Cash Games vs. Tournament Poker - Which Format Should You Play ?

Along with different betting variations and poker games, various game formats are there and it is wise to know the differences. Tournament play and cash games are two different formats of poker.

What Is Cash Game in Online Poker ?

In this format, several players play poker first and often around kitchen table. As the name suggests, this format is played for real cash, not for coupons, matchsticks or other medium. It is usually played online and in lodges, homes, clubs, cardrooms and casinos. To start with this game, a minimum buy is set as well as maximum buy.

One has to buy in around 20 to hundred big blinds for pot-limit or no-limit cash game. The blinds are offered at $1 or $2 on a no-limit game and standard buy-in is at $200. To match every budget, real money games are offered online. Stakes are grouped in low stakes, micro stakes, high stakes and medium stakes and other levels.

What is Online Poker Tournament ?

In this format, all players make en entry by paying a fee for same amount and entity keeps it which is organizing a tournament. For instance, a casino offers no-limit tournament of Texas Hold'em with $5 as a fee and $50 as an entry cost to play. $50 will be used in prize pool and $5 will be used on tournament.

In non-negotiable chips, you can receive up to $2000. The blinds may escalate in every 20 minutes and begin at $10 to $20. The frequent escalation makes players gambling more and awaiting premium cards. According to how many starting players are there, the total number of winners varies. The first position might be around 30% to 50% of total pool. This is how a poker tournament runs.

Cash Game vs. Tournament

Here are some of the major differences between poker tournament and cash games -

  • You can play cash game on one table. You can also play tournament on one table or sometimes on several tables.

  • Money is exchanged for chips in cash games. According to stakes, basically there is a maximum or minimum buy-in amount. Players usually buy-in tournaments for same amount and are basically given the chips of same amount.

  • Player can quit the play of cash game anytime and exchange the chips for hard cash. In case of having one player with all chips, tournament comes to an end. According to where tournament finishes, players get paid.

  • Blinds stay the same in cash games for each hand according to stakes. The cost of blinds increases in every 15 minutes in tournaments.

  • You may keep playing and buy-in again if money or chips are lost in cash game. If all the chips are lost, you will be out of tournament game.

Which Should Be Played And When ?

Some players choose to go with cash games and others play poker tournaments. It depends upon your own preference. Both of these formats have their own strategies.