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Choosing between Tournaments or Cash games on Poker

You love poker games. You decide to put your money where your heart is and play at a legitimate poker site like the best online poker sites here. However, you are caught in a dilemma.

As a beginner to online poker games, which types of poker games should you play for real money; Tournaments or Cash games?

These two poker game formats are readily available at online poker sites, and they seem to have attractive and rewarding features. You can decide to select one or the other and win real money from both.

But if you are running on an average budget, you need to choose the right poker game option to maximize your bankroll and playing time. You should also not forget that you are a newbie, just starting to learn how to play online poker real money games.

You will be playing the same poker game either you go for cash games or tournaments. However, bear in mind that the two game formats require a different strategy to emerge victorious while playing them. So what do you go for? The thrill of cash games or exciting poker tournaments?

This article covers the key differences and pros and cons of both cash and tournament games. Using this information, you will be able to decide which game format is best for you.

Key Differences

The best way to carefully decide whether to play cash games or tournament games at a poker site is to understand the two formats' fundamental differences. Firstly, what are poker cash games? Also known as live-action games or ring games, this poker game format is played with real money on a single table. If you’re interested in playing something different like online blackjack you can also find some guides dedicated to it on our site.

To play cash games, players exchange their money for chips and, depending on their budget, can go for the minimum or maximum buy-in limits cash games offer. Another unique feature of cash games is that you can buy in, opt-out and convert your chips to real money anytime.

In poker tournaments, several players compete against each other to win a prize pool offered by the site. Like cash games, players have to purchase a buy-in to participate in the online poker tournament. Here are the primary differences between poker tournaments and cash games.

A poker tournament features only one buy-in amount that every player willing to participate in the competition is expected to buy. Also, each player is given the same number of chips in a tournament. However, cash games come with different table buy-in amounts.

A tournament ends when a player has all the chips. Players are paid after the winner is declared, and their payouts depend on their tournament position. However, you can convert your chips into money any time you feel like leaving the game.

Tournaments may be played on more than one table. Cash games are usually played on a single table.

In tournaments, the blinds' costs increase while it stays fixed for each hand in cash games.

If you lose all your chips in a poker tournament, you are automatically out of the game. However, if you exhaust your bankroll during a cash game, you only need to rebuy to continue playing.

Now comes the million-dollar question? How do these poker game differences affect your chances of winning some poker cash? Which game format will give you the best and most consistent payout? Poker tournament or real cash games?

Although much depends on your strategy, your competitors' skill set, and several other factors, cash games are known to give regular payouts than tournaments. This is mainly because cash games have a lower volatility level compared to poker tournaments.

If you are skillful and you get your strategy right, your payouts while playing cash games may be small but consistent.

However, tournaments often come with huge prizes, which can significantly boost your bankroll, especially if you finish in the top three positions.

How often should you cash in a poker tournament? You only cash out in a poker tournament when the winner is declared, and that's one of the main reasons why payouts of poker tournaments are not as constant as cash games wins.

Let's look at other pros of cash games and poker tournaments.

Cash Games Give You More Flexibility

Cash games should be your option if you are looking to have a flexible time playing online poker. You can opt-in and leave anytime you want without affecting your cash-out. Cash games are your best bet if you want to have control over your time or have other important activities in your schedule.

Since cash games run 24/7 or around the clock, you can buy-in and play the game whenever you want. Tournaments do not offer this kind of flexibility. You can't easily leave a tournament until it is over, or else you risk disqualification and the forfeiture of your chips. Since tournaments do not come with a fixed time, you can end up playing for hours till a winner emerges.

Another way cash games offer you flexibility is on your bankroll and playing budget. You are not restricted to a specific buy-in amount like tournaments. Instead, cash games feature a wide range of amounts with a minimum and maximum limit.

Tournaments are Easier to Learn

One specific positive feature tournaments have over cash games is their easy and straightforward gameplay. As a newbie, you can quickly grasp the workings of a poker tournament rather than a cash game.

As you progress in the levels, the blinds get more increased, and fewer hands are played. Before you get to "the river" or a winner emerges, several players' stack sizes would have thinned out, which will help you make more straightforward decisions.

However, in cash games, irrespective of the time you buy-in, you may find players with bigger and deeper stacks. In such a setting, the experienced players have more advantage over beginners since they will be able to manoeuvre and try other moves. Not having a solid strategy while playing against these skilled gamblers is a fast way to lose your bankroll at the poker site.

What Should YOU Play?

Now that you know the differences between Cash games and poker tournaments, which one do you think is right for you?

In the end, the decision to choose a poker game format depends on your preferences. Both of them offer exciting gameplay and excellent payouts. But what are your choices? If you want huge wins, play poker tournaments. However, if you desire consistent and steady wins, then cash games are great for you.

Also, if you have limited playing time and a busy schedule, then opt for cash games. Poker tournaments should be your choice if you want a more straightforward approach to playing poker. However, cash games give you an opportunity to learn broader skill sets. So, if you want to be more competent, go for cash games.

Final thoughts

Cash games and poker tournaments are some of the essential features of a poker app or site. They contribute to the fun and thrill of a poker site and can't be substituted for each other.

However, they have different pros and cons that a newbie must consider before deciding to play one. As has been mentioned earlier, the ultimate decision lies with you.

However, irrespective of the format you choose to enjoy your online poker game, you must learn some basic and advanced poker strategy like how to play poker tournaments online. Having a solid strategy will help you secure wins whether you are playing cash games or online poker tournaments.