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Advantages of Playing Cash Games over Tournaments

Poker Cash Games

While the majority of the poker world prefers to play online poker tournaments, there are many people that focus exclusively on cash games. Today, let’s discuss a few advantages of playing cash game poker over tournament poker. For the purposes of this article, we are assuming the game of choice is NL Hold’em.

Availability of Games is Greater

As a whole, there are always cash games running in most casinos and online card rooms around the world. As such, a player can always find a game if they are a cash game player.

Granted, there are usually tournaments running around the clock on online poker sites, but if you are a live player, your choices in tournaments will be somewhat limits. On the other hand, you can almost always find a cash game of some type going down in the poker room. In addition, you can usually find a game any time of day, 365 days a year.

Play as Little or as Much as You Want

One of the biggest advantages of cash games over tournaments is the freedom to play whenever you feel like it and for however long you want. If you start playing in a cash game and get tired, or get sick, or someone sits down that you would rather not deal with, you can leave. You cannot really do so in a tournament. Yes, you could leave, but you are more or less forfeiting your entry fee.

Competition is Usually Softer – Especially Live

The majority of poker literature since the poker boom has focused on tournaments. As such, your average poker tournament player is relatively skilled. On the other hand, cash game players do not tend to be as experienced or as studied as your average tournament player.

One reason is that many of your cash game players, especially at low stakes are looking to have fun and aren’t overly concerned with making a profit. Online cash game players can run really soft as well due to the fact that many players are not overly concerned with the stakes. When someone is sitting at .05 – .10 NL with $5 or $10, they usually aren’t going to play as tight as if they were sitting with $500 at a $2-$4 NL game. Weaker players mean more profits for the solid player.

Perks Earned Quicker by Cash Game Players

Comps in live poker and rakeback in online poker are the two forms or perks that cash game players have a large advantage over tournament players. In most live casinos, tournament players are not able to earn comps towards their play. Cash game players earn money, points, rooms, and other perks via their play.

Online cash game players as a whole tend to earn rakeback at a much higher rate than tournament players. The reason behind this is that cash game players earn rake on each hand of poker played where tournament players earn rakeback based on tournament fees paid. Factor in multi-tabling and cash players end up with a huge advantage.

That advantage has created a breed of player known as “rakeback grinders.” These players are typically break-even players at best, but they play so many hands they end up receiving huge rakeback payments, sometimes exceeding six-figures in a year or more.

Whether you are a tournament player or a cash game player will boil down to your motivation and style of play. Some are interested in the “big score” and the fame that comes with playing tournament poker. Others are more concerned with a steady income and are more accustomed to grinding at the tables. Whichever path you choose, with

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