There are a few differences between the rules of cash games and tournaments, but they are important to be aware of.
Whether you are playing a cash game or tournament can completely change the way you play hands optimally.
Ultimately it will come down to preference. Some like the freedoms of cash games, and others like the challenge of tournaments and risking a tiny amount to win huge.
- Players may buy in for different amounts.
- Played with actual money.
- The blinds always stay the same.
- Players can join the game, or leave the game at any time.
- Players enter for the same amount of money, and start with the same amount of chips.
- The blinds increase over time.
- Players join at the same time, and only leave when they lose all of their chips, or win the tournament.
Because of the escalating blinds in tournaments, it usually creates “shallow stack” game play, which can greatly change your strategy and the hands you play.
This means in tournaments you will see many more “all-ins” and be forced to play weaker hands sometimes.
This is because players are forced to take more chances and the blinds get very big, and their stack gets really short.
“Ivey is the best at cash games, hands down. But Chris Moorman is the best tournament player.”
TIPS TO PLAYING EACH
Play a few cash games and a few tournaments to see how these differences affect game play first hand.
Play tighter in the cash games.
Play tight in tournaments at the beginning when the blinds are small.
Play looser later in the tournaments when the blinds are large.
Take a few more chances when your stack gets shorter as the blinds increase.
LIVE VS ONLINE
This is all according to preference. If you prefer one table as well as being able to see and converse with your opponents, then you may gravitate toward live poker.
Some prefer playing from the comfort of their own home, and playing more than 1 table at a time so they may play more online poker.
Some also pride themselves on identifying physical “tells” and play live because of this. It is important to note that playing enough online, you begin to pick up patterns as well that act as tells.
There should be very little difference to your overall strategy whether you play live or online. Just pay attention to stack sizes and fundamentals.