When you play poker whether it be online or live there are two main formats that you can play: poker tournaments and cash games (also known as ring games.) In another article on this website we focus on tournament poker, but this article will aim to offer you a much better understanding of cash games.
What are cash games in poker all about? In cash games, every player will get the amount equal to the cash they’ve given to the poker room for chips to play with. These chips represent real money, not a player’s position in a field of players.
Unlike multi-table tournaments, cash games don’t start at a specific time and they run around the clock as long as there is at least two opponents at the table. So they provide a much more flexible alternative to multi-table tournaments for time poor players, as it’s possible to play whenever and for however long you would like to. If you become a cash game specialist, they can also be a very profitable game to play.
Types of Poker Cash Game
Ring game tables are available in heads-up, 6-max, and full-ring formats. A cash game with just two opponents is considered a heads-up game and these games are very popular online. But by far the most popular online poker cash games are 6-max games. As its name implies, these games have a maximum of 6 players at the table and are considered short-handed, since they have fewer opponents than their full-ring counterparts. Full ring poker games have a maximum of 9-10 players at the table. This is the common ring game format at land-based casinos, but of course you can also play full-ring games at online poker sites.
It may not be obvious at first especially if you don’t have much if any experience with each cash game format but the number of opponents at the table can drastically change the way the cash game is played. Heads-up and 6-max games will typically play a lot more aggressively than full ring games. With fewer opponents at the table, the starting hand requirements go down. And with typically fewer players that see the flop, it also means there is less of a chance for players to have much of a hand after the flop, so the first player to show interest in the pot can often win it, and this lends itself to a more aggressive game.
There are many online players from around the world that love to play cash games. The most common games spread in the cash games lobby at one of the hundreds of real money poker sites available is Texas Holdem and Omaha and this is where you will find the majority of the ring game traffic will be. This is good news for No Limit Holdem and Pot Limit Omaha cash game players, since it means there will always be quite a few tables running at any particular limit.
Cash Games for New Players
Are you new to playing online poker cash games? If you are, there is no reason to feel intimidated about jumping straight into these games online. The truth of the matter is that many online cash game players are novices just wanting to play poker for a bit of fun. Online poker cash games are a great environment for beginning players to experience different poker games without feeling the pressure which is often associated with playing poker at brick-and-mortar casinos. Given the wide range of ring game stakes that you can play at online poker rooms, it encourages lots of new players to give cash games a try. And even if you drop a buy-in or two at the micro stakes, which is bound to happen when you’re just learning the ropes, it will hardly have a significant impact on your bankroll.
There are many micro stakes cash game tables that start from as little as $0.01/$0.02 and this is often the case at any of the top online poker rooms. This is perfect for newbies that perhaps don’t feel confident playing with a lot of money but still want the experience of real money poker. And there are active ring game poker tables running 24/7, so you can basically find cash game action any time of the day. Considering you can leave a cash game at any time, it makes it a perfect game for many players who are looking to fit poker around their busy schedule and who don’t have hours to dedicate to playing a tournament.
So if you’re feeling like playing some No Limit Texas Hold’em, pick your favourite poker room and fire up a few cash tables, and then if you wish to switch things up to Omaha, that is possible too. Even better, most online poker sites have other variations of poker in the ring games section that you can play, including variations of poker you can't typically find at brick-and-mortar venues. And when multi-tabling, it’s even possible to play multiple poker games at the same time.
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