Cash Games vs. Tournaments: Which Should You Choose for Playing Poker?

Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world. With millions of players, finding someone who hasn’t heard of it would be hard. A good part of why it’s so popular is that it is easy to play and set up. You can play physical poker anywhere with just a few cards and chips, or you could even play online with any internet device.

However, poker is not just a casual game played with friends. It is an incredibly lucrative business, with the top poker pros competing in high-stakes tournaments with millions of dollars on the line. In this article, we will look at the two main formats of poker games: Cash Games and Tournaments, and break down their differences to determine which is best for you.

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1. What are cash games?

Cash games, also known as ring games, are games where players directly bet with their own money. There are usually minimum and maximum buy-ins, and the money you pay gets converted into betting chips. A player can leave a cash game anytime to exchange those chips for money. The poker gameplay is standard, with fixed blinds during each hand. There are also many different subsets of cash games, usually grouped by stakes. Another subset of cash games is known as short-handed poker or 6-max. As the name implies, there is a maximum of six players, giving the game more action than nine to ten-player games. People play much more aggressively, and they also play more hands. For beginners, staying away from these faster-paced games is a good idea until you understand how to play poker.

2. What are tournaments?

Poker tournaments are very different from cash games. They are more organized and follow a specific structure. Unlike cash games, they have a fixed buy-in. Players in a tournament compete to win a portion of the prize pool. The tournament usually takes place over multiple tables, and the blinds steadily increase in price to stop players from playing conservatively. While you can leave any time and collect your winnings in a cash game, tournaments only end when a single player has all the chips, at which point players are paid based on their performance. That also means that while you can pay the buy-in again and rejoin a cash game, you lose and usually stop playing in a tournament when all your chips are gone.

There are also three main formats of a poker tournament: Freezeouts, Rebuys, and Reentries. Freezeouts are the most common kind, where once you are out of chips, you are done playing. Rebuys have a specific time window where you can buy more chips if you fall below a certain amount. The rebuys usually cost around the price of the entry fee. Finally, reentries are similar to rebuys, but players can only buy back once they get eliminated. They also lose their spot and are reseated as if they were a new contestant.

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3. Pros and Cons of Cash Games



4. Pros and Cons of Tournaments



5. Which one should you pick?

With all the pros and cons outlined here, the choice is really up to you. We recommend trying out tournaments for beginners since they will help you learn. However, cash games are great once you become more experienced and want consistent results and thoughtful gameplay. Ultimately, it all depends on what you want: The adrenaline rush of winning a big tournament or the consistency and experience from playing many cash games.

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Where to find the best online cash games and tournaments?

We hope this article helped you decide between these two poker formats. If you want to play cash games or tournaments, play online poker at {{GGPoker}}, the world’s largest poker room. They offer cash games of different stakes and large tournaments online so you can play from the comfort of your home.