…about those Cash games?
This is probably what most of you think of when you think of playing Texas Hold‘em. You sit down at a table with other people (up to 9 besides yourself, although this will vary as people drop out and come into the game) and play poker. The amount of money you bring to the game is up to you. Depending on the dollar amount you have selected, there will be a minimum and a maximum that you can bring to the table to start.
For example, a $1-$2 game means that the small blind ante is $1 and the big blind is $2. In a game such as this, you will commonly see a $30 minimum starting chip balance and maybe $100 max. This is simply to keep very big stacked players from sitting down with $1500 and dominating the game by the shear fact that they out number you in chips by such a large margin. Again, we will discuss in later chapters playing with small and large stacks of chips. This is also not to say that a player cannot sit at that table for a long period of time and accumulate a big stack. You will invariably see this. Bilbo3 has $45 in chips while Oldman552 has $360.
Cash games are fun, but don’t be fooled by a table with small blinds. Remember we are talking about No Limit Hold‘em. A game with $1-$2 blinds can cost you all of your chips in seconds when your opponent pushes all-in. The main difference between as cash game and a tournament is that the blinds stay the same in a cash game. In a tournament, they increase at every given time point. But, in a cash game, if the blinds are $2 and $4 when you sit down at the table, they will still be $2 and $4 if you are sitting there six hours later. As you will see in later chapters, this makes a big difference in your strategy. You can afford to be pickier in a cash game than you can at certain points of a tournament.
So…what is a Sit ‘n’ Go
Personally, I love the Sit and Go (Sit ‘n’ Go). As the name implies, you sit down at a table (by this I mean pay your buy-in) and when the tournament fills up with the specified number of players, you go. (Start playing.) They come in all sorts and sizes, the smallest being 2 players (heads-up), 9 players, 18 players, and on up. There are 45 player Sit ‘n’ Go’s with a $1+.20 buy in and there are 180 player Sit-n-Go’s with a $20+$2 buy in. Obviously, the smaller number of people playing means there are less you have to eliminate, but there is less money at stake as well.
For example, in a $6.50 sit-n-go ($6 goes into the pot and .50 is the rake, or the money the “casino” or in this case, the poker site, keeps) typically the top 4 players are awarded money, $43 for 1st, , $28 for 2nd, $18 for 3rd, and $13 for 4th.
Everyone else finishes “out of the money”. The nice thing, especially for beginners, about the Sit-n-Go, is that you can only lose a specified amount of money (your buy in). You get Hold‘em experience, priceless tournament experience and you know you won’t be out more than 6 bucks! That’s a pretty good deal when you are first starting out. I HIGHLY recommend these types of games to get your feet wet with internet poker.
Cash games at whatever level you are playing can cost you some major dollars in a hurry if someone sucks out on you when their A-7 hits a pair of 7s after your A-K had them dominated! In the case of Sit-N-Go’s you lose some chips or bust out of the tournament and you are only out your buy in. Another Sit-N-Go is always right around the corner and in this day and age, you usually don’t even have to wait more than a few minutes for it.
These tournaments do vary, but as a general rule of thumb, each player will start with 1500 worth of chips. We will get into Sit ‘n’ Go’s of more chips and different amounts of players in depth in later chapters. For now, know that these tourneys give you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of experience and they can also be quite profitable. I have made quite a lot of money over the years playing Sit-N-Go’s. They are also a great option in terms of time, which is one of the main reasons I play them frequently. You can just about tell how long (within a reasonable parameter) a Sit-N-Go will last and when you just plain don’t have hours to sit and play, these are a fun way to get your poker “fix” and make a few quick bucks!
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