Top Six Tips for Beating Low Stakes Cash Games

All About Poker

Low limit games aren't glamorous. They won't make you rich. But they are everywhere, and the players who play in them are usually quite bad. Walk into any cardroom in the world and you're going to find some kind of low-limit cash game -- usually 1-2 No-Limit Holdem or 2-4 or 3-6 Limit Holdem. But despite the bad players that populate these games, they can be hard to beat because of the high relative rake and the large number of opponents that call to see the flop.

Here are some tips for beating these low-limit games till you can get your bankroll and skill level to a point where you can move up in limits.

1. Play ABC poker -- Fancy moves only work on thinking opponents. Your low-limit opponents will be spending all their time thinking about their own hand and not paying attention to whatever story you're trying to tell them. Bet up your good hands and fold your bad ones and save your big moves for bigger games.

2. Play Tight -- The rake is a much larger percentage of the final pot in low-limit games than it is in bigger games. You're better off playing very few hands than splashing around and winning a bunch of heavily raked pots. Combine the extra rake with the possibility of losing and it can be very difficult to win when playing loose in these smaller games.

3. Don't Bluff as Much -- The players at these levels didn't come to the cardroom to fold.

You'll notice a lot more people both seeing the flop and staying to the river. if they've caught any piece. Sometimes they'll call out of curiosity even if they haven't caught anything. Obviously, bluffing at people who will call with almost anything is a recipe for disaster.

4. Concentrate on Reading Your Opponents --  Low-limit players give off a lot of physical tells so you should be able to read them very easily.

Watch them as they watch the flop and you should have a good idea of how it hit their hand. But remember, tells only reveal how they feel about their hand, not the actual value. Some people at this level have very little idea how to play poker and you may be surprised by what they think a good hand or flop is.

5. Don't Blame Your Opponents If You Lose -- I can guarantee you it's not their fault. Or as my father used to say, "Even a blind chicken finds the corn once in a while." Or even better, as my wife says, "Even an idiot can have an overpair." If you're not beating the game consistently, it's because you're not using the right strategy, not because, as I've heard many a losing player say, "I can't beat these bad players." If you can't beat bad players, what makes you think you're going to be able to beat good ones?

6. Don't Play Against Good Players -- If there are more than one or two other good players at your table, leave and find a different game. You can't beat the rake and a table full of good players. If you want to stay and gain experience against the good players for a cheap price, that's fine. Just don't think you're going to be able to make a profit.