There are two main formats used to string individual hands of poker together and organise games of poker, these are known as Cash Games and Tournaments. In principle any type of poker can be played either in a cash game or a tournament format, although some types of poker work better as one or the other. Both formats are available 24/7 at playMGM and are outlined in these last two sections of this introduction.
The name Cash Games is derived from the fact that in real-life poker rooms to play cash games you typically exchange an amount of cash for an equivalent amount in chips. This one-to-one correspondence in value makes it clear at all times how much your chips are worth. It also means that in real life players playing cash games can be seen with cash as well as chips on the poker table and on occasion cash and chips are used to make bets at the table. Cash Games are also known as Ring Games and sometimes Live Action Games.
Cash Games typically do not have any limits on the number of hands that can be strung together in a game. You can play as long or as little as you like. Also any of the parameters that could be varied typically will not change as long as you continue to play at a specific cash game table. The only exceptions are dealer’s choice games, such as the high stakes ‘Big Game’ played in ‘Bobby’s Room’ at the Bellagio in Las Vegas in which the players can choose to alternate the type of cash game played each hand. With Cash Games the only thing you need to worry about is how to beat your opponents!
Nothing quite compares to the adrenalin rush that accompanies perfectly trapping an opponent in a cash game. Knowing you have the other player beaten whilst trying to stay calm enough to figure out the best way to take as many of their chips as possible provides a truly unique rush and an unparalleled sense of satisfaction.
As well as providing an adrenalin rush Cash Games are exceptionally accessible, allowing you to jump in and drop out of a game of poker whenever you like. If you have the money and a seat is available, you can play straight away, no hassles and no fuss. At playMGM there are cash games available to suit all budgets at all times. If whilst playing you run low on chips but still want to keep your place at the table, you can buy more chips and continue playing. The excitement and accessibility of cash games makes them very popular amongst players who cannot always commit to the time frames needed to win in other formats. The Cash Game format requires a unique set of skills to master including bankroll management, keen observation, patient concentration, steady nerves, lightning-fast risk assessment and a ruthless killer instinct.
If you are completely new to cash game poker, it is advisable to proceed with caution. If you want to get used to the software before tackling real money Cash Games, there are play money trial games tables available that can give a small sense of the excitement that can be gained from playing Cash Game poker for real money stakes. Once you feel ready to play for real, you can learn a lot more with a lot less risk by playing in Limit games where the amount you can lose is restricted. Also as a general rule of thumb you should never join a cash game if you can't bring enough cash to the table to reach the maximum buy-in. If you have anything less, you probably will not have enough chips in order to be competitive. The best advice for a beginner is to approach the game as a student. You will need to have an open mind and learn how to read a hand as it unfolds, understand the strength of the cards you have been dealt and the odds for them to succeed at a showdown.
At playMGM the Cash Game formats are all to be found in the same area of the lobby. Once you have found or filtered out a table that looks interesting, you can join the game straight from the lobby.
By clicking on any table from the list you will be able to see who is already playing and the amount of money they are playing with. If there is a seat open, you can join the game directly by clicking on the yellow Play Now button or if you want to watch some of the action first, you can click the Play Now button in lobby and then click the Play Now button at the table. There are settings available that allow you to set up the table the way you prefer. Amongst other things you can add a four-colour deck, switch seats and turn the character graphics on or off.
Exactly what happens once you choose to sit down depends on the game you are playing and is explained in the relevant Poker Games Section. But one thing is certain: you will be meeting other players who think they have what it takes to outsmart you and take your chips. Because of all of the different opponents out there it makes sense to try and keep track of the opponents you run into. Therefore, in the downloadable poker software we offer you can keep notes and tag other players.