Advanced Cash Game Strategy by Kanu7 – Upswing Poker Course Review
What you'll learn:
- How to build unexploitable cash game strategy
- How to adjust preflop and postflop play
- How to crush even strong players
- How to win the most in your games
Upswing Poker has established as the go-to place for advanced training courses developed by some of the best-known names in their respective fields. These courses dig deep beneath the surface and provide the kind of information that you won’t just find anywhere else.
The latest from the Upswing workshop is the Cash Game Course by Kanu7. Featuring 36 hours’ worth of content as well as advanced preflop charts for 6-max cash games, this is probably the most comprehensive cash game course available right now.
Like many of the courses on the site, this one is also aimed at more advanced players who are looking to play at the highest level.
While it does contain information that even those completely new to the game would find useful, fully understanding and utilizing what’s being explained requires a very solid knowledge of the game.
The face behind Upswing’s latest Cash Game Course is Alex Millar, aka. Kanu7. He is one of the best-known names in the online high stakes poker scene, having shared the virtual tables with the likes of Isildur1, Patrik Antonius, Phil Ivey, Haxton, and many others, and earning millions in the process.
Like many of his generation, Kanu7 started playing poker during his college days. At first, it was just a fun hobby, but after spending some time at the tables, Millar realized he was beating the games.
From that point, he started the journey that would turn him into one of the most feared opponents at the highest of stakes.
Millar is also a devoted student of the game, having spent countless hours doing numbers and even going as far as developing his solver software, which he uses for this course.
So, if you were wondering about his credentials and somehow didn’t know who Alex “Kanu7” Millar is, you can rest assured that he knows a thing or two about poker.
Upswing Advanced Poker Cash Game Course at the Glance
The latest Upswing Cash Game Course consists of four main parts, covering:
- Cash Game Fundamentals
- Play & Explain examples
As I’ve already mentioned, there are 36 hours of videos, so this is a rather extensive course that goes into detail on various spots. At times, it can be a bit overwhelming as it’s not easy to keep up with someone who thinks about poker at Kanu7’s level.
That said, Alex Millar does an excellent job of keeping things as engaging as possible. He’s not just a great player but also a very good teacher.
Of course, some of the concepts he discusses during the course are just not that simple so there is no super-easy way to explain them. But, overall, he does a good job of not overwhelming the audience.
In the introductionary video, Alex Millar explains why you should watch his Advanced Cash Game Strategy Course in the order it is presented and how to get the most of the “Kanu7” training.
There is some content you can skip on in the first part, but, in general, you should probably adhere to his advice. Doing things this way will make it much easier to keep up with the lessons.
Part 1: Cash Game Strategy by Kanu7 – Fundamentals
The first part of the course covers some fundamentals of cash games and also provides an overview of what’s to come. Despite being a high-thinking player himself, Millar begins this section by discussing GTO poker and exploitative plays and doesn’t try to enforce GTO as the only way.
He even warns about the dangers of always sticking to GTO as it can be a losing proposition in multiway scenarios.
So, right off the bat, he provides an atmosphere where you won’t be just blindly following the lead but rather should think about the game on your own. Alex also takes time to explain some of the most common misconceptions about GTO and how you should interpret numbers correctly.
Talking about the exploitative side of things, Kanu7 provides some good examples of how people generally think and how you can apply that knowledge to your game to take advantage of your opponents.
I’ve found this particular section to be very engaging as it creates a very good setup for future learning. With the Advanced Cash Game Strategy by Kanu7 is aimed at those who want to get to that next level, Alex Millar wants you to learn to think for yourself and realize the reasons for your actions.
Theory of Betting Frequencies and Sizing
The next couple of videos are more theoretical and talk more about the general underlying principles of poker. Even though they aren’t as important as the rest of the lessons in this course, they still make for an interesting and valuable watch.
In them, Alex Millar explains how things have changed with regards to poker games and how the whole perception of why you should or shouldn’t be betting has shifted.
