurate expectation is when you are playing say a 25cents/50cents table and someone says, 'I make a living doing this'. Well what they are saying is that they live off 50cents an hour! (and that is assuming they are an excellent player) Obviously their ego has got the better of them.
Let me clarify a little terminology for you. When you see BB written it is easy to think arrh 'Big Blind'. Well it really depends on what you are playing. Probably the majority of serious cash players play limit games, and in this case the BB stands for 'Big Bet' not big blind.
For example :-
In say a $3/$6 limit game, the blinds are $1 and $3, not $3 and $6 as you might think. The small bet (the amount bet pre-flop and on the flop) is $3, whereas the Big Bet (the bet on the turn, and on the river) is $6.
If this was No Limit $3/$6 would refer exactly to the Small Blind and Big Blind.
To try to merge these two, it is usually accepted that 1 Big Bet is the equivalent to 2 big blinds in No Limit. This is mainly so if people refer to someone as winning 'x Big Bets' an hour (or per hundred hands) then you can judge No Limit and Limit by the same terminology.
Key to winning :-
There is one single key to winning cash poker tables. That is to minimise the amount lost on losing hands, and maximise the amount won on winning hands. How exactly this is done is a much bigger subject of course, but always have this philosophy in the back of your mind when playing. It is a philosophy that is the fundamental key to all limit games, and naturally it has a degree of applicability in No Limit as well.
In the long term getting involved too heavy at the 'big bets' stage (turn and river) is going to cost you if you are calling down on marginal hands. You need to get into the habit of dropping hands early rather than late, while at the same time enlarging the pot as much as possible when you are in front. This may be done by several methods, but one is by check-raising the first BB (ie the turn), with strong hands. Often you will get a 'save loss of face' call by inexperienced limit players.
Software like Poker Tracker can be useful as this will automatically track a stat called PTBB (Poker Tracker Big Bets per 100 hands played). A PTBB of above 1.8 is very good. IE you are making an average profit of 1.8 Big Bets for every 100 hands dealt.