Difference Between Cash Games & Poker Tournaments

Difference Between

Cash Games & Poker Tournaments

Difference Between Cash Game & Poker Tournaments Video

One of the most frequently asked questions you’ll hear from aspiring poker players is whether to focus on poker tournaments or cash games. Which one to choose?

This video & article helps you take a more informed decision and understand what the major differences are.


Cash games are best for those players who want to make small amount of money steadily. On the other hand, tournaments can help you make huge profits every once in a while.  If you have the guts to handle variance, you can make great profits in long run by playing poker tournaments.


A cash game is played only on one table. Single Table tournaments (SNGs) are played on one table but MTTs require multiple tables because of the large number of participants.


Online and offline poker rooms host cash games regularly which you can join and exit anytime you want. A tournament begins on a set scheduled time and the player needs to register themselves first to enter the tournament. Tournament ending time also cannot be estimated as it depends on the total registrations and how long the participants manage to survive in the tournament. The tournament ends only when only one winner remains who earns all the chips in play by eliminating all opponents.


There is a minimum and maximum buy-in limit and players pay money to buy chips in cash games. In tournament format, every player needs to pay a specific amount as a buy-in to enter the tournament. They receive an equal number of chips to play the game.


In cash games, the blind levels stay always the same no matter how many hands you play. In tournaments, the blinds increase steadily (For ex. – in every 10 minutes) to speed up the action on the tables. In addition to blinds, players need to also put antes which increases the value of the pot.


While playing cash games, if you lose all your chips, you can purchase more chips to continue playing. In a tournament, the re-buy option is available only for a specific time period. Once the re-buy period ends, the player cannot enter again in the tournament. In freeze-ou tournaments, re-buy option is not available. If the player loses his stack, he is out of the competition.


In a cash game, if a player wins the pot, he can walk away from the table with the entire prize amount. However, in tournaments, the 1st prize winner gets the largest part of the total prize pool while other In the Money players receive a portion of the prize pool on the basis of their rank in the game.

You can make great profits by playing any of these formats. Both variants put your mindset, skills, and experience to test in their own way. Paying attention to factors like position, table image, opponent’s behavior (playing style and chip stack), etc is crucial in both formats but the key to success is always the same – Focus, Discipline, and Patience.


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