With the advent of solvers and the deeper understanding of poker, players have started to think beyond just value and bluffing ranges, and the whole paradigm has become much more complex.
Discussing frequencies and sizing, he brings up many valuable points about how you should be thinking about your hands.
Alex emphasizes the importance of range advantage over the initiative and explains how the whole idea of “having initiative” has become somewhat of an antiquated concept in today’s modern poker.
Introduction to the Private Solver
In the final video of this first section, Kanu7 takes time to explain the software he will be using during the course, especially to analyze the postflop play.
As mentioned, this is a piece of analysis software that he developed on his own, so even if you’re familiar with solvers in general, you probably haven’t had a chance to come across this one.
In this video, you’ll learn about the interface of the software, how it works, and what it considers when making the analysis. Although you don’t necessarily have to watch this video, you’ll have a much easier time keeping up later on if you do.
Alex Millar decided to develop this software because he felt existing solvers didn’t cut the mustard. He tried to get a better solution by not restricting the solver in terms of bet sizes and made other adjustments, which is somewhat more complicated but also more accurate.
All in all, it will help you understand the whole picture, so I recommend not skipping this videos as well.
Part 2: Advanced Cash Game Strategy by Alex Millar – Preflop
After the first section that discusses some general concepts and talks about the software, Kanu7 moves on to more important segments and begins to break down the game a bit by bit. As expected, he begins with the preflop.
To kick things off, he presents 6-max preflop charts created by MonkerSolver.
These charts alone cost more than $1000 if you want to buy it separately from sites that sell preflop solutions, so the fact you can get it in this course adds a lot of value.
These are very detailed charts that pretty much cover all the preflop situations, advising you on what hands to open from what position, how to react to a raise, what ranges you should or shouldn’t be playing in different spots, etc.
Upswing Advanced Cash Game Strategy by Kanu7 is an advanced training program targeting players who already have a good understanding of preflop ranges, well, at least at 100 bb depth.
However, here you will get solved charts for different stack depth (50bb, 100bb, 200bb), so you can take that one step further to understand how to adjust in various situations. After all, most of us are concentrating on 100bb depth play and have plenty of room to improve our strategy elsewhere.
Having these charts is very handy because you can use them to tweak your existing charts and potentially find some leaks you didn’t know were there.
You can always access these charts in the course and quickly find any spot that you like to check.
In addition to showing charts, Alex Millar also goes at length in the next video to talk about some general ideas behind constructing your opening ranges.
He talks about the importance of having a mixed strategy and takes a fair bit of time talking about SB limping strategy so if this is a part of the game you’re particularly interested in, you can find some additional info in this video, although he also does talk about SB vs. BB play later on.
BB and SB vs. Open
Having covered opening ranges, Kanu7 moves on to discuss specific positions and situations, starting with the big and the small blind facing an open. Both positions get their separate videos, and you’ll get a detailed analysis of how to play beyond just using the charts.
One thing that is emphasized here is that charts, as good as they are, aren’t always the most effective because people use different open sizes.
Alex Millar takes time to explain how to use charts as the baseline and then adjust accordingly against different sizes.
In the small blind video, he doesn’t just discuss ranges but also uses the opportunity to talk about GTO once again. Alex “Kanu7” Millar underscores that it is possible to play GTO and lose money vs. multiple opponents, and playing from the SB is an excellent example of this.
I am happy to see that GTO is discussed in a different light here and that some of the potential dangers with the optimal approach are mentioned as well.
The players need to understand this and adjust in situations where the actions of another player at the table can effectively “steal” their EV and give it to other players.
Playing vs. Opens IP & Dealing with an Open & Call
The next couple of videos follow a logical train of thought. First of all, Kanu7 talks about how to deal with opens when you’re in position.
What was particularly interesting to see is that preflop charts don’t have any calls in the UTG+1 range once the UTG opens.
