Poker cash games are what most people think of when they speak of the game of poker. These may also be called poker ring games or live action games. At a cash game, anyone can come and sit down in an open seat to play. You will have to ‘buy-in,’ which simply means changing some actual cash into poker chips. There may be some rules about minimum and maximum amounts of cash that can be converted into chips, but all cash games specify that you may only use chips and only those chips in front of you. You are not able to convert cash into chips during the middle of a hand.
Online cash games differ from tournament games in the respect of how long they take. A player may sit for 1 hand or 1,000 hands. As long as you do not leave in the middle of a hand, you may play as much or as little as you like. Unlike tournaments, the blinds will never be raised, and you really never have to worry about being eliminated or eliminating another player. Additionally, the chips used in online poker cash games have actual cash value, unlike tournament chips, which are only used as counters and to measure ones position or place in the competition.
Cash Game Rules:
- Player may only use real cash-value poker chips, no actual cash may be used at the table.
- Players must ‘buy-in’ to the game, by converting their cash into chips. Usually there are minimum and maximum buy-in amounts. For example, a $100 minimum, $500 maximum. There may also be restrictions placed on re-buys, including requiring you to have played for a certain amount of time.
- Players are allowed to come and go as they wish, provided that no one leaves in the middle of a hand. In certain situations, players may reserve or request that a seat be held for them (for example, while they take a bathroom break, or if the entire table agrees on a dinner break, with play to resume at a set time).
- No chips may be removed from the table, except in preparation to cash-out and convert back into cash.
- The casino may take a ‘rake,’ which is either a set amount, or a percentage, of each pot that is played. Some casinos only take this if a flop is shown, or some other conditions are met. In other cases, the casino may require a ‘seat charge’ from players, based on the amount of time played.
- Standard poker rules are used, including the ranks of hands.
Cash Game Poker Strategies:
Many tournament poker players have a difficult time re-adjusting back to cash game poker play, since the strategies can be radically different. In a cash game, you are not interested in eliminating players, or trying to beat everyone at the table. Since the blinds never increase, you are never really forced to gamble or take extra chances.
Of course, specific strategies differ a bit depending on the actual game you play. For example, in limit holdem, you really need to play tight-aggressive. In other words, be very conservative about the type of starting hands that you will play. This requires enough discipline to just sit back and wait.
The best strategic advice anyone can give regarding cash poker games, is to play the other players as much as the cards. Poker is a game of high skill and not only luck. It is because of the human factor. Anyone can learn to calculate all the odds of drawing to a 4 card straight with 2 cards remaining to be dealt. But, if you know that 2 of your opponents are very timid players, a large bet may be just the thing to force them to fold.
Cash Game Poker Tips:
Here are just a few tips to help improve your play in online poker cash games:
- Be aware of position—the general rule here is that the later you need to act, the more liberal your starting requirements may be.
- Press every statistical advantage you—No matter how small. You need to see this as a marathon, not a sprint.
- Cash games are like roller-coaster—you will have huge highs and big lows. Expect it.
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Gavin writes on a wide range of subjects, including articles and reviews about online casinos, slots, bingo, poker, and sportsbooks. He has considerable expertise in the games, customer service, and other aspects of today’s leading gambling and betting portals.