Cash games are the bread and butter format for most poker players, you sit down with your money and that’s all that you can lose. Yet there are plenty of downsides to this format of poker and it’s important to take note of some of these before putting your money on the felt.
Firstly, let’s dive into the most important of them all – the rake.
Each site you play on will have different rake structures, so best to find a good balance of value in games and rake per pot . Unlike tournaments where you just pay your initial rake fee along with your buy-in to the tournament, cash games will rake each hand you play and it is important to be wary of this.
Looking at today’s rakeback system, across low/midstakes most poker sites will be taking around 5% rake, some of this will vary depending on site. Yet each site will offer different rakeback systems. GGPoker for example you will have to play preflop rake in each pot played.
Popular content creator and poker player Bencb has shared his views on the PokerStars rakeback system.
Secondly comes the toughness of the fields in cash games. The skill level and sites you play on will certainly be the swaying factors to how tough the games are. However, in the past few years since the installment of rush poker the cash game fields have become difficult for the most part. You will find many discussions online about which are best but many poker players will have biased opinions, so be careful who you listen to!
It is also a common theme that players who do play cash games are much better at postflop play as it is usually played at a fixed stack depth. Since the release of software in the past few years it has been very easy to do as many reps with solvers at 100bb for example. On the flip side, tournament poker is very much unsolved as most spots tend to be unique, meaning you can expect to see many more mistakes for larger amounts of money!
Cash games online will be primarily harder than cash games live or even tournaments in any format, so it’s likely you can find better spots elsewhere!
Lastly is the cash game niche in itself, which year by year is not growing anywhere near to how tournaments are. As a cash player, you will have to play in accordance with other cash game players to make up the volume. Unlike tournaments which will run consistently throughout the day and almost always make up their guarantees, cash games can last five minutes, or even five hours sometimes, making it harder to manage your time effectively!
It is also consistent throughout the cash game community that there is a lot of bumhunting and RTA configurations going on regularly, likely due to the fact it is higher ev than playing against similar skill level players for less money.
Here is a short video comparing both formats from a cash game perspective.
Did you like this article?