Sit and Go, Tournament or Cash Game ?
I suppose it would be too easy to answer, “It depends.”And yet, it depends. It depends on many factors, which we’ll discuss in the following paragraphs:
How much time you have :
- Less than one hour: A SnG turbo or cash game
- 1 hour: This is the standard duration of a Sit and Go. You will go through all the phases of a tournament at high speed, the first rounds being useful for calmly increasing your stack. The turbo tournaments – at noon or at midnight – usually last about an hour as well, due to the rapid increase in blinds.
- Many hours: if time is not a deciding factor, all choices remain open to you.
- Undetermined: The cash game is the best choice if you have pressing obligations, like a better half.
Your temperament :
- You are patient, attentive, and you are in control of your emotions in the event of a hard hit: you have the profile of a 10-player cash game participant. Wait for good hands, trap your opponents, and collect their rakes.
- You like competition, the valuable rewards, and the pressure: you have the profile of a tournament player. The essence of poker is competition, but tournaments are the most gratifying form available. In fact, your victories at cash games will always be silent, whereas it’s always a pleasure to take a tournament having beaten 100, 200 or even 1000 players.
- You need action, to see many hands and to play your opponents as much as your cards: you have the profile of a short-handed player. Whether it’s a cash game or a tournament, you need to play poker with as few players as possible around the table in order to satisfy your rhythm.
According to your means, and above all your ability to deal with bad patches. Actually, it’s easier to control ones losses and to be on tilt at a tournament or SnG than at a cash game table. At a cash game table, you will probably end up losing one or more rakes and that can cost you a lot of money quickly. At a SnG or tournament table, it’s easier to control one’s losses. By the same token, though, the cash game tends to be more lucrative for a good player.
Your previous experience
You may have discovered poker through television, an ad, or more likely through a friend who gave you the poker bug. Hence, you get into the habit of playing the same way you began. My advice is to test all three types of poker, because they provide sufficiently different experiences in terms of diverse and complementary sensations. Enjoying SnGs, tournaments, or cash games depends on a complex chemistry within the player, which responds differently depending on many factors.
Try each type for at least a few hours in order to find out where you’ll be most comfortable. Don’t limit yourself to one type of game without having tried the others at least once, or you may miss out on the type of poker you’re best at.
You’ll hear some players swear by tournaments. Others will play 8 SnGs at the same time and make a living off it. But most players win at cash games. To me, the cash game is real poker, the kind that will make you improve your game in every aspect and will help you to discover the subtlety of this magnificent game.
I therefore advise you to divide your time in the following manner :
- 60% for cash games.
- 20% for SnGs.
- 20% for tournaments.
Keep in mind that the most important is to keep the game fun so that poker remains a passion – one that may bring in a little money now and then, but above all a passion.