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Online Texas Hold’em – Cash Games verses Tournaments (Play Video Poker)
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Online Texas Hold’em – Cash Games verses Tournaments

August 22nd, 2006

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I received an email recently from a reader who was bragging that her Texas Hold’em game play has greatly improved, since she started playing in online sit & go tournaments. She went on to say that not only does she feel like she is a better player, she enjoys playing a lot more now that she’s gotten over her initial fear of sitting in at a poker tourney. This is not uncommon and there are a couple of logical reasons why.

First, when you’re playing in a cash game, it’s possible to lose your entire bankroll on a single hand. When this happens, you’ll have to make an additional deposit before you can play again. In tournament play, your entry fee buys you a certain number of chips (1,500 is a typical amount), if you go all in and lose, you’ve simply lost your entry fee and you most likely will still have some money left in your bankroll. Also, in most tourney’s multiple players will finish “in the money”. For example, in a typical single table sit & go tourney, the top three finishers will earn something. Meaning, if you make it through to the final three, you’ll win back your entry fee plus a little something extra.

Next, when you’re playing in a cash game; players tend to come and go. It’s frustrating to just start getting a read on a particular player then have them simply up and leave the table. Further, a new player is usually pretty quick to hop in and take their place. Now, you have to start watching this new player and hope you can get a read on their style of play before they also take off. This doesn’t happen in tournaments as players who leave prior to the end of the simply lose. Also, tournaments are closed once play has begun so there is no worry of a new player sitting in.

Finally, just as you’re trying to get a read on the other players at your table, the other players are trying to get a read on you. It takes time to cultivate the appropriate table reputation. It makes sense for your opponents to head for an easier table, if they see you dominating the table in a cash game. Once again, this is not an issue in tournament play as leaving the table means forfeiting any chance of winning.

So as you can see, if you’re a “thinking player”, it makes perfect sense that your game will improve once you try tournament play. I’d advise any newbie poker player to first study the basics of the game then learn a tight Texas Hold’em strategy, then jump in to the exciting world of tournaments.

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