Definition of Ring Game
A ring game is any non-tournament poker game played with real money at stake. Ring games have no predetermined finish time, and players can enter and leave as they wish, as long as they meet table requirements.
Table requirements vary, but generally, they include a buy-in, a rake and prevent “going south,” which means removing a portion of your stack from the table in order to reduce your stakes.
Technically, a ring game must have every seat at the table filled, as opposed to being a shorthanded game. The perfect ring of players around a table is believed to be where the term originated. However, this definition has loosened over the years.
The term cash game, and to a lesser extent, the term live action game, are used as synonyms for ring game. However, the term ring game is precise, and the terms cash game and live action game can have much broader meaning.
Poker tournaments, in contrast to ring games, have a preset roster of players, a predetermined end time, and for currency, use tournament chips, which have no value outside of that tournament environment.
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