« Kevin Ngo

Poker Sess.21 - To Cash Games

10 Dec 2014

Launch all Mozillians to PDX for Mozlandia, an all-hands work week. A bit weird to have a hotel in your hometown, but it helped with the experience. Being downtown and having the poker itch, I played several nights at the Encore Poker Club. Since the socializing over swanky dinners went late into the nights, I didn’t have the time commitment to register for any tournaments. Now that I’ve built a bankroll of over 20 buyins (+$4000), I’ve been planning on giving cash games a serious go.

Cash Games vs. Tournaments

Cash games inherently have less variance and are less swingy. Whereas each tournament is a betting event which in itself contains lots of coinflips and more presence of luck, each hand in a cash game is a betting event. You will see your returns from good play more quickly in cash games (although you will see your ruin from bad play as well). It is not fun not cashing ten tournaments in a row.

Cash games provide more room for growth. Whereas with tournaments, you are limited to the schedules, and it is difficult to find larger games, there are cash games of all limits all over. From $1/$2, I’d hopefully eventually be able to build a roll to jump to $2/$5.

Cash games are also more flexible. I can jump into a game any time even after midnight. With tournaments, I have to get to the club at 11am or 1pm or 7pm or whatever.

Cash games take a different kind of skill. They have more postflop play with the deeper stacks whereas tournaments are more preflop play with the decreasing stack-to-pot ratios. Cash games make more use of reads are you are more likely to play with your table for increased periods of time whereas in tournaments people are busting out and tables are shuffling.

Plus, it’s just fun to get out of the tournament grind and try something new.

Encore Sessions

I went up +$545 the first session. There was an old Asian gambler at the table that I keyed into all night, I had value bet my hands mercilessly. I have never seen so much action at a table.

The second night, I went up +$366. The action was still alive. Aggression was rampant. I got into a 5-bet pot with A8s to hit a full house. Later, I lost a large hand where I squeezed an UTG raiser with AKo, only to check-call and check-fold a missed flop.

The third night, after Mozilla decided to surprise the crew with a surprise Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at a venue I used to live across the street from, I went up +$149. I saw the old Asian guy again! I rushed to the table to try to get a seat directly on his left. Although later, I was down over two buy-ins after making a loose call with a flush draw and two overcards on the turn, but I tripled up with JJ all-in preflop against AK and AJ to hit a full house on the flop.

Final Table Sessions

After all the action at the Encore, I took it home to the Final Table Poker Club. Cash games didn’t fare well there. My first session there, I went down -$280, where I felt myself becoming tilted and too aggressive. I became too used to the action at the Encore and didn’t adjust well enough for the loose-passives.

Session 5

My second session at the Final Table, I went down -$95. I lost an all-in preflop with AQo against AJo and A9o where I limp-backraised. A 9 hit on the river and I took a small sidepot for a net loss. There was a lady who I know could read me for a TAG and was floating my cbets, I should be able to adjust to those who are playing back.


With the switch to cash games, I’m trying to adjust to playing less urgently like I would in tournaments. That means overall tighter play and more finely-tuned postflop decision-making according to reads.