Millar explains why this is and then goes on to talk about other positions and how your calling and 3-betting ranges change based on it. While these principles are nothing new, you’ll get a lot of valuable insights and explanations about various spots that can help improve your game.
Talking about pots where there is an open and a call between, he spends a fair bit of time talking about how you should be calling less frequently from the big blind once the small blind calls.
While this may seem counter-intuitive at first, Millar does a great job explaining why this is the case and why you want to avoid these spots with certain hands.
Dealing with 3-bets and 4-bets
The next few videos in Upswing Cash Game Master Class by Kanu7 cover 3-betting, with a special emphasis on how to play against a 3-bet, as well as 4-bets.
In these videos, Alex Millar goes through different positions and talks about how to handle 3-bets and 4-bets when you’re in and out of position and what things to pay attention to in particular.
The final video in this section address SB vs. BB.
It is an important part of the game, and it deserves special attention. This section was very informative to me and highlighted what I am doing wrong at the moment.
As with the rest of the lessons, Kanu7 goes through different ranges and scenarios to explain the best way to construct your play in the blinds.
Part 3: Upswing Poker Advanced Cash Game Mastery – Postflop
The Postflop section of the Upswing Cash Game Course is, as expected, the most extensive one, as it covers the most complicated part of the game.
It has four main groups, each of them containing further subtopics and detailed videos
- In position vs. Big Blind
- Postflop: Turn
- Blind vs. Blind
- 3-bet Pots
This is also the section in which the solver software comes into play.
If you took the time to watch the introductory video about this custom-made software, you’ll have a much better time understanding and following what’s going on, although Alex Millar does his best to explain things as he goes.
Postflop: In Position vs. Big Blind
The first group of lessons covers several main topics for this particular idea, namely donking on the flop, c-betting, and dealing with c-bets and check-raises.
Interestingly, Kanu7 decides to open the discussion with the video covering donk betting, as this is a rather uncommon play.
However, he takes time to talk about what kind of thinking process you should be applying to construct your donk betting ranges and what kind of boards present a good opportunity for this play.
Flop C-bet & vs. C-bet
Then Alex Millar covers two different topics, firstly when you are c-betting and then when you face such bet from another player. There are several videos in each section, broken down by types of boards, i.e.
- High connected boards
- Low connected board
- Mid connected boards
- Monotone boards, etc.
You’ll find a great amount of poker hands analysis in these videos as Kanu7 uses his solver to look into different types of scenarios and look into the numbers.
However, he also provides very good explanations behind those numbers, so you’re not left just with a random percentage you’re supposed to trust.
Even though it is hard to memorize the sheer amount of information presented in this section, you’ll find excellent summaries that pinpoint the most important takeaways.
These alone should help you navigate most scenarios while fine-tuning your play will take some time and practice and won’t just happen overnight.
The final video in this Advanced Cash Game Strategy Course section talks specifically about situations where you’re facing a check-raise on the flop.
Kanu7 starts by talking some general strategies for constructing your calling and 3-betting ranges and also brings up the Minim Defense Frequencies (MDF) formula.
Towards the end of the video, he also touches upon some exploitative strategies and adjustments you can make vs. particular opponents based on their tendencies, so you can quickly see the full picture.
Following the logical pattern of the course, the next main section covers the turn play.
As Millar emphasizes right from the get-go, the turn is where things start to get tricky as you have all the flop considerations, and then you have to think about how a particular turn card plays into those considerations.
Topics in this part:
- Donking on the turn (two videos)
- Barreling (two videos)
- Turn Barrel
- Probing on the Turn
- Delayed C-betting (3 videos)
Things you can expect to find inside are quite evident from the titles of the videos, and by this point, you’ll have a good idea of the approach Kanu7 takes with explaining things in his Cash Game Master Class.
After going through some general concepts and ideas about a spot, he’ll move on to solver examples and talk about sizing, frequencies, etc.
