Difference Between Poker Tournaments and Cash Games

Poker is unquestionably one of the most popular casino games in the world. Much of its appeal has to do with the fact that poker is a game of strategy and luck. Most other casino games merely rely on a whole lot of probability and luck on the part of the player. But since poker is a competitive game that pits players against one another, players have more control when it comes to dictating the direction of the game. This level of complexity and competition has allowed the game to grow in immense popularity through the centuries that it’s been played. 

(Image: WSOP)

The game is played by people all over the world. It can be found in Europe, America, Asia, and Australia online casinos because there’s always a high demand for it. These days, almost all online casinos should always offer up poker tables for online gamblers. Poker has cemented itself as a staple in any kind of casino, whether it is online or offline.

Now, while there are already dozens of variations of poker, there are two specific match styles that will be discussed in this article: cash games and tournaments.

Cash Games

This is the type of match format that most people typically play when they’re first starting out at poker. To play in cash games, a player would have to exchange their cash with poker chips that they can use to place bets in the game. A player can always opt to enter a game at any moment as long as there’s a free seat at the table. In a cash game, a player can also opt to leave the table whenever they want along with however many chips they have remaining. Players have more control over how much time they want to spend playing cash games.

Tournaments

Tournaments often involve a higher number of players than cash games. In most cases, tournaments will incorporate multiple tables into a single event. All players must pay a standard buy-in in order to participate in the tournament. Then, each player is handed the same amount of chips at the start of the match. Once a player loses all their money, they are typically not allowed to buy-in again and are officially eliminated from the tournament. Usually, only the top players left in the tournament will be entitled to winnings.

Quick Recap

  • Cash games are played on just a single table with people coming in and out of games whenever they please. Tournaments are typically made up of multiple tables that decrease over time as players get eliminated from the competition. 
  • Cash games usually have a minimum and maximum buy-in amount and players exchange their cash for chips to play in the game. Players can choose how much they want to buy-in for within the specified parameter. Tournaments have a fixed buy-in and sometimes, an optional re-buy in the middle of the tournament.
  • Players in cash games can quit the game at any time and exchange their poker chips for actual cash. Tournament players can’t take their chips with them should they decide to quit in the middle of the tournament. Tournament players are only awarded a certain amount of chips depending on how well they finished in the tournament.
  • Cash games have blinds and antes that typically stay the same all the time. Tournaments typically increase the table blinds and antes at regular intervals in order to speed up the game play.


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