Do you want to exploit your opponents at the online cash game tables? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss some of the best exploitative plays you can use when you’re playing online cash games. One of the best ways to make money playing poker is by recognizing your opponents mistakes and taking advantage of them. Even in the era of Game Theory Optimal poker, exploitative poker strategy is still profitable for players willing to put in the time to study. Regardless of what poker site you play on, knowing how to exploit opponents will give you an edge on the virtual felt.
Online Cash Game Exploit #1: Overbet Versus The Big Blind Caller
Let’s say you raise and the big blind player calls you. The board comes somewhat coordinated and connected like 8♦-5♦-3♣.
Your opponent checks to you. You continuation bet and your opponent calls.
Pause and ask yourself: what does your opponent have? Perhaps a better question to ask yourself is: what do they not have?
They likely would have raised with a set or two pair on this board. Your opponents would likely do this to simultaneously protect their hand and get value from it. Calling on this board is dangerous. If they call out of position then check the turn, we could easily check behind and give ourselves two cards. It’s easier to catch up to their monstrous made hand if we get two more cards on this coordinated board.
For these reasons, many players will raise their best combinations on this flop and will also reraise preflop with their overpairs. By calling on this board, your opponent generally has mediocre pairs. Considering your opponent’s range, you should make exploitative large bets when you’re bluffing. If your opponent ever catches you, then you can start overbetting with your overpairs and other strong combinations. If the flush draw comes in, you can consider betting exploitatively because your opponent will not have the flush the majority of the time.
The world is your oyster in this position. Your opponent has capped their range and usually has garbage pairs. You can do a lot to ruin their day once you seize upon that understanding.
Hand Quiz: Flopping The Nuts Against The Big Blind
You are playing in a $22 buy-in, online 6-max tournament with a stack of 24,935 and the blinds at 125/250. It is five-handed and you raise 500 UTG holding J♣-10♣. Only the big blind calls.
The flop comes Q♥-9♣-8♦ giving you the stone cold nuts and the big blind checks.
What Do You Do?
A) Check B) Bet 250 C) Bet 500 D) Bet 750
Online Cash Game Exploit #2: Bet Thinly On The Turn
Similarly, let’s imagine you’re playing against an unimaginative player who can’t turn pairs into bluffs. If you’re bankroll conscious and playing lower stakes, you will face a number of players like this. They will play aggressively when they’re in position, but out of position they will try to keep the pot small at all costs.
Imagine you raise with A♠-9♠ and the big blind calls. The board comes 10♥-9♥-4♣. The big blind checks to you. You bet. Your opponent calls.
The turn is the 2♣ and your opponent checks to you.
After the turn, this situation is similar to the spot discussed earlier in this piece. Your opponent would have likely three-bet preflop with pocket jacks and better. There’s a good chance they would have raised two pair or a set on this flop, which means they most likely have tens, nines, flush draws, or straight draws.
Versus a tactical thinking opponent, betting again on the 2♣ turn could be a mistake. If they have a read that you like to value bet thinly on turns, then they could use that read to turn a number of hands into bluffs.
If your opponents are not particularly creative or aggressive, you can get away with a thin exploitative bet on this turn. You will still get called by all the flush draws and straight draws as well as weaker nines. By recognizing that you are ahead, you can exploit your opponent’s calling range and extract value.
Such exploitative play also makes the river easier to navigate. If the draws come in and your opponent leads into you, then it is probable they hit their hand. If they check instead, it’s likely they have a weak pair that they are trying to get to showdown. By checking it back, you get to take an even cheaper showdown.
“Online cash games can be a great source of not just experience but profit, but you must be fundamentally sound as they are competitive and taxing for those not committed.“Jonathan Little
Online Cash Game Exploit #3: Call Less On The River Versus Unimaginative Regs
The vast majority of poker players are unimaginative, which is not necessarily a bad way to play. Tight players get called on the river more than they deserve. If they’re constantly value betting, they are going to get looked up a lot.
Poker players are unimaginative because bluffing is harder to learn, while playing good hands well is easier to learn. For this reason, most players do not play “hard” enough and avoid executing on good bluffing spots.
Furthermore, large groups of players online are multi-tabling. When they have tables beeping at them nonstop, they’re forced to go with only the best hands and can’t be bluffing a high percentage of the time. It’s hard to bluff when you start the hand with a made holding.
For these reasons and more, you can stop being paranoid that all your opponents are bluffing you.
How To Recognize When Online Poker Opponents Are Bluffing
You can usually spot who is going to be capable of bluffing you. A common small bluff that online poker players like to employ is a light three-bet in position. It’s a dynamite play that sets up a massive amount of profitable situations.
If your opponent is not three-betting frequently, then it’s unlikely they are triple-barrel bluffing at the correct frequency. If they can’t seize upon one of the cheapest and best bluffs available to them, then it is unlikely that they will be able to fire all their chips in on a river when you’ve shown weakness.
Give all your opponents the benefit of the doubt until they prove they can bluff. Most low stakes regs are multi-tabling nut peddlers. They don’t deserve your river calls, which means you need to exploitatively fold versus them.
If you are a low stakes online cash game player, the player population you are facing emits common player tendencies that make their stacks ripe for the picking. Poker players, regardless of how good they are, have habits. These habits can be expertly exploited if you are willing to put in the work and study the poker tips detailed in this article. You may dream of one day beating some of the best in the world at the highest stakes, but before you can do that you must learn how to beat the “okay” players at the low ones.