Published on May 17th, 2007 8:25 pm EST

When I am trolling the message boards, reading up on the latest happenings in the world of poker, I always come across this particular argument: who are the better all-around poker players; cash game pros or tournament pros?

cash game poker playersThere are people that would argue passionately for both sides of the argument. Who would fare better.. cash game players playing in tournaments, or tournament players playing in cash games?

In tournament poker, there is more of an element of luck compared to a deep-stacked cash game. Stack size, blinds, proximity to the bubble are all things that can make a decision pretty easy in tournament poker. If the blinds are 400/800, you hold K Q of diamonds with a stack of 2400, and you have two all-ins in front of you; well, this is an easy call based on pot odds. Due to the shallow-stacked nature of most tournaments, decisions are usually fairly easy to make, based on pure math.

However, sit at a deep-stacked game. Blinds don't change, and they are always 10/20. You hold King Queen of diamonds again, yet most of the stacks at the table are 100 BB's deep, and you face two all-ins in front of you again. The decision isn't so easy now.

From my experience, cash game players normally started out as tournament players, and made the transition because cash games reward skill more, and the money is better and more consistent. Jamie Gold can luckbox his way to a World Series of Poker championship, however, if he sat down for a month at a top cash game, he would absolutely get killed, there is no doubt about it. You obviously need to be skilled to be a successful tournament player, but in my opinion you need to be even more skilled to be a successful cash game player, due to the deep stacks.

Sometimes you will see a player online like Hallinggol dip his toes into a big online tournament, and normally do pretty well, going deep into the money. However, when successful tournament players dabble in the higher cash games, they normally don't fare so well. In my opinion, the cash game player is the more well-rounded player, and can adapt his game to different cash game or tournament situations.

There is a reason why Phil Ivey has said that he is only playing two tournaments at this year's World Series of Poker; there is more money to be made in the cash game for him. Many very good poker players that I talk to say the same thing; there is too much luck involved in tournaments, and not enough money, so they stick to the cash games.

By that very definition, cash game players are better. Rarely have I heard a successful cash game player say, I am going to stick to tournament poker because I can make more.

Overall, cash game players are better.


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