Having been played during the eras of ancient China and Persia, poker has been around for centuries, which is why so many people from different generations are familiar with it. However, few would have predicted the game’s evolution to its current worldwide accessibility. While many would say that poker cash games led to the prominence of this timeless casino game today, online poker is bringing this popular game to an even wider audience.
For many, cash games were their introduction to poker, allowing them to socialize and interact with other poker enthusiasts. To this day, poker cash games remain a popular choice in homes, clubs and poker rooms around the globe. Fortunately, it’s also evolved into the digital era, which has allowed gamblers to play poker for cash from the comfort of their home anytime they’d like.
So, what exactly are poker cash games and how do they differ from poker tournaments? Let’s find out!
What Are Poker Cash Games?
As the name suggests, poker cash games are played with the aim of being rewarded in cold, hard cash. While some poker variants may reward you in chip or coupon equivalents, that’s not the case with cash games.
Online poker cash games can be played as normal casino table games or live dealer casino games. The option to play live poker online has made it more accessible to people worldwide. In fact, the convenience and flexibility of online gameplay, coupled with the potential to win big, is a drawcard for both novice and experienced poker players.
Moreover, recent developments have allowed players to play poker online with friends. This exciting innovation contributes to the social aspect of online poker games – something that is becoming more prevalent in the modern world.
The Difference Between Poker Cash Games and Poker Tournaments
A hotly debated topic among poker players is whether a poker cash game or an online tournament is the better choice for you.
To choose between poker cash games and poker tournaments, you need to understand how the two differ. Where players exchange money for chips in cash games, with a minimum and maximum buy-in amount, that’s not the case with tournaments. You may buy in again and continue playing if you lose your chips/money in a cash game. The chances of winning can be endless.
In tournaments, players buy in for the same amount and are all usually given the same amount of tournament chips. And once you lose all your chips, you can no longer play. Also, succeeding in a poker tournament typically entails competing against a large number of opponents, whereas online poker cash games tend to limit the number of players to five to eight per table.
Historically, winning a tournament is far more fruitful but requires more time on the table. For beginners, starting your online poker journey through cash games is the best way to gain experience, learn – and enjoy – the game and experience success. With less opposition, your chances of winning are higher.
It’s best to consider participating in online tournaments only when you become more experienced and understand the game’s nuances. Otherwise, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the opposition and the fast-paced nature of tournaments.
How To Win Online Poker Cash Games
Wondering how to win online poker cash games? It’s not as complex as you think.
Maintaining a level of spontaneity is the best way to keep your opposition on their toes. Without it, you risk being predictable and having the opposition know your every move. For instance, if you’re constantly folding and only play when holding a strong hand, you’ll find it harder to build the pot, as players will fold based on the perception that you only play with good hands.
Mixing up your betting with bluffs, raises, folds and calls is the best way to keep the opposition guessing. Begin each game by playing tight and get looser as the game goes on. Why? Because you will be playing against players of all skill levels. Let the novices make the mistakes first so that you’re sitting at the table at the end. The same applies to online tournaments.
How To Protect Your Hand During a Cash Game
Let’s face it; nobody likes losing. This is especially true in cash games because of what’s at stake – money! Getting a good grasp of cash games can put you a few steps ahead in both live and online poker tournaments. Improving your cash game strategy can make you a better poker player because you become better with practice. Unlike online and live poker tournaments, cash games can provide a steady income and allow you to hone your skills.
Ready to up your gameplay? Consider these poker tournament tips to improve your chances of winning at cash games.
1. Prepare and Warm Up Before Playing
Once you understand that poker is a game that relies on mental strength and strategy, you’ll want to prepare yourself well before a game or tournament. This involves noting some of your common mistakes and eliminating any distractions that may impact your mental steadiness.
2. Pay Attention To Position
The bigger the stack sizes get, the more attention you need to pay to your hands. Being out of position is a disadvantage if you aren’t short-stacked. It gives your opponent a chance to see what decision you make before they must make their own.
3. Bet When You Have a Strong Hand
The stakes are high in cash games, so you must tread carefully. Be careful with hands like ace-king (also known as The Big Slick) and don’t bet if your opponent can swoop in and easily beat you. On the other hand, if you decide to bluff, be strategic about it and the opponent you choose. Stick to your story and play as though you really do have the hand you’re pretending to have.
4. Try to 3-Bet Often
Conservative players tend to only 3-bet when they have a premium hand, but this makes it easier to be outsmarted and outplayed. Three-betting puts your opponent in a difficult position and makes it that much harder for them to make decisions, so do it more often. Three-betting reduces the average number of players in a pot while also allowing you to identify weaker players. This can help you strategize and gain the upper hand over them.
5. Check the Flop in Multiway Pots
In multiway pots, you should play with fewer hands than in a heads-up pot. The more players who see the flop, the stronger the hands you should check with.
6. Check-Raise Your Strongest Hands After Defending Your Big Blind
After successfully defending your big blind, you should start building your pot in the hopes of getting all in by the river. Do this by check-raising your strongest hand and being very mindful of the board texture when check-raising.
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