Cash vs. Tournament Poker
This article will guide you to choose which kind of poker game (cash or tournament) is best for your house game. I will explain the advantages and disadvantages of both types in terms of house games.
Home Poker Tournament
A Poker Tournament follows the following basic rules:
- A number of players join the game but there is only one final winner.
- Even though there is only one final winner, it doesn’t mean that only one person gets paid. Top two, three, or more can get paid at the end of the game.
- Players play until everyone but one player gets busted. That person would have all the chips in the game.
- Based on the rules set before the game, there can be rebuys or not. The advantages and disadvantages of rebuy is discussed in the Buyin Rebuy page.
- Chips in poker tournaments don’t have any real money value. It’s the final prize that everyone is after.
- You can learn more about tournament in the Poker Tournament Structure page.
Cash Home Poker Games
Ring (cash) poker games or otherwise known as follow the following basic rules:
- Chips have their true real money values. So if a player pays $100 in the beginning of the game, they get $100 worth of chip. This is the same for calling raises. If a player raises $50 in a pot, that is 50 real dollars(unlike tournaments).
- The players can buy-in or rebuy as many times as they want. However there is usually a maximum to the amount they can buy in for.
Ring (Cash) Game Advantages:
- There is usually more money circulating in ring games than in tournaments. That is because loosing players can always rebuy.
- When players lose, they can rebuy right away and get back in the action. This is unlike tournaments where the busted players have to wait around until the game is over to start another one.
Ring (Cash) Game Disadvantages:
- Playing ring games requires a larger bankroll than a tournament. There is no limit in how much one can lose in a ring (cash) poker game. This is mainly because a player can always buy-in, rebuy, or add on to his chips.
- Less players can play against each other in a cash game. A table can have a maximum of 10 players. In a tournament there can be more than one table where everyone is practically is playing against each other at some point.
- Tournaments always give a better reward for the money invested. A $20 buy in tournament with 20 players (with no rebuy) usually pays $200 to the first place. Check the Poker Payout Structure page for more info on payout and prizes.
- Tournament is usually the preferred game method for house games as more players (friends) can play against each other and join the action at a lower cost.
- Luck plays a more role in tournament than cash games. That’s a disadvantage to the better players. However mastering poker tournament games requires learning specific strategies.
- Tournaments usually take a long time. A tournament with 20 players that starts at 8pm can take up to midnight to finish.
- A poker tournament usually costs more to host. You can always divide that up between the players. Find more about the cost to host a game in the Cost to Host Poker page.