A game of poker like any other card game has different structures and wager variations. As a poker player, it’s important you understand the formats and their differences because you don’t want to be that fish trying to climb a tree. The two main formats of a poker game are cash games and tournaments.

Here’s the basic difference between the two kinds.

Poker Cash Games

Poker Tournaments

Played only on one table Played on one table, but can have multiple tables.
Players exchange real money for chips (Rs.10 = 10 chips, or 1 chip of the denomination 10). Players exchange real money for a fixed denomination of chips. Example: The buy-in for a tournament can be Rs.100, but everyone will receive a fixed denomination of 2000 chips).
The entry has a minimum and maximum buy-in amount which depends on the stakes. The entry is fixed and everyone is required to put in the same buy-in amount.
The blinds in cash games of poker remain the same. The blinds increase as per the poker tournament structure.
If you lose all your chips, you can rebuy-in and continue on the table. If you lose all your chips in a tournament, you are eliminated (freezeouts). Unless the tournament structure has a rebuy-in option for a stipulated time period (rebuy tournaments).
The chip count at the end of cash games equalizes your cash out. The chip count at the end of the tournament does not equalize your cash out. The cash out in poker tournaments depends on the prize pool and guarantees and are fixed amounts depending on the place you finish in.
A player can sit down and exit the game whenever they like. Most cash games of poker require a call time, indicating that you will be exiting the table to the other players, usually 30-45 minutes. In poker tournaments, a player must play continually until he/she runs out of their chips.

Moving on, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both poker game formats.

Poker Cash Game Poker Tournaments
Does not take up too much of your time, you can sit and leave a table anytime you want When you win, you win BIG!
Much more analytical gameplay focusing on the post-flop action Will be playing against both recreational and regular poker players
Lesser variance
Smaller bankroll
Playing against regulars will require an in-depth understanding of the game Higher variance
Lack of pay jumps which means you won’t be going from rags to riches in a single game. Time consuming
Will be raked for every pot won High bankroll requirements

How to choose the right poker game for you

With this understanding of the two popular formats of a poker game, here’s a checklist of questions to help you with your game selection:

Choose the right poker game

What are the poker games available

It’s important to be aware of the kind of poker games announced both online and live. Check out our online poker platform to understand the various game formats being offered on the app. If you want to play live in goa, you can visit our state of the art PokerBaazi Live Room aboard Casino Pride II and enjoy playing cash games of poker. However, due to the ongoing covid situation, our live room is currently not operating until further notice by the government.

Where does your poker bankroll stand

Poker tournaments require a higher bankroll commitment than cash games. If you are under-rolled for a tournament, you might want to stick to cash games and tweak your bankroll.

What’s the rake

Another deciding factor to choose a poker game is the rake. A rake is nothing but a commission fee collected by the operator for the poker game. It’s usually an average of 2.5%-10%. A live game will naturally have a higher rake since the operator has fixed expenses to cover for. If you are starting off, micro stakes tournaments are a better option.

How much time are you willing to commit

The time you set aside for a poker game is crucial for your game selection. If the hours are not flexible, you should be considering cash games. Poker tournaments are played over a longer duration that may last for hours and as such, demand increased attention of your time and patience. If you have neither at the time, we recommend not registering for it.

What are your poker skillset

At the end of the day, you know best, take time to understand your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to a game of poker and choose one that will play out to your strengths. Don’t force yourself to play a format that you do not enjoy. After all, mental satisfaction and enjoying the game inevitably helps you play better.