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Texas Holdem: Difference Between Cash Games and Tournaments

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Poker101 Article Collection

The Poker101 video series starts from the very beginning and covers the very basic of poker strategy. As the video series progresses, the strategy gets progressively more advanced. The Poker101 article collection complements the video series as an easy go-to guide for learning Texas Hold'em.

Poker101 Lesson 2: The Variations of Cash Games and Tournaments

There are a dozen or more different ways you can play Texas Hold'em either online or at home with your friends and family. The two main categories are either: Cash Games or Tournaments.

Cash Game Options

A cash game (also known as ring game) is where players sit at a table and play for real money. The bets and raises that players make are with real money, or with chips that represent an equal dollar amount of real money.

No Limit Hold'em cash games typically come in only 3 different games: Limit (LHE), No Limit (NLHE) and Pot Limit (PLHE). When playing online, players can find cash games from $0.01/$0.02 to way up to $500/$1000 and every limit and level in between.

Tournament Options

A tournament is where players buy in with a set amount of money which is the most that anyone playing the tournament can lose. Play in tournaments continue until there is only 1 player left, with the total prize pool divided up to the top contenders.

No Limit Hold'em tournaments can have a variety of table options and other variations from a range of buy-in to the number of players. A tournament with a fixed amount of players with 180 or less entrants is typically referred to as a Sit N Go (SNG) Tournament. Tournaments with more than 180 entrants or that feature a guaranteed prize pool are referred to as "Multi-Table Tournamnets" (MTTs). SNG and MTT Tournament Strategy differs in several aspects but they also share similarities in how to play them correctly.

Number of Players

Both tournaments and cash games can be played with different number of players. The common games online feature 2, 6, 9 or 10 players for single table play and can go as high as 10,000 players or more for multi-table tournament play. A full ring cash game or tournament consists tables with either 9 or 10 players; a 6-max cash game or tournament consists of tables with 6 players; and a heads-up cash game or tournament consists of tables with only 2 players.

This has been an overview of the types of games you can play online in Texas Hold'em. Our next article will discuss the different poker hand rankings.

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