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The Disciplined Degenerate

A spot where I try to make sense of a game that rarely makes any sense
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It's always interesting for me to see the different strategies being played out during a cash game session. You have all these different people from around the world, all with different backgrounds, skill levels and ideas behind building their bankroll and grinding it out day after day.

For those cash game players who read this, you'll understand how you start to recognize various screen names that you battle with day after day. You'll also notice that these players will very rarely interact with each other because it's about concentrating on the grind.

After a while, you get a keen sense of who's someone to avoid and who's someone to isolate. Remember those grinders? You most likely want to avoid mixing it up with them. And the ones you want to isolate? I find often times it's the players who are trying to play ABC poker and make the least mistakes under a defined system.

Seems counter-intuitive, right? Go after the person making the least mistakes? In this case, you absolutely want to go after those players in a cash-game setting because their predictability is what makes them stand out. Often times I wonder if those players would rather go broke losing the right way as opposed to winning pots outside of their comfort zone.

Part of the problem sometimes might be in the fact that they're just transitioning from tournament style poker into cash games in order to try and weed out some of the variance that comes with playing a tournament-heavy schedule. As we all know, tournament style and cash-game style are two wildly different styles.

However, I just think the biggest issues for those players are either ego or fear, and maybe a little bit of both. Certainly there's a fear factor with trying to play outside of the percentages and really trying to earn pots with less than premium hands, but it's a skill that players will need to develop in order to become consistent winners. But ego is the more pressing issue to have.

If your ego can't handle the idea of playing outside of what's considered a ideal system, then you need to re-evaluate your poker outlook. These are the same people that berate others in the chat box for having played a hand a certain way. I'd be willing to bet that many of those same players are losing ones despite knowing how to play an ideal way.

So, my word of advice to those new to cash games or struggling in cash games is to re-evaluate how predictable you might actually be. Just about everything we do in life is done by a optimized routine, but I wouldn't recommend playing poker this way.

Good luck at the tables!

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