By: Kent Anderson


Unbelievable, you just made the call of a lifetime with ten high. $1.3 million is yours, well its probably more like $700,000 after Uncle Sam and his goons at the IRS take their piece, but who cares. Money baby! This rocks! You’re gonna buy? The angelic voice of the spokes model host reels you back to the yacht. “How did you do it?” Good question, how did you do it?


Amidst your euphoria the synapses are about to connect, the answer’s on the tip of your tongue, when BAM! A ringing telephone showers sobriety on this fantastical daydream. You’re actually at work. This definitely does NOT rock.


To hope is to dream; unfortunately neither hope nor dreams get it done on the felt. There are numerous paths into televised, big money tournaments. The reality, though, is that irrespective of your domination of tournament poker fantasies you will most likely find yourself sitting at a cash game on line or at a casino en route to greatness. The game we see on television looks remarkably similar to what you’re playing on Saturday night, but it’s not. Don’t drink the punch and definitely don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.


There is a living and plenty of loot to be made at the no limit cash game. The problem for a lot of folks is they bring tournament final table urgency to this endeavor. The big moves we see pre flop on TV are a recipe for disaster at a cash game. In a tournament the structure and time pressure force the action and create urgency in certain scenarios. At cash games there is always another hand. Write that inside your wallet, those five words will save and thus earn you more money than any book or video promising pie in the sky. THERE IS ALWAYS ANOTHER HAND. I’m guessing you wouldn’t flip coins on the corner for one, two or four hundred dollars, so don’t move in pre flop with your suited royalty or big pocket pair for similar odds. It only takes a few big pots to make a session productive and those victories can come with any two cards in the hole.


All AcesBig moves in tournaments pre flop work because of increasing blinds and the ticking clock. In a cash game those same moves may just inspire the big stack or a player with a lot of gamble to take a swing and get lucky. Don’t risk an entire session’s profit. Poker is and should be fun, but consistently making a profit is hard work as well. The answer and solution will be different for everybody at every session. Do you need to make rent? Are you running warm with a big stack? Did a large inheritance just land on you?


There is no absolute answer and anybody who reckons they have one should be drawn and quartered. The key is to understand the risk and reward. The player who laments his incessant “bad” luck with pocket jacks probably misplays them. There are no guarantees on the felt, only odds, and if there were we would have no desire to sit down. Have the courage to get away from big hands when you know you’re beat. Successful players know when the jig is up and every player knows when they’re forcing square pegs into round holes. You are your biggest opponent. It’s never too late to make a good decision, until next time…

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