Holdem Cash Games

Holdem cash games are amongst the most commonly played in the world. Millions of poker players routinely participate in matches held at both land based and online casinos. Also referred to as ring games (though this may or may not be exactly accurate depending on who one talks to), these matches involve real chips and no time limitations. Successful play is dependent upon strategies specific to cash games. It requires a different mindset and approach then holdem tournament play.

Holdem tournaments are popular as well. Players generally play in both cash games and tournaments. However, tournament holdem is much different then holdem cash games. A person that regularly wins the latter, may sometimes find themselves struggling in a tournament. It is not uncommon for great ring game players to be upset by seemingly weaker or unknown players.

In a holdem tournament, players play with chips just as they would in a cash game. The difference is that those tournament chips represent fake money. Each player receives a certain amount of chips at the beginning of a tournament which they must use over the course of play. The goal is to build upon that amount and end the game with the most chips. Once they run out, a player’s tournament run is over.

As mentioned above, the chips in a cash game actually have monetary value. Players have to pay for them. If a person loses them their chips because of bad play or tough competition, they lose real money.

Another difference between holdem cash games and tournaments are enforced time limits in the latter. If done were in place, a tournament could be held up by one or two tables who play long. To avoid this and to keep the action moving, it is necessary that time restrictions be put in place.

Because of these and other significant variances that exist between the two types of poker play, the strategies that must be utilized so that a player is successful, differs.

Another rather important difference between holdem cash games and tournaments are ante and blind structures. In cash games, whether one or both are required, the amount of the blinds and/or antes remains the same amount throughout the tournament. Conversely, in a holdem tournament, antes and blinds often increase as play proceeds.

Now, that we have discussed some of the differences between holdem cash games and tournaments, let’s take a look at how these variances should affect the way a player approaches the game.

Tournament play requires individuals to take more chances then they might in a cash game. This is because there are time restraints. Players have only so much time to build up their chip stacks and force weak players out. This necessitates that they take more chances then they normally would, while playing in cash games. The latter gives individuals much more time and thus they are able to think out their strategy a bit more and then implement it if they are able to outplay their opponent.

Holdem cash games generally require that individuals play tougher hands. Hands that a player might be able to successfully play in a tournament, they wouldn’t in a normal cash game. Sometimes, individuals are forced to go all-in with a less then ideal hand during a tournament. Time may be running out or they may be desperate to increase their chip count.

Tournament results and wins are generally less consistent then cash games. The best players don’t always win. There are routinely upsets, largely because of the feast and famine nature of tournament play. This of course is not to suggest that just anyone can walk in from off the street and dominate a tournament or that excellent players can’t consistently win tournament games, because that’s not the case. However, the top performers, especially winners, will require a rather large dose of good luck and the ability to take lemons and make lemonade, i.e. make the most out of subpar hands and conditions. It is generally much easier to be a consistent cash game player. More times then not, the best players will win or at least be playing for the top prize.

Even though it is possible to win millions of dollars in big tournaments, most people won’t have the opportunity to even participate in such events. The buy-ins are often expensive and individuals have to win their way in, which can be tough. Tournaments are also often an unreliable source of income. An individual may perform well at one event and then struggle at the next. Most experts recommend that in order to generate a decent amount of income, individuals should participate in both cash games and tournaments with a heavy emphasis on cash games.