Cash Games for Beginners: How to Play and Ace this Poker Game Format

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As you get deeper into poker, you’ll want to venture into different variants of the game to test your skills. Poker is typically played in one of two formats—cash games or tournaments—each with its own rules, strategies, and challenges.

Most online poker sites offer both of these formats, so if you want to try your hand at either of them, we recommend you sign up for a platform like GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room. They offer a wide variety of poker games and stakes, so you can start small and work your way up as you gain more experience and become more confident in your poker game.

If you’re uncertain about which poker format to try first, we suggest starting with cash games. They’re a great way to learn the ropes and get a feel for the game without committing a lot of time or money.

Check out our crash course below to learn how to play poker cash games and ace this poker format.

What are cash games?

Cash games are poker games where players can cash out at any time or play until they run out of poker chips. They have no set time limit, and players can come and go as they please.

In most poker cash games, the blinds (mandatory bets that must be made by the first two players to the left of the dealer) stay the same for the duration of the game. This contrasts with poker tournaments, where the blinds increase at set intervals as the tournament progresses.

The aim of cash games is simply to win as many chips as possible since, in this type of poker, chips have real-money value.

In comparison, tournament poker revolves around playing until only one player remains and takes home the bulk of the prize pool.

Cash games are a classic poker format often considered the best way to learn poker since they allow you to quickly get in and out of a game and play for as long or as short as you want. Poker tournaments require players to commit more time.

In terms of potential earnings, tournaments usually offer larger prizes since they combine all of the participants’ buy-ins into the prize pool, and the winner takes home the entire sum.

Cash games don’t have prize pools; players can only win (or lose) as much as the players have bought in. But they can also be a great way to expand your bankroll if you can play and win consistently.

How do cash games work?

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Cash games are played on poker tables with anywhere from two to 10 players. The most popular variations are Texas Hold’em and Omaha, but you can also find Seven-Card Stud and other variants on some poker sites.

In cash games, players buy in for a set amount of money and receive an equal number of poker chips. The game then proceeds as usual, with players taking turns betting, calling, raising, or folding until there is a winner.

Players who run out of chips can either buy more or leave the game. If a player wants to cash out, they exchange their chips for real money with the poker room at the current rate.

The game’s stakes determine the value of each chip. For example, in a $1/$2 No-Limit Hold’em cash game, the small blind is $1, and the big blind is $2. The chips would have values of $1, $2, $5, $25, and so on, up to the highest denomination, usually $100.

The maximum and minimum buy-in will differ from poker room to poker room and depend on the game’s stakes.

What stakes can I play for?

In poker cash games, you’ll find a range of stakes to choose from. The most common are small-stakes games, which usually have buy-ins of $0.25 to $1 for online games and $1 to $6 for live matches.

These are great for players who are just starting or don’t want to risk too much money. But you can also find higher stakes games with buy-ins of $100 or more.

Tips for acing cash games

Now that you know the basics of poker cash games, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of them:

1) Play tight.

In cash games, it’s prudent to be selective with the hands you play. Stick to betting and raising only when you have premium card combinations.

Medium-strength hands are pretty solid combinations, but they can put you in a tight spot if other players call or raise your bets. You can use them to bluff-catch your opponents instead.

2) Three-bet when you have a premium hand.

If you’re dealt a premium starting hand like QQ and AK, maximize their value by three-betting before the flop. Balance your range by bluffing with suited connectors that could potentially hit a straight or a flush on later streets.

3) Make a float play when you’re in position in a heads-up match.

If you’re playing against a single opponent and they check instead of c-bet on the flop, seize the chance to take down the pot with a float bet. A float bet involves calling a bet with a weak hand in the hopes of bluffing on a later street.

Weaker players often fall for this bluff since they fail to protect their checking ranges.

4) Cash in on limpers.

Limpers are players who bet the minimum required to stay in the hand. Most limpers are weak players, so you can take advantage of their tendencies by betting or raising over them with a wider range of hands. This will allow you to seize their stack or a portion of it.

Give cash games a try today!

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Poker cash games are a great way to learn poker and grow your money simultaneously. They offer a more relaxed and flexible poker experience than tournaments, and you can find games with a wide range of stakes to suit your budget. So why not give cash games a try today?