Difference between Cash Game and SNG

Cash games and sit & go tournaments, while both following Texas Hold’em poker rules, are distinct in many ways. Both can be enjoyable, profitable, and come with their own pros and cons.

Playing time: Cash Games offer flexibility—you can join or leave at any point. Sit & Go tournaments, however, start when enough players register and end when one player remains. This usually takes 20-60 minutes.

Repurchase: In cash games, you can buy back in if you lose your stack. Tournaments, on the other hand, eliminate you once you lose all your chips. Rebuys are sometimes available in some MTT tournaments but not in SNGs.

Blinds: Cash games have fixed blinds, whereas SNG tournaments increase blinds every few minutes. This changