Join the World of Cash Game Poker in 2024
Poker can essentially be split into two distinct categories, namely Cash Games and Tournaments. Players tend to have a definite preference for one or the other, but nowadays it’s more common to see people favour cash games, for example, but venture into tournament territory occasionally.
This article focuses on Cash Games. Even those poker fans who have yet to set foot in a casino or poker room, and perhaps haven’t even tried online poker (hopefully this is your first step on such an adventure if this describes you!), might already have played in a ‘home’ game huddled around a kitchen table or in the living room at a friend’s place. The social side is, of course, an attraction, and it’s nice to win, too, but what unites us is the game’s fascination, and there’s plenty of fun to be had with Cash Game poker.
Clearly, there are fundamental differences between Cash Games and Tournaments. First, unlike a tournament, where we typically pay a buy-in and there are prizes to win, Cash Games involve us buying in with an amount of money (within the limits of that particular table), and any profits are derived from whatever we might win from our opponents. Chips lost in a tournament are exactly that – chips. If we have 32,000 and lose 2,000 the negligible difference isn’t going to have much of an impact on our overall chances. However, in a Cash Game, if we sit down with $50 and emerge on the wrong side of a sizeable pot having invested $20, we’ve just lost $20! A by-product of that single hand is that our stack now being $30 significantly reduces our potential winnings. An interesting distinction between Cash Games and Tournaments is that it’s possible to not actually get involved in a single hand throughout a tournament yet still make the prize money! Fold every hand in a Cash Game and we’ll eventually see the Blinds eat our stack.
Cash Games come in various formats, which are simultaneously similar and quite different, and it’s possible to enjoy them whether playing for pennies or at very high stakes.
Texas No Limit Hold’em is the most widely known variant – it’s not unusual even for non-players to be familiar with this format. The vast majority of beginners will for their first poker experience find themselves playing NLH. In recent years especially, Pot Limit Omaha has also become increasingly popular, while the Asian variant, Short Deck Hold’em is also finding some traction.
No Limit Hold’em Cash Games
As was mentioned above, No Limit Texas Hold’em (NLH, or NL) is the king of poker variants, and this is the case in Cash Games as much as it is with Tournaments. Every online poker site heavily features NLH Cash, with stakes starting with so-called Micro Limits, where the Blinds can be as little as 01/02 cents, and increasing right up to the high roller limits with Blinds of $100/$200!
As the name suggests, a NL table has no limit in terms of how much of their stack a player can wager all at once. So, if we sit down with $10, when the action comes round to us in the very first hand we are allowed to go all-in and put literally every cent of that $10 into the middle! And the flexibility of Cash Games affords us the option to simply reload with another $10 and, if we so wish, bet the whole lot on the very next hand. But be warned – ‘flexibility’ is useful and means we can continue playing, but the fact that we can very quickly lose a number of buy-ins highlights the importance of prudent bankroll management.
Incidentally, as well as, for example, $0.05/$0.10 (i.e. the Blinds) being used to describe Cash Game poker tables, the convention tends to be to refer to the maximum amount that can be brought to the table in one go. This example, then, is of a NL10 table (note that while here there is a maximum ‘table limit’ of $10, there will also be a minimum limit, typically of $3).
While other cash game variants continue to attract more players, NLH will always remain the most popular game.
The rake we pay in NLH Cash Games might vary from room to room, but it’s essentially a few per cent of the total pot, typically only after the Flop, and is capped. The rake is automatically deducted from each pot.
Pot Limit Omaha Cash Games
Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) has firmly established itself as a worthy alternative to NLH, and this is particularly evident in Cash Games. As we will see, there’s a marked difference between NLH and PLO that in itself makes for a whole new dynamic, so it’s not surprising to find a growing and dedicated following of PLO Cash Games, and for online poker rooms to make sure that they cater for these players by providing a good range of games.
The aforementioned, crucial difference between PLO and its big brother NLH is that here we start with four hole cards instead of two! Not surprisingly, given the massive increase in hand combinations (the object of the game is still to make the best possible 5-card hand), this makes for a high action game and, with it, even higher variance.
It might seem that variance should not be so high because Pot Limit – as it says in the name – allows the maximum wager to be ‘just’ the pot. However, apart from the fact that the pot itself continues to grow, very quickly, as the hand develops, the many additional drawing possibilities afforded us by having twice as any hole cards compared with NLH means that pots can be enormous. Remember, also, that the extra possible outcomes lead to more players in a hand having a fighting chance and staying in the chase, whereas in NLH there’s much less reason to invest more chips when so far behind. Consequently, we’ll bluff less in PLO as our opponents have much more chance to improve.
As far as table limits are concerned, PLO Cash Games usually start at 5/10 cents, yet can go up to even $200/$400.
Again, in terms of Rake, all poker rooms are similar and 5% is not unusual. However, we should point out that our partner sites BestPoker and Natural8 feature a 3% rake in their PLO Cash Games.
Short Deck/Six Plus Hold’em
Short Deck Hold’em Cash Games, or Six Plus Hold’em, has been popular for years in Asia. Essentially, the style of betting, the rules and buy-ins are the same as NLH but, as the name implies, a short deck is used. Consequently, with the lower ranked cards removed from the deck, the chance of making good hands increases.
An exact explanation of the rules can be found here under Short Deck Hold’em Rules. Since there are a few small but nevertheless significant differences, it’s well worth spending time acquainting ourselves with these nuances in order to adapt to the changes successfully.
Cash Games: Live vs Online
First and foremost, we sit at a real table in live poker and look our fellow players in the eye, whereas online poker is virtual (but the money is real, remember!) and we’re even afforded anonymity along with our privacy. Additionally, playing online gives us so much flexibility and choice in terms of when and where we want to play, whether we want simply to switch from one game to another without having to be put on a waiting list (or perhaps not find a table at all) – even how many games we might like to play simultaneously. We can also play online wearing anything we like (in bed if we so desire), watching TV, eating, drinking… the list is endless.
And, importantly, there’s the crucial fundamental difference that is the sheer speed with which we can play online. There’s no need to wait for the busy dealer to prepare for each new hand, no players taking minutes to play with their chips or adjust their baseball cap and shades before theatrically folding, no disputes… everything online is done automatically and quickly – even the chips in the pot are counted up for us as the hand progresses! And we’re able to play so many more hands than in a bricks & mortar poker room. And this is multiplied further, of course, by being able to multi-table.
Furthermore, the range of available table limits is severely restricted by space in an actual casino, leaving so many players unable to find games at stakes which suit their bankroll. Online poker leaves us literally a click or two away from jumping straight into Cash Games from micro to high limits.
Find here our real money online poker sites.
Cash Game Rakeback Deals
A good cash game rakeback deal will bring you extra money thanks to receiving part of your paid rake back into your account. And you can expect to get the best rakeback deals from YourPokerDream. As soon as you register at one of our partner rooms you will receive access to our exclusive promotions, while you can also agree a personal VIP rakeback deal with YPD.
You will enjoy many benefits as a YPD player that otherwise would not be available were you not to register through us. To find out more about how to make sure you get the most out of your online poker experience, please contact our 24/7 Support team.
The Best Online Poker Sites for Cash Games
No Limit Hold’em Cash Games remain by far the most popular in online poker, to the point that you can always find enough opponents. Most, of course, will be at so-called micro limits, where the table stakes usually start with blinds as low as 1/2 cents. But even at the higher limits you will find sufficient 24/7 traffic, especially on the big poker sites, and mostly at the 6-max shorthanded tables. Depending on the poker site, you will also find tables with nine players, but in recent years most have switched to 6-max.
As far as the skill, or otherwise, of the players is concerned, not much has changed for 2024. At the low limits it’s full of fish and maybe a few regulars, which is to be expected. Generally, we can expect that the higher you go up the stakes, the better the players, who tend to be more sophisticated in terms of their poker education and development and their overall approach to the game. However, even at high stakes you will find weak(er) players and regulars with numerous leaks, so you can play these limits profitably (depending on your own skill, of course). At our partner sites GGPoker and Natural8 from the GGNetwork you will find many casual players, from all over the world, at all stakes.
Even if you find sufficient cash game traffic on all online poker sites, as we have already mentioned, there are big differences depending on the limit you play.
Cash Game criteria when choosing a poker room
- How good is the traffic at the limit you want to play?
- What is the ratio between fish and regulars?
- How much rakeback do you get?
We at YourPokerDream did all the work for you, and came up with a list of the top providers for Cash Game Poker in 2024. With the following sites, YourPokerDream will offer you an exclusive VIP deal to increase your profits, and there’ll be enough traffic, and enough fish, to achieve a solid win-rate at all limits.
Thanks to the lockdown-fuelled online poker boom that we have witnessed during 2021 and 2022 there will similarly be plenty of action – and even more money to earn – playing cash games in 2024. So, join the tables and boost your bankroll!
Our recommendation: Top of the list are our partner sites GGPoker or Natural8 from the gg network, which feature plenty of traffic and plenty of inexperienced, weaker players, and with games going on all the time at all limits. Join the Cash Game action via YPD and enjoy our exclusive promotions, VIP deals and private tournaments