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Cigars, Beer & Poker Ground >> Tournament vs. Cash Game Playing Styles


3/24/11 3:12 PM
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SiftMyMind
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Member Since: 8/28/07
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I have been playing mostly cash games for years.
Over this time, I have developed a fairly decent TAG game which serves me fairly well for most cash games I play (though I am always looking to improve my game).

Lately (over the last year), I have begun playing a lot more tournaments.
I have found that my TAG style has me at a disadvantage sometimes in tournaments as tournament play tends to favor the smart LAG player (especially in the late-stage/higher blind part of the tournament).

I know I have to change my game when I play tournaments and open up my hand rage and my aggression factor.
Ideally, I need to be a smart LAG for tournaments but maintain my usual TAG style for cash games.

I am concerned about:
1. Playing LAG style outside of my comfort range, and,
2. Not having this adjustment affect my usual TAG style for when I play cash games.

Anyone else find they have to almost develop two different types of poker identities/profiles to play both games?
If so, how do you deal with the concerns I raised above?
3/25/11 1:22 AM
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VectorWega
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 I'm pretty sure that there are a ton of great tournament players who are TAGs.  When the blinds get high isn't it more about picking good spots than playing a certain style?  It's not "poker" as it is determing that you will get others to fold in certain spots or making calls in spots that you know you are ahead of your opponents range.
3/25/11 1:26 AM
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VectorWega
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 BTW, I do agree that you have to play differently in tournaments and cash games.  However, you should adjust your game anytime variables change (strength of competition, # of players, game, live vs online, etc).  That being said, you should really just try and perfect one game and become profitable at it.  Then consider branching out into tournaments etc.
3/25/11 1:36 AM
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andre
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Cash allows for looser, more aggressive play, imo. I think tournaments required a very disciplined type of aggression that I really dont have yet. I had my best results in tournaments when I was able to make big laydowns. Since then I've become the worst kind of spewy jackass. I opened up my game too much and now I've lost some perspective.

My cash game has been better than ever, though. Seriously, I am playing at a whole new level when it comes to cash...but it helps that Im playing against plenty of guys who who have never heard of the 2+2 forums.
3/25/11 3:06 AM
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SwedishShooto
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First off, I'm no tournament or cash expert. I make a good living playing cash but I don't have any significant tourney scores (biggest score 40k boo...) so take whatever I'm about to say with a grain of salt.

You can be quite successful as a TAG tournament player as well with just some adjustments for when the blinds go up. Just study a lot how to play 16-25 BB stacks, get comfortable with 3bet/4bet dynamics with different stack sizes. You can do perfectly fine in tournaments with a tighter style.

As for your question about two different poker identities, I can relate. I've played live for about 7 years and played online for about 10 or 11 and in live cash games I play extremely LAG. I don't play high though, I play, 2-5-10 and 5-10-20 (3 blind structure here where I'm at) and I play like a maniac in cash just because I found that to be the most profitable for these loose/passive/call one-or-two-streets-then-fold-to-more-pressure games with a bunch of ppl who play horribly postflop. But in tournaments I play a whole lot tighter. In the small/medium buy-in tournaments most people know to open up around the bubble, around money increases and near the final table. I usually try to find some internet kid who is going for that and start picking up chips by playing back at the couple of ppl that I feel are getting out of line. If you have a TAG image you can take advantage of this more than most.

What VectorWega said about perfecting one game then considering branching out is probably not a bad idea but in my opinion you'd be stuck trying to perfect one of them for way too long. I find that I enjoy whenever I play tourneys in addition to the cash games but this might vary from person to person. I think you can both fuck up your cash game by playing tournaments and at the same time improve your overall poker game by playing both.
3/26/11 2:14 AM
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SiftMyMind
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Edited: 03/26/11 2:20 AM
Member Since: 8/28/07
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3/26/11 2:22 AM
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SiftMyMind
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Member Since: 8/28/07
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I appreciate all the responses so far.

SwedishShooto you mind if I add you on here?

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