3 common mistakes tournament players make when moving to cash games

To balance the variance we face in multi-table tournaments (MTTs), many tournament players add some cash games into their weekly grind. After all, there’s less variance in cash games.

But if you don’t make adjustments and simply continue to play the exact same way in cash games as you do in tournaments, you mind you end up swinging in the wrong direction more than ever.

Bayley on the grind

BBZ coach Bertie “bigstealer” Bayley was a sit & go specialist and tournament crusher with $1.44 million in cashes, according to PocketFives. But by 2020, he’d grown tired of tournaments.

“I’ve always been someone who struggled with being told I had to be somewhere at a certain time,” he told us in this interview. “I really admire Lena900, C.Darwin, Pads, and all these guys who can just turn up and do it all the time. But I got bored and that’s why I switched from tournaments to cash full time.”

Bayley may have already been well-versed in cash games when he made the switch, but looking back now, he knows he made some big mistakes in the early days. “There was a lot of freestyling,” he says in the Bigstealer Cash Bundle. “I had some friends that I talked cash strategy with, but I was nowhere near a good player.”

But what are some common mistakes tournament players make when moving to cash games?

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Calling too many 3-bets

“I was basically opening an awful lot of suited connectors and suited one-gappers, then always calling 3-bets,” says Bayley. “In really big pots I had a lot of trouble folding if I had anything close to a blocker.”

The hand–one of many Bayley covers in his bundle–begins with him opening to 2.5x with

8


9


from early position (UTG/lojack) in a 6-max game. He gets called by the cutoff before the button squeezes to almost 12 big blinds.

“This hand here is just a flat out fold,” says Bayley upon review. “A couple of things are really terrible about this hand. A large proportion of the button’s range is ace-king, while the cutoff is likely to have some sort of pair. If that pair doesn’t already crush us, it will block a bunch of our straight outs. So

8


9


is going to perform very poorly out of position.”

According to Bayley, suited connectors, generally speaking, don’t perform brilliantly out of position in cash games and raked environments. “Unless you have very little domination from interaction with your opponent’s cards–i.e. very small suited connectors–then suited connectors like to fold against 3-bets because these hands like to see turns and rivers, which you just don’t get to do very often.”

In the hand, both Bayley and the cutoff call and the flop comes nine-high, giving Bayley top pair. He ultimately gets stacked by the button’s

Q


Q


.

“When I first started playing cash games I’d make a mistake early on in a hand and end up losing a stack,” says Bayley. “The butterfly effect from that decision is so important. You can just fold and only lose 2.5 big blinds.”

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Not adjusting your bet sizes

Tournament stack sizes are always fluctuating and this leads to a complex bet-sizing strategy. The shallower stack sizes are, the lower our stack-to-pot ratio becomes, and therefore we often opt for small bet sizes as there is less room to manoeuvre post-flop.

In cash games, however, stack sizes tend to be either deep (100 big blinds, a standard buy-in) or very deep (when players have increased their stacks during the session).

So, large bet sizes become more frequent in order to build big pots when you’re in a favourable position. “How do I get the most value now?” says Bayley in the video.

The example he shows is a hand in which he admits he should definitely have opted for a bigger c-bet sizing.


Tip: Check out our interview – Cash game coach Bertie ‘bigstealer’ Bayley will unclog your brain


The hand begins with a 2x open from the cutoff which Bayley 3-bets to 7x on the button with

K


K


. The cutoff makes the call and the flop comes

10


5


5


. It checks to Bayley and he continues for 25% pot.

“This is a good example of me just blindly betting the flop small and hoping for the best without having a clear understanding of what range vs range looks like,” he says. “I get absolutely punished.”

The turn is the

6


and Bayley bets ~80% pot when checked to. The cutoff calls and the river is the

9


. It checks to Bayley again and he bets 75% pot only for his opponent to then shove. Bayley calls with his overpair and his opponent shows

6


6


for a turned full house.

“[My sizing on the flop] is absolutely never used,” says Bayley, showing the solver solution. “When the OOP player can have stronger hands we can’t be as aggressive with our pocket jacks, pocket queens, and 10X, because we’re going to value-cut ourselves into a re-jam when we bet 75% pot. But 25% of the OOP player’s range is underpairs to a ten, 11% is top pair, and 3.5% is trips.”

What does our value with

K


K


want to achieve right now? It wants to make the most money possible from a range which is so underpair heavy.

“Blanket small sizings for the sake of simplicity can result in EV loss if you aren’t disciplined,” Bayley concludes.

BBZ & bigstealer Cash Game Deep Dive

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New BBZPoker cash game coach Bertie “bigstealer” Bayley reverses roles with head coach Jordan “bigbluffzinc” to review his cash game database & break down some hands he played at 200NL (1hr10mins).

Underestimating your opponents

Cash games are generally considered tougher than tournaments. According to BBZ coach Jonathan “apestyles” Van Fleet, it’s all down to the recreational players.

“The idea of turning $10 into $10,000 sounds pretty sweet,” he says in ‘4 lessons from the Apestyles interview with Adam22’. “That big payoff will always attract recreational players, so MTTs will always be softer [than cash].”

Yet many tournament players still underestimate their opponents when switching to cash games, as at low stakes, they’re used to playing against inferior players. This might not be the case in the cash games you jump into, which are generally more reg-heavy.

Keep studying hard to ensure you never become an inferior player yourself.

Product thumbnail

Bigstealer Cash Bundle

$99.99

The Bigstealer Cash Game Bundle is the perfect tool to help you make a successful transition into NL Holdem cash games. With an extensive and successful background in most NL Holdem formats, and one of the top regulars in today’s Zoom500 games, Bertie “Bigstealer” Bayley is perfectly equipped to help identify common mistakes he sees from new and experienced cash game players alike. The Bigstealer Bundle brings you comprehensive GTO lessons to apply to your game immediately, in-depth conversations with tonkaaaap and bigbluffzinc, as well as an unfiltered live-play session so you can see every move today’s best cash pros are making.

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