As of November 2021, the APT Forum is closed to new posts. Like with many online forums, usage has decreased in recent years. All previous posts are still available.

$1/$3 live cash game against fish and gamblers. What's expected?


Hi guys,
I play a 1/3 NL live cash game with really fishy players. It is not uncommon for 5 or 6 people to limp into a pot without anyone making a raise. In general, my strategy is to play a bit tighter and to punish the limpers with a pot sized bet. I have found however, that the raise doesn't really seem to thin the herd too much and I will often still have 2 or 3 callers. In general when this happens I am aggressive with my C-Bet and do fairly well.

My question is, with my tight aggressive strategy, I will slowly grind upwards with 30-50$ pots, but then one of the villains in the home run derby will smash the flop and I will lose 100$.

Is this just to be expected? I don't mind so much getting aces run down by kings or queens, but I really don't like when a fish calls 10-4 off then flops the boat.

Also, Is there a better way to play against these fish? It seems like they limp and flat call as though they are just paying an Ante to play.

I have tried to bet even larger, but if I get the first fish to call, then they all call and my equity plummets.

Thanks in advance


  • broadshatb

    When you're IP: 4x BB + BB for every limper
    When you're OOP: 5x BB + BB for every limper

    You're on the BTN with TT
    4 limps to you
    IP (4 x 3) = 12
    Limpers (4 x 3) = 12
    Raise = 24
    Play around and see if 24 will get the pot heads up around 1/2 the time (the other half is a mix of everyone folds or 2 ppl call). People will fold all kinds of crazy strong hands like AQo, JJ etc.

    You're in the SB with TT
    4 limps to you
    OOP (5x3) = 15
    Limpers (4x3) = 12
    Raise = 27
    Live cash is a funny beast. People didn't drive an hour to the casino to fold preflop. This is where you can make plenty of $ in small pots and get out of the way if the flop goes 5 ways, you have to be pretty comfortable laying top TPTK/overpair when there is plenty of action on a wet board.

  • think
    edited January 2020

    The thing about that is that there's one or two short stacks in the group a lot of times.

    And some rooms have restricted buy-ins -- $1/2 with a $40 min/$80 max buy-in is an example, and that's at one of the biggest live poker rooms around (100+ tables). People might win their way to 100 BB, but most of your opponents will be sitting there with 15-40 BB. And if you're not comfortable buying in at mid stakes ($5/5 with $500 buy-ins), everyone at your low stakes table who isn't on a winning streak at the moment is going to be playing a short stack.

    So, that with a $4+$1+$1 rake ($1 jackpot drop, $1 turn)'re actually trying to play hands in which you get the money in, because a sequence like RFI/V-call [FLOP] c-bet/V-fold generates a pot which is $7+$7+$1 (RFI, SB fold, BB call, for instance) = $15 total minus $5 drop= $10.

    No wonder a certain poker coach calls these "rake traps." I mean, who doesn't love risking $7+$8= $15 (RFI+c-bet) to MAYBE finish the hand with $3 in actual WINNINGS (i.e.: how much your stack actually increased from start of hand to finish)? With no rake (or seat charge only), your winnings on that sequence would be double.

    And a lot of people at these places play the min buy-in (20 BB) and then dwindle down waiting to shove. So you're up against short stack poker, and believe it or not, their strategy just happens to not be terrible, since it is hyper-aggressive and based on big card/pair value and fold equity (even if they may not realize it). Of course, if the rake wasn't there, you'd be maybe playing against their range pretty well, since there's (sometimes) a little fit-and-fold playing happening on their end.

  • think
    edited January 2020

    And to address the original dilemma:

    So let's say you have that same problem (sticky limpers), but one or more of them is on a short stack. You're still trying to punish limpers, so you raise to $20+. Whichever one of the limpers is short stacked and looking at a pocket pair is going to re-shove, or they all fold and you win the blinds and limps minus the preflop rake ($2).

    This means you either a) risked $20 to win $6 or so, or
    b) are faced with a ~$25-$45 all in to retain the equity of the $20 you put in.

    Did I mention that your opponent gets to act last here (folding and losing a limp or shoving with pretty decent pot odds)? So you're effectively saying, "which one of the FOUR of you has a hand you feel like going to battle with right about now?" The presence of small stacks means that implied odds cease to exist.

    That's the thing -- it's like you're playing the entire table, but there is a ceiling on the upside. What are the effective stacks? It depends if 15 BB or 100 BB makes the call. So which range do you go to battle with -- big cards or spec hands that flop hard? Can you still raise with 67s as a "bluffing hand?" Is ATo not good enough to play for a 20BB all-in that one of 4 limpers played back at you? And if you're thinking about folding both of those, what are you playing -- AQo/KJs/77+ -- what is that, an 8% range?

    And is 77 even good anymore -- you're a long way away from getting odds to set mine.

    "4-way limp...too much action, I'm outta here..."

    Don't forget, if you limp behind, you're doing the same thing they are -- how many of those 4 limpers are sitting there with small or mid pocket pair looking to hit a set or fold, or with "anything suited" going, "I just hit 2 pair, maybe I'll see this one through?" So how does your tight-is-right strategy play when you finally hit TPTK and get the money in?

    I actually think there is an edge to be had here (range advantage in kicker battles, for instance) but that the flop rake kind of kills it.

Sign In to comment.