Talking about donking, for example, he touches upon some interesting points, such as the opponent’s propensity to bet big on the turn. If they prefer big turn bets when checked to them, you might be more inclined to donk bet the turn smaller to control the pot.
In the barreling videos, he explains how there are many different categories you have to deal with. So, instead of trying to remember them all, it is more about learning underlying principles and main factors that influence your hand selection.
The same applies to your sizing, where you don’t necessarily need to have different sizings for different spots, at least not at first.
In this particular section, much more emphasis is put on thinking about opponents’ ranges and how to interpret their flop plays.
There are some interesting ideas that Alex Millar introduces when talking about turn plays that make a lot of sense once he explains the logic behind them but that you might not think of on your own.
Postflop: Blind vs. Blind
This section deals specifically with the play from the blinds and covers pretty much all aspects of it. Kanu7 looks into blind vs. blind play from both perspectives and talks about c-betting, dealing with c-bets, what to do when the small blind checks, etc.
A lot of this has already been discussed in previous videos to some extent, but here, the emphasis is on the blinds, which changes the dynamics of the play as hand ranges are much different.
So, if you feel like your play in the blinds need some tweaking, you’ll find a full range of videos to answer any questions you may have.
The final group of lessons in the postflop section deals with 3-bets. It is divided into two main categories, looking at things from the blinds’ point of view (out of position) and discussing situations where the 3-bettor is in position.
Overall, there are more than a dozen videos covering this specific area of the game, so you’ll find a lot of valuable information about how to play on specific flops, what types of boards you should or shouldn’t c-bet, etc.
Since this is an area where you play most of your big pots, you should take these videos very seriously because some of them are actually eyes opening.
Part 4: Advanced Cash Game Strategy by Kanu7 – Play & Explains
The final major part of the course comprises of several videos of Alex “Kanu7” Millar playing 500NL Zoom on PokerStars.
He puts all the ideas and strategies explained in the Upswing Cash Game Course to the test, and you can see how well they do in the real world where people use different sizings and don’t always follow the script.
It is much different than watching random videos on Twitch or jumping into the Reddit poker forum to get some answers. Alex actually knows what he is doing and not holding anything back.
These aren’t just very educational but fun to watch as you’ll see many interesting hands from real games.
So, you can watch these at your own pace and try to think about various spots as they come up, without any pressure.
Summary + EXTRA BONUS: Is Upswing Poker Cash Game Course Worth Buying?
I believe that most poker courses will only be valuable if you put enough work. There are no magic solutions out there that will make you a great player overnight, and that’s not what this course is promising.
Nevertheless, it is one of the best, if not the best courses for cash games you can find.
If you’re an absolute beginner and playing at the smallest of stakes, this isn’t where you should start. All the solver stuff and the formulas might create a counter-effect if you are not ready yet for advanced strategies.
However, once you feel you can take the game to the next level and want to get into the nitty-gritty of 6-max cash games, this course will teach you everything you need to know. As long as you put in the time and effort required, that is.
With all the information contained inside, from general strategies, over preflop charts, to detailed analyses of all the different postflop spots, this course will easily make up for its cost.
- The best real-life GTO explanation and tips I have seen
- Solved pre-flop ranges for every situation (50bb, 100bb, 200bb stack depth)
- All common postflop situations are broken down to the details
- Many postflop examples and analyzes for different board textures
- Great examples of how to group hands and ranges for convenient using
- Play and explain videos from a verified high-stakes crusher
- High-quality explanation and presentation of material (not a common thing in poker courses)
- Requires solid poker background & some knowledge of solvers
EXTRA BONUS: I am an affiliate for Upswing, and will get a commission if you sign up through my link. That being said, I am ready to give that commission back and even add some on top to you in the form of an EXTRA bonus worth €397 when you join yearly membership through this link.Just contact me when you enroll in Advanced Cash Game Strategy by Kanu7, and I will give you a great course about live play nuances, which will help you excel further when playing live!