Poker Cash Games

If you’re only now entering the world of poker, the term cash games may confuse you. Aren’t all poker variants played for cash? What are cash games exactly? In simple terms, a cash game can be described as any poker game played with chips for money at a poker table.

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These games have no end time set, players can just enter and leave at their convenience. The players can also buy-in or cash out at any point between hands, although the rules don’t allow them to take a part of their chips off the table.

There are all sorts of buy-ins at different tables. Most cash games have a certain buy-in limit, although you can also find no-limit cash games where there is no boundary to the amount you buy-in for.

Poker Cash Games Format

As the name obviously suggests, cash poker games are played for real cash. They aren’t played for coupons or other prizes. Of course, they rarely feature the multi-million rewards found in poker tournaments. Cash poker games have a more social nature and are usually played in homes as well as exclusive clubs and casinos.

Yes, those poker games played between friends for cash classify as cash games. If you’re a beginner, your most likely entry into the world of poker will surely be by watching a round of cash games. Or playing one, once you master all the rules.

Cash games are also known as ring or live action games. The term ring comes from the ring table where 9 or 10 players can sit. However, cash games are usually played with up to 6 players. The so-called short-handed games of poker have become increasingly popular in online poker sites in recent years. Cash games are often played for table stakes, where putting additional money on the table in the middle of a hand is prohibited until the hand ends.

Cash games can fit any budget. We suggest starting with micro-stakes hold’em and slowly working your way up to the high-stakes games. Managing your bankroll is a key step in this process – if you don’t keep track of your bets, you might get too excited by the high-stakes no-limit games and possibly waste all your money in a short time.

In a Cash Game you have max 8 opponents in a tournament you have plenty

Cash Games vs. Poker Tournaments

Although they might look like games without rules to the untrained eye, there’s a set of rules for poker cash games players need to follow. Of course, it’s not the same set of rules that works in tournaments. There are many differences between cash games and poker tournaments which clearly separate the two.

Some players prefer to play at one table for cash, while others enjoy the thrill of tournaments. Both have their own charms and it’s up to you to decide what you want. However, you must know that both are quite different. While cash games are played for money at a single table, poker tournaments can be played on several tables and for a shared prize. In a standard tournament with a buy-in (the fee you pay to get in the event), you get a limited amount of chips that can’t be converted to cash. Most tournaments force players to continue playing until they run out of chips, while you’re able to walk away from a cash game whenever you want to.

Of course, once a player quits a cash game, he or she can convert their money to cash. Another difference between cash games and poker tournaments lies in the blinds. The blinds stay same in each hand for cash games, while escalating in poker tournaments usually every 20 minutes. If you lose your money and quit a cash game, you’re allowed to buy your way in again, unlike in poker tournaments.

As you can see, there are fundamental differences between cash poker games and poker tournaments. It’s a good idea to know all these differences before you sit at a table in order to prevent making costly mistakes.

How can I win at Poker Cash Games?

Just because they’re played with fewer players and rarely offer a prize of millions doesn’t mean that cash games are easier to play. However, they are the perfect place to start for beginners, providing they stick to a few rules. The good thing about cash games is that you can play with friends and learn with practice.

When playing for cash, it’s best to start slow, especially if you’re new to poker. Not making big bets will help keep your bankroll in check and prevent you from going bankrupt before you know it. Bankroll management is crucial for any gambling game and that includes cash poker games. Once you’re comfortable enough with the game of your choice, you can find tables with higher stakes and try playing for a bigger pot.

Playing Cash Game online can be Profitable
Playing Cash Game online can be Profitable
You’re more likely to master poker at short-handed tables with 5 or 6 players rather than a ring game. These tables will value your attitude and position, but you must also keep in mind that the opposition is pretty tough in 6-seaters. Additionally, you’re going to need a pretty deep bankroll for these tables as the games move pretty fast and the stakes are usually high. They will help you gain a deeper knowledge on poker, which will come in handy later.

When it comes to the bets, we suggest only betting when you’re good for it. If you don’t have the cash, don’t flash it, and if you decide to bluff, study your opponent closely. Remember – there are probably better players than you at the table which will never miss opportunities to get your money.

Cash games move pretty fast, so you need to take control of the situation and get the most out of each hand. The player with the most momentum wins the most in cash games, so make sure to raise pre-flops and bet on the flop again. It might seem strange in the beginning, but as you get more experienced it will start to make sense.


Remember that the learning curve in poker is a bit steep. So mistakes are bound to happen sooner or later. Don’t be too hard on yourself – just keep playing to the best of your abilities and you’ll eventually win the pot. In cash games this can mean that you’re gonna loose some money so beware what you play for.

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