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The first part of this article was focused mostly on money issues; the article given below is supposed to explore the differences in the play itself.
The value of a single chip is one of the essential differences between cash game and tournament play. Playing cash games you can be very liberal with your chips.
Cash poker games, because of their static blinds and the option to buy more chips at any time, tend to suit more conservative poker players. The never-increasing blinds allow them to sit back and wait for big hands with which they hope to win massive pots.
In a tournament, you have no ability to refill your stack and it makes this play a poor decision. Your entire tournament life depends on each chip. You chances to survive this competition and win are proportional to the number of chips you have. Tournament poker play forces aggression to some extent, as the blinds and antes are constantly on the rise.
For the reasons previously stated, if you want to be successful in tournaments, you should be considerably more conservative with your chips than you may be in a cash game.
Exploring the discrepancies between these two kinds of poker we can’t but mention a play style . It is shown clearly when a player is short stacked. Thus, the constant pressures of raising blinds make a weak/tight style a guaranteed way to get blinded away to tournament death. The best way to play in order to be a winner in the majority of tournaments is a classic style of being tight/aggressive.
Many players may disagree with the next recommendation, but experts would stand for it Avoid looking for a coin flip playing a cash game. If we wanted to rely only on fortune, we would go to play roulette, for example. The whole reason we play poker is to allow ourselves to put in our money when the odds are in our favor.
You may continue playing cash games during unlimited period of time. Of course there will be better moments to put your money in than a coin flip. The only times it is possible to justify taking coin flips is when they serve you as a tool to manipulate table image. Making the other players believe that you are going to take a coin flip at any time decreases probability that they will make large moves against you pre-flop.
However, in a tournament, if you are willing to reach the final table you will have to take multiple coin flips. Use the “standard” style of play in a tournament adjusting your aggression and hand requirements along with the ratio of your stack to the total sum of the blinds.
In the early stages of a tourney you can afford to be very tight hoping for large hands to come to you. If those hands don’t come, sooner or later you’ll be forced to find a hand to push pre-flop with.
Don’t forget that many other players are feeling just like you. There always be someone who is willing to make a call in this situation.
You should know that there is no a unified way to play a tournament.
Finally, it is necessary to admit such a phenomenon of the tournament poker as playing on the bubble . When there is one person (or a small few in a very large tournament) left to bust before the remaining players enter the top of the winners it is called the bubble of a tournament
The larger tournament you participate in, the closer you have approached to the end, the more you fear being one who knocked out before the money. When entering the bubble and especially when the bubble bursts, the dynamics of the tournament change completely.
It is common for the majority of the field to completely “rock up” on the bubble. It’s hard to find a player who would be willing to take a coin flip during the bubble, unless there will be a danger of elimination as a result of not taking the flip.
That is why; this is where the seasoned pros will seriously pad their own chip stacks. You should be able to pick up multiple blinds every orbit until the bubble bursts in case if none of the players on your table is willing to call any large bets.
Finally, there has to be a certain mindset to play in cash games or to play in a poker tournament. The goal of a poker tournament is to win the tournament. The goal of a cash game is to make as much money as you can. In a cash game the odds and probabilities matter much more then in a tournament. In a tournament the luck matters a lot more then in a cash game. So, as a beginner, you may find yourself having much more fun in tournaments than in cash games.