Why Tournaments Are Way Better than Cash Games

3 weeks ago
Tournaments or Cash Games
08 Nov

We all go back and forth between the two formats, both have their pros and cons, but let’s dive into why tournaments have the upper hand over cash games.

Firstly, tournaments provide a certain level of security when buying into a tournament. You pay your money and that’s all you can lose. Unlike cash games where you can buy into a cash game where you don’t have much of an edge, and consistently lose to the same person over and over again.

However, this has changed in recent years and it could be said that the same thing is happening in tournaments.

Second, the reward to mistake ratio is a lot better for tournaments, you may make a mistake deep in a tournament, get rewarded, and still have a high chance of winning the tournament. Yet in a cash game, you’ll have a small reward for some percentage of the pot and that’s all that it will be worth.

Take this Sunday million anniversary winner who turned his pocket change into a fortune:

One very important difference between online poker cash games and tournaments is the level of difficulty. Cash game players will give you a much harder time these days, especially in Zoom formats!

Likely due to the easy access to playing online and how quick it is to make a buck, the online cash game streets have become much tougher in recent years.

On the other hand, at tournaments you will find a bunch of recreationals looking for that gambling rush. They’ll become impatient with knowing how long the tournament has to last and will find it harder to remain disciplined.

That follows on to the next reason why you should play tournaments, as you need a very high level of competence to compete in cash games these days.

Cash game players are much more able to handle their mental ability at the tables and will fight you right to the end due to the smaller fields they are playing in. The smaller the field, the harder the competition!

The Ante

A major consideration when comparing the cash and tournament poker. Tournaments will boil your stack down quickly and you will easily get run over! Phil Helmuth made some interesting points on this subject:

Where is the money at?

Many poker players would argue amongst themselves about where the most value is in poker, and there still is not a definitive answer, although there are some points to add.

For instance, finding a seat in underground cash games with rich businessmen is certainly a profitable direction.

Yet taking the same route online is much different, you will need to be highly skilled to win in these fields.

Tournaments (unless they are 100k buy-ins) you will find little resistance both live and online, as anyone can still win a tournament and the reward for winning just won tournament will make you want to play even more.

With live tournaments still being a little bit softer, you won’t find insanely juicy spots like you would in some private cash games. Games like these for example: 

Mostly, for the average poker player they want to enjoy how and when they play poker, and you can definitely make strong cases for both formats.

Tournaments will give you more of that ‘journey’ feeling when you win, whereas cash games you will have to grind out to make the big money and you will experience resistance from other players in doing so.

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James from Fife in the UK, is a semi-professional poker player who comes from an online cash and tournament background. He likes to express his passion for poker in his writing.Read more


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