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How often/percentage should you be cashing in live cash games?


by joenba1k  |  Published Feb 10, 2013


Hey guys, I recently started playing alot of live poker 5 days a week 4 to 8 hour sessions 1-2 no limit hold em. I'm just wondering what percentage you should be cashing I'm cashing 66 percent right now which I think I need to improve to 70s? Any advice would be great thanks. Joe.


over 1 year ago

I think you are looking at it incorrectly. What percentage of the time you win in cash is going to be wildly different based on avg stack size at the table, player types you are facing, and most importantly the style of poker you play. A much more meaningful statistic is your hourly rate. Dollars won/hours played, but be aware that a swing, whether it be upswing or downswing, can drastically affect your hourly rate in the short term. To get an at all meaningful estimate of your "true hourly rate" you probably need a sample of anywhere from 200-500 hours.

Think about it like this. Is it better to be a player who wins 80% of the time, but their avg win is 10BBs and their avg loss is 200BBs, or a player who wins 10% of the time where their avg win is 200BBs and their avg loss is 10BBs. ( EV of player 1 (10BBsX .80) + ( -200BBsX .20) = (8BBs) + (-40BBs) = -32BBs ) ( EV of player 2 (200BBsX .10) + (-10BBX .9) = (20BBs) + (-9BBs) = 11BBs)

Obviously these are extreme stats that no one in reality would likely have but you could see how player 1 bragging about his 80% win rate compared to the 10% win rate of player 2 would be stupid because player 1 is a losing player and player 2 is a winning player.

Ideally you want your win rate to be in the area of +10 to 20BBs per hour at $1-$2 if you find really good games with low rake it is possible to get better than that. However don't sit there 1 hour into a session where you are up 100BBs and think "sweet now I just need to coast for 5 hours to get my hourly rate" or even worse "if I quit now than my hourly is 5 times what I am hoping for I am a poker superstar". Just play your hands as they come there are going to be ridiculous stretches of variance. For instance last year I had a 50 hour stretch where my hourly was +60 BBs per hour and so far this year I started with 30 hours where I am running -40 BBs per hour.


over 1 year ago

Thanks for the advice j I logged 200 hours exactly and my hourly win rate is $9.39 a hour which Isn't terrible I guess considering the min buy in is 40 and max 100 in the hardrock casino poker room in tampa. Thanks agian


over 1 year ago

Looks like you are doing alright. There is usually some information on this in books as well and if I remember correctly you should look to make between 4x and 10x the BB per hour. This looks really 'easy' to do if you just make a steal every 2 orbits but in reality we all want to play the game.

To take yet a different approach to this, examine key hands during your sessions to make sure you got 'max value' or 'min loss' in these situations. When I play I generally win a fairly high percentage of pots I play in (which in itself, is a high number), but I always seem to run into someone who draws out on me in the biggest pots. So even though the money went in good (to very good) you end up with a larger than normal 'loss' and you have to saddle up again to recover.

As with all statistics the numbers can't tell us the whole story. It may be interesting to log all your pots that total over $80 and then look at your total results as well to see where your swings come from. Are you being trapped by sets? Do you stretch your draws more when you are down in a session to try and catch up. At what stack size do you 'shut down' and change your play to protect it ... which ultimately leads to a large loss!! (If you figure that out, then LEAVE or table change to a higher stakes)

Do you use 'go away' bets when you are a favorite and lose out on value because you are afraid they will draw out on you. How many of your River bets get folded to because they 'know' you have it? Do you pay off opponents 'go away' bets on the Turn or River more than you should?

Once you have the 'big' picture numbers start breaking down portions of your play that contribute the most to that number. GL