Cash Games vs Tournaments

Cash Games vs Tournaments

The main two types of poker games available to play online are cash games and tournaments. Here, we take a look at the main differences between the two so you can decide which better suits you as a player.

The Differences

New players to online poker might not initially be aware of the differences between playing cash games and tournaments at poker sites. However, the two different types of play can offer stark contrasts so it is important for players to know how they differ.


One or More Tables

Cash games are only played on a single table. Tournaments can sometimes take place on one table but often take place with a number of tables in play with the number of tables being reduced as the tournament progresses and players get eliminated.


Money for Chips

Money is used in exchange for chips in cash games. The number of chips you have when you enter the table depends is equal to how much cash you invest in the table with a minimum and maximum betting limit usually in place. In tournament games, there is a set buy-in and all players receive an equal number of chips at the beginning of the tournament./p>


Cash Out and Depart

Players have the option to leave a cash game at any time and depart with the chips they have in their possession. This is not possible in tournaments. In a tournament, players must remain committed until the tournament has finished or until they have suffered elimination. There is no buy-out option.


Importance of Blinds

The blinds have more of an influence in tournaments. As the tournaments progress, the blinds increase and this puts pressure on players with low chip counts in the latter stages of the tournaments. This increase is used to keep the pace of the tournament. In cash games, due to players being able to enter and leave the table at any time, the blinds remain the same at a stated amount for the entire duration that the table is in play.


Re-Buys Anyone

Re-buys have different roles in cash games and tournaments. In cash games, players can re-buy any number of chips any number of times that they want provided it is between the minimum and maximum betting levels of the table. In tournaments, the re-buy amount must be the same as the stated initial buy-in for the tournament and even then the number of re-buys allowed in each tournament is limited.


Take a Seat

In a cash game, players are sat at the same time for a set amount of time until players leave and are replaced by new players. This can result in players striking up a camaraderie with their fellow players. This is something that is not possible in tournaments when players can be moved frequently from one table to the next to fill up spaces left by eliminated players. With poker having such a huge focus on player interaction, this can often prove to be a deciding factor in whether players choose to play a cash game or a tournament.

Type of Player

What Type of Player Are You?

Before rushing in to either a cash game or a tournament it is vital for you to understand what sort of player you are and what type of poker play suits you. Cash games are more flexible in terms of time and budget. In tournaments, you are restricted to a buy-in amount and a number of re-buys so if you are want to change your betting pattern mid-game then cash games are the preferred option.

Tournaments can also last a prolonged period of time depending on how long it takes for players to be eliminated. This can mean you are tied into a game for hours which would not be ideal if you are short on time or unsure about how much time you have to play poker online. Cash games offer the freedom to drift in and out at your own leisure which can suit more spontaneous players.

Freedom is also something that a tournament can starve you of. The structure of a tournament will more than likely dictate the sort of tournament you will be involved in. A turbo tournament will be high tempo with more aggressive betting. A pot limit tournament will flow slower and require more patience. In cash games, it is totally random as to whether you are put on a table with aggressive, passive, experienced, naïve, or unpredictable players. If you are a player that thrives on the random nature of a table that cash games can offer you then entering tournaments will deny you that enjoyment.

Your choice of cash games or tournaments is entirely down to how much structure you want from your poker. The initial thought is that because cash games are more open-ended that it is more a strategic decision with different tactics and styles of play required. However, the set-up of the games is the main contrast. More committed players that want to test their discipline and endurance are better suited for tournaments. Players that have a spare half hour or flexible budget will certainly be more prepared to play cash games.