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9 Reasons you lose at Cash Game Poker

One question I see posted in the forums a lot is, "Why do I lose at cash games"? Of course, there are usually several reasons why a specific player loses, but almost all of them are avoidable and correctable. In this article I decided to write about 9 of the most common reasons players lose in Texas Hold'em poker cash games.


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1 - Poor game selection


There is a popular saying amongst poker players: If you’re the 10th worst poker player in the world and you sit with the 9 people worse then you, you will make money. If you’re the 10th best poker player in the world and play with the 9 players better then you, you will lose money… possibly not over a short period, but in the long run you will lose. Leave your ego at the door and look for soft games!


2 - You are too passive


Winning Hold'em players are usually tight aggressive or loose aggressive. It’s very hard to play a winning poker style where you are mainly checking and calling, instead of betting and raising. By betting you have two ways to win, you make the best hand or your opponent folds. By checking and calling you only have one way to win, at showdown.


3 - You are too aggressive


There are times in poker when you must exercise pot control. It is all well and good being aggressive but there are times when you want to get to showdown as cheaply as possible. In general, make big pots with big hands. Make small pots with small hands.


4 - You stack off with one pair


Too often I see players who are incapable of folding there one pair (even if it is top pair!) on the river when both the straight and flush got there. If your opponent is betting into your or raising your bet on the later streets he is screaming “I beat one pair, call me and I’ll take your chips”


5 - You don’t isolate the fish


In cash games the fish are generally players who have a high VPIP (Volume put in the pot – IE they play lots of hands) and have a low preflop raise. This means these players are usually open limping their hands. You should isolate these players in position and fire almost every flop. Usually they will fold preflop or to your continuation bet on the flop. If you find that they just keep calling you down you will have to adjust your play a little and only do this with the stronger hands.


6 - You don’t steal the blinds enough


If you look at the biggest winners in cash games, they play very tight in early position and very loose in late position. It is not uncommon to see big winners have attempt to steal blind ratios in the range of 40% (When the button or cutoff is unraised before them, they will put in a raise a high percent of the time) by playing in late position your will be last to act on each street giving you a huge advantage.


7 - You are too tight


Excessively tight players do not get enough action from smart opponents. Good players play hands with high implied odds (small pocket pairs, suited connectors) and try to crack the tight player’s monster hands without investing much money. The only edge a tight player gains is by playing fish that don’t notice how tight he is actually playing. At the higher limits the big winners tend to be loose aggressive players. Most of the “nits” seem to be marginal winners.


8 - You call too much preflop


By raising and 3betting preflop you get the betting lead. By taking the initiative preflop most players will check to you and you can either continuation bet or take a free card. By calling raises preflop you limit yourself to check folding a lot when both you and your opponent miss the flop.


9 - You don’t 3bet enough


A lot of online cash games now play relatively loose and aggressive with players raising a lot in late position. You can exploit this by 3betting them light, knowing that most of the time they do not have a strong enough hand to call your re-raise.


The Basics of Value Betting

Short Term EV

5 Mistakes When Playing Pocket Aces

Playing Irrational Players

Thinking Through Your Poker Hands

Playing Your Draws Aggressively

Basic Bankroll Management

Common Beginner Mistakes in Poker, Part 1

9 Reasons You Lose At Cash Games

NLHE Table Selection

Playing Middle Suited Connectors

Playing OverPairs

Avoiding Tilt

6 Tips for Beginners

Playing The Turn in NLHE

Tournament Play - Playing The Shortstack

Common Beginner Mistakes in Poker, Part 2