Elite Cash Game Exploits Course Review – Uri Peleg Course from Upswing Poker
Upswing Poker has released a brand new course, continuing to build its impressive library of poker training content. The latest addition to Upswing’s coaching options is the Cash Game Exploits course created by Uri Peleg.
Like the name suggests, the course is focused on finding and taking advantage of different types of exploits at cash game tables.
Everything found inside revolves around identifying leaks in your opponents’ play and using them to improve your results.
Uri Peleg, the man behind Upswing Poker’s Elite Cash Game Exploits course is a high-stakes crusher with results that give him a high degree of credibility. The bulk of his play is at $25/50, and his graph speaks for itself.
Elite Cash Game Exploits at a Glance
The course consists of 25 hours of video lessons and some useful charts and tools to help you improve your results. The video content is divided into four large sections, namely:
- Exploitative Poker 101 – explaining the basics of the exploitative approach
- Play & Exploits
The introductory section of the course offers some basic explanations and also covers some of the biggest issues with the GTO approach in multi-way spots. It also discusses HUD stats and how to utilize them.
The preflop section offers five hours’ worth of video lessons, well over 500 useful charts, and the Late Position Steal app.
The Steal App is particularly interesting as it is a unique tool that was developed for the Elite Cash Game Exploits course and it gives you the ability to build custom ranges against different opponents, depending on the type of mistakes they are making.
This is an advanced tool meant for more experienced players. That said, Uri offers a detailed explanation on how to use it to get the best results, so even if you are somewhat new to the world of poker software, you can still profit greatly from it.
Uri himself suggests going through the lessons in the order they’re presented, as he’ll often refer back to some of the previously discussed topics in later videos.
Having watched the course, I can say that this is probably the best approach, as topics are really intertwined, and it’s hard to keep up if you skip on some of the lessons.
Peleg introduces the course with some interesting ideas. He emphasizes the importance of GTO as a baseline but also mentions that trying to play pure GTO without any exploits is similar to playing for a draw in chess.
The whole idea of this course is to try and help you look beyond that and find ways to identify and exploit leaks in your opponent’s strategy. And, as you’ll learn as you move along, there are quite a few of these!
Exploitative Poker 101
In the first module of the Elite Cash Game Exploits course, Uri covers the basics of exploitative poker. What does it even mean to play this strategy, and how do you benefit from it?
Here, he sets the foundation of the entire course, explaining that the pure GTO strategy isn’t always the best approach, primarily because you aren’t playing against omniscient computers.
Real players in real games will make mistakes, and the bigger the mistakes, the more incentive you’ll have to stray from GTO and look for ways to exploit and punish them.
Peleg also introduces an interesting concept of the “invisible” third player, i.e., the rake. Is this something you should account for when planning your strategy and constructing your big blind defense ranges, for example?
In actual games, you’ll frequently find yourself in multi-way spots, and here, sticking to GTO religiously may actually hurt your bottom line. It’s no secret that multi-way pots haven’t been solved yet and remain a challenge for computers.
So, he explains that everyone should learn and understand GTO as the baseline, but players wanting to excel need to also learn how to take things to the next level and surprise their opponents.
To be able to do this, Peleg emphasizes the importance of knowing how to use a poker HUD.
One of the lessons from this introductory part is dedicated to teaching you how to read the HUD stats correctly and what to focus on. It also cautions players to avoid what Uri calls the “white noise,” i.e., irrelevant numbers that don’t have a big enough sample size to be reliable.
The final video of the first module talks about hard and soft exploits and the main differences between the two.
Peleg explains the pros and cons of both these approaches, backing it up with some theory and a few hand examples to bring his points home.
I’d definitely suggest you don’t skip this first module because everything that follows relies quite heavily on the thoughts and ideas explained in the first few lessons. So, even if you’re eager to get into the nitty-gritty of it all, start at the beginning and take it from there.
Elite Cash Game Exploits: Preflop
The preflop module of Upswing’s Elite Cash Game Exploits is one of the two extensive sections where Uri digs dip into math, theory, and examples of what this course is all about.
He begins by explaining the importance of preflop play and having solid GTO foundations to guide your hand selection.
He emphasizes that most players like to focus on ‘sexy’ decisions, i.e., difficult and intriguing spots after the flop. But, while preflop isn’t as interesting and enjoyable, your decisions have a compounding effect because this is one street that you have to play every single hand.
He then goes on to bring forth a bit of controversial supposition, saying that in the games where other players aren’t playing GTO before the flop, you shouldn’t be doing it, either.
If other players at the table will do unusual things, like calling every time with all of their pocket pairs when you open small from UTG, perhaps you should make adjustments.
He sums it up in a few simple words – don’t be lazy about it, play poker!
One of the videos in this section focuses on giving you a blueprint for building your exploitative strategy against different player archetypes. Instead of focusing on specific stats for individual players, you should learn to understand major player archetypes and how to best play against each of them.
He then goes on to explain these different types, going through the poker history and explaining how the game and player tendencies have changed over the years.
As people learned more and developed a deeper understanding, their general tendencies have changed as well:
- Loose passive players were predominant in the early days, and you can still find them in some live settings – what are the best adjustments against these players?
- Nit Tags were the second major group, and this style was good enough against these loose players, but you can find a range of soft exploits to use against this particular type.
A large section of the preflop module is devoted to 3-betting as a major part of the preflop strategy. Once again, Peleg begins by explaining how 3-bet & 4-bet tendencies have changed over the years and what this means for someone looking to play exploitative poker.
The discussion is accompanied by a lot of math and many hand examples. You’ll need to really focus to keep up with these lessons, but you’ll find many interesting ideas that you may have never considered before that can really help improve your win rate.
The preflop section naturally flows in the postflop module, and, as expected, this part of the Elite Cash Game Exploits course is even more extensive.
Peleg begins by talking about player tendencies and understanding that there is no one strategy that would be effective across the board.
The first few videos focus on bet sizing and understanding where bet sizing decisions come from in the first place. He breaks things down into four major categories that he keeps referring back to throughout the module:
- I’ll size from my head – betting based on what “feels” right given your hand and the board texture.
- I’ll size for your hand – sizing according to what you believe your opponent’s hand is and what you want to achieve.
- I’ll size for my range – the bet size based on the perceived range, which is much harder to take advantage of but still possible.
- I know Kung Fu – a jokingly named category to describe rare players who are on a different level and are really hard to play against and take advantage of.
Punching Bag Sims
The first video following the general bet size discussion is named “Punching Bag Sims,” and it talks about opponents that are not very experienced and how you can adjust to take advantage of them based on what category they fit in.
For example, for players who base their bet sizes on hand strength and board structure, you’ll want to take notes and understand what different bet sizes mean.
Once you develop this understanding, your goal is to get to the nod in the game theory tree, where you know what’s going on, and it will be easy to play against them.
Players who bet based on what they believe you have will often have different bet sizes for value bets and bluffs. If you can catch up to this, their hand will basically be face up. It takes a bit more work to do it, but if you can figure it out, you can come up with all sorts of exploits.
When discussing betting, bet sizing, and everything that comes with it, the continuation bet is probably one of the first and most important decisions to look at.
As Uri explains, almost everything else in the game theory tree stems from this particular nod.
Before going into theory and examples, Peleg provides a historical overview of sorts of how c-bet tendencies changed over time, from people pretty much continuation betting automatically all the time to today’s modern, much more nuanced, and solver-based approach.
One very interesting video in this module focuses on finding sizing tells by playing (too) many hands, and this one is definitely a bit out there.
Basically, Uri takes it to 100NL to try and open with a bunch of hands in position with the plan of skipping a c-bet on the flop. He then analyzes how his opponents react to it and takes notes for later.
I found it particularly interesting because it’s sort of an embodiment of what Upswing’s Elite Cash Game Exploits is all about – straying away from widely recognized paths and going into hidden, dark alleys no one would expect you to visit.
Adjusting for Different Player Archetypes
The final few videos of the module represent a fusion of everything that’s been discussed and put it in the context of two major player archetypes:
- The Aggressive Player
- The Calling Station
How do you go about recognizing important player tendencies and, more importantly, understand where these tendencies come from?
What does it mean to correctly adjust against a particular archetype?
For example, there are different types of aggressive players, and you want to figure out if someone is just being aggressive for the sake of it or if their strategy is actually sound.
Against calling stations, you don’t want to bluff too much – but if you never do it, then it becomes too obvious. So, how do you correctly develop an exploitative strategy that works against these players?
To wrap it all up, like other Upswing courses, Elite Cash Game Exploits also features a play and explain section as well, where you can see a lot of theoretical concepts applied in practice, and these videos are a great watch once you’ve been through all the lessons.
Red Line Rocketship – Bonus Course
Coming out together with the Elite Cash Game Exploits is the Red Line Rocketship course, in which Uri goes into a detailed analysis on how to improve your non-showdown winnings.
This is a separate 3.5-hours course that costs $499, but for the short period, everyone who purchased the Elite Cash Game Exploits course for $999 also received Red Line Rocketship access at no additional charges.
It's possible this offer will come back at some point, so keep your eyes peeled!
A good portion of the course deals with the check-raising strategy as a very powerful tool that can help you significantly improve your red line, if used correctly.
Who Is Elite Cash Game Exploits for & Is It Worth the Money?
The new cash game course from Upswing Poker is clearly targeted at more advanced players looking to take advantage of their opponents at higher stakes. Concepts explained by Uri are not something you will need at small and micro stakes.
This isn’t to say that all players won’t gain some valuable knowledge from this course, but it you are fairly new to the game and just getting your feet wet, buying this course would be overkill.
On the other hand, for the players already battling it out at fairly high stakes, lessons and insights shared in the Upswing Poker Elite Cash Game Exploits course can prove invaluable.
At these stakes, finding an edge is not easy, and it’s all about figuring out your opponents’ small mistakes and knowing how to take full advantage of them. And that’s exactly what Uri Peleg will teach you how to do.
The price of $999 may seem steep but it’s not really the case if you put it in the perspective, i.e. it’s just one buy-in for NL1000.
Those who buy the course and invest the time to go through all the lessons with required focus and understanding can fully expect to see their win rate improve significantly!