Most beginning poker players start playing cash games right away because they have no clue as to what they are doing wrong. While it is true that one won’t learn the statistical odds of drawing trips or straights in limit poker quickly, there is still more than enough knowledge of the game to know that in the off-season of holdem there are many things to learn. Although I was relatively late in jumping from cash games to tournaments, I happened to enjoy a nice turn around recently as I finally caught up with the fifteen years of tournament play that had accumulated in me.
The first couple of years I spent playing mostly NL Hold’em on-line was relatively boring. Although I did eventually win a small pot with a bet of 0.25$ on the river with a set of four queens, it wasn’t something that would get me excited. About half way through the tournament I realized that I was making some bad mathematical decisions and I decided that it was time to start playing for real money. When I started to play for real money again though, I realized that I made the mistake of not keeping detailed notes on my opponents, which was so easy to do in the cash games.
After quickly catching up to his game, I introduced myself to block party dewabet and I learned much about how to play that game. Learning through experience at the same time I realized that besides the big hands, which is the foundation of the game, there are still other important aspects of poker. It is during these tournaments that one begins to play for higher stakes and to take more risks. During the first year, 2007, I barely won any money and still had not one good hand to show for it. It was at this point when I started to lose a lot that I decided it was time to take a small step back and return to the cash games.
I had already played low stakes heads up no limit for several years, so I had a lot of material to work with. I gradually built my understanding of the game while slowly moving up the stakes. I spent time playing $2 tournaments, $3 tournaments, and finally the $4+$2 tournaments. Although I am probably one of the less experienced players at the moment, I have made some pretty good wages in the low limits. Overall I think that I have improved my game a lot and I will be better next time in cash or heads up games. I also learned to play against better opponents and used this to my advantage in the later stages of the major tournaments.
One of the reasons I like cash games is that the online poker rooms will often offer you a seat to a cheap poker tournament such as a freeroll. You can earn a seat to a tournament for as little as 2 cents. You can also use your phone to do the same thing. As long as you have a service plan that will cover you in case of network losses, you can play on many tables at the same time for little or no money.
In case you were wondering, I did not win a WSOP table at all but I have risen to the top a couple times now in SNG tourneys. I mostly play mixed games especially LAG games but I also play some HORs and TOSs. Not enough to be called a professional by any means but you can say these have provided me with a profitable month in the past. In case you want to see how you too can jump to a higher level particularly in tournaments, I recommend you seek out Team Poker Watchdog’s website for an FREE trial for their “Poker Raider” software.