Small edges

I've recently learned that if you want to run deep in the Sunday Million, you'd better play it from my condo. I took 13th place a little while back and over the course of that month, both guys I share the place with finished in the top 15! It's not even just the Million, everyone seems to be doing well in tournaments when they grind at our condo. I lost a little bit back playing some bigger cash games, but overall I'm still up for the year.

Cash games were my starting point when I first got into poker. I started off playing 10c/25c when I was really young and worked my way up. Right before I won the Main Event I was playing $10/$25 and $25/$50 heads-up on the regular and had a lot of success. Four years ago, even at those limits you'd see more players tilt or spew off their stack but now, they are filled with the same exact players day in and day out. I've logged millions of hands at 6-max and heads-up and can tell you straight up, winning is a lot harder now than it used to be. Before, you'd run into opponents that took weird lines that didn't make a lot of sense. Now, there's a lot of metagame involved--you know, what does he think that I'm thinking--and the edges are very small. So although I think 6-max and heads-up cash is my best game, I've actually been veering more toward tournaments lately.

While online cash games are tougher than ever, there's still a lot of value in MTTs. You'll find far weaker opponents in tournament fields, players who continually make terrible mathematical mistakes. Math really comes into play when you get down to the 15 big blind stack, the 17 big blind stack and there is definitely a correct answer when it comes to what hands you should be shoving from each position. I made an "M" chart for myself (M is the size of the pot preflop) and at this point I pretty much have it memorized. In shove or fold situations, it shows me the optimal mathematical play based on the size of my stack in M, the number of opponents to act behind me, my own hole cards, and my opponent's average range. It's an invaluable tool when it comes to maximizing those small edges.


As for the WSOP, I plan on playing 17 events including most of the $10k tournaments and maybe one $25k. I'm also mulling the $111,111 buy-in One Drop, but I'd want to sell off some of my action if I did play. With that kind of variance it's not too wise to have 100% of your own action unless you have a ridiculous bankroll. Unfortunately I haven't learned mixed games well enough to invest in those tournaments yet, but I'll be getting in all the NLHE, PLHE and PLO I can.

Joe Cada is a member of Team PokerStars Pro

Joe Cada
@PokerStars in PokerStars news