Paying an Ante upfront is common for tournament poker and deep stack cash games to induce more action. However, PartyPoker recently decided to change its Cash Game structure and introduced an ante in regular cash games too. But what does this mean for you as a poker player? How do you adjust to this new structure on the PartyPoker Cash Game tables?
Before we dive into how you should adapt your strategy to max out your EV, it makes sense to have a look at Antes in general.
The presence of an Ante changes the strategy you should use significantly. Since you now have an increased investment compared to an ante-less cash game, Antes force you to:
You are sitting in the Big Blind and face a Button steal of 2,5BB. In an Ante-less environment, your direct Pot odds are 27%. So if you realized 100% of your equity, you would call every hand that has at least 27% equity against the Button opening range to break even.
But in this spot, not even the best players in the world would realize 100% of their hand's equity, and there are three significant reasons for that:
How much equity you will realize depends on a lot of different factors — for example, the skills of your opponents. But your skills are a crucial factor as well. The better you are, the more equity you will realize.
In general, I would recommend calculating these spots with 70% equity realization ("R") for borderline hands.
Because with Premium Holdings, you will realize more equity.
The Button's Raise first in (RFI) is somewhere close to 50%.
So if you want to defend your Big Blind with the 70% equity you realize in mind, you are going to call every hand that has at least 38,5% equity against the Button's opening range. (R=27/70*100=38,5% Equity needed)
This is an example in an ante-less environment. Let's have a look at this exact situation with the new structure on PartyPoker.
Since PartyPoker changed its cash game structure, every player has to pay 0,2BB in Antes upfront.
This changes our calculation drastically because now there is more money in the Pot, to begin with.
This means that you have to defend wider in the Big Blind to break even.
So if the Button wanted to give you the same Pot odds that you would have in the old PartyPoker structure, he would have to increase his sizing from 2,5BB to 3,2BB (2,2/8,1~27%).
You don't want to give your opponents better Pod Odds.
So the first thing I would recommend you to change is to open Raise to a bigger sizing preflop.
The rule of thumb is to increase your opening size from every position by 0,7BB. So your opening sizes should look like this:
Now you already know that you should increase your preflop sizings.
The second thing you should do in this new PartyPoker cash game structure is to open a broader range.
But why is that the case?
The presence of Antes bloats the Pot Preflop. So there is more money to win in every hand. You will also pick up more dead money if no one responds to your Raise.
By now, you already know how this new structure affects the math. So it is clear, that this also means that you have to defend your Big Blind wider if you want to maximize your EV. Especially if your opponent didn't adjust and still uses standard open sizes.
So what should your strategy look like? I personally will open Raise not so "huge "because I guess that opponents will not defend as good as they should. Especially on the Button, you should open raise much wider than before due to extra dead money.
Even if the nitty players are going to defend wider nowadays, that has an upside.
They have to play post-flop with wide ranges that they are not comfortable with. Your EV will increase in this spot!
A limping strategy in the SB could be a decent strategy, but I think due to the rake on micro and low stakes, and that opponents will not defend properly, the EV of an open raise will be higher.
In my opinion, this new PartyPoker cash game structure comes with enormous benefits for those who are willing to put in the work and adjust their play. A lot of players won't even realize that they have to adjust, so this gives you more room to develop a greater edge overall.
I hope this article helped you to understand some of the key factors on how to adjust your play on PartyPoker.
In our staking program, we teach you in-depth how to adjust to different structures, so you get an even bigger edge over your opponents. Learn more here>>>