Enough of all these details! Let’s get to the important stuff here. What should your overall strategy at the tables look like?
The general approach that you should have at the micros is probably not going to be earth shattering in any way to you. Play tight, but not too tight. I believe that in a full ring game you should play around 15% of the hands that are dealt to you, and raise preflop with them the vast majority of the time. You should also play pretty aggressively after the flop. This is basically the TAG style of play that was discussed earlier.
As a quick note, I want to mention that this book will largely be written with full ring (9 player) cash games in mind. This doesn’t mean that 6max players can’t get anything from the following discussion though. It just means that they will have to adjust their numbers and ranges a bit. Just remember this: All a 6max game really is, is a full ring game minus the first three seats.
Tight Really is Right
So you don’t want to play too tight like the nit player type that was discussed earlier. But you also don’t want to play too loose like the SLP or Fish. You want to play an amount of hands that lets you have lots of big value premium holdings in your range like AA, KK and AK but also a bunch of speculative hands like small and mid pairs, suited aces and suited connectors.
Players who play too tight miss out on the profitability of some of these speculative hands that they are folding preflop. But more importantly, they present the image of a total rock. And nobody likes to give action to those kinds of players.
On the flip side, players who play too loose have too many hands in their range that are easily dominated or outkicked. This gets them into all sorts of tricky, marginal spots that are totally unnecessary and potentially tilt inducing.
I would say that the sweet spot for VPIP in full ring is around 11% at the bottom end and 18% at the top end. I would not suggest playing outside of this range. Nearly all big winners fall within these numbers in my experience.
As for your PFR, I would recommend that you keep it pretty close to your VPIP. That is, within a few points. So if your VPIP is 15 for instance, then your PFR should be about 12. I will spell out exactly what this means in terms of what hands you should play shortly. I will also explain why there will be a small difference between your VPIP and PFR. So don’t get too bogged down by these numbers.
I should mention that it is popular these days, especially on forums, for people to idolize and promote the LAG style of play. As mentioned, I did not include this player type above because you won’t encounter many of them at the limits covered in this book.
While this style is the fashionable or cool way to play these days, I would definitely advise against it, especially for beginner players. Very few players are able to actually play this style effectively and win. It gets you into all sorts of tricky, marginal situations where you have to adjust your calling and betting ranges based on your image. It is also much easier to tilt when playing this style as when things go bad, they go really bad!
While it may be successfully argued that there is a higher winrate ceiling with this style of play, I generally do not advocate it even for experienced players. This is because you will have to play less tables due to your higher than normal VPIP. The corresponding loss in rakeback may in fact take away any gains that you made with your higher winrate. Always remember that flashy players come and go. Slow and steady wins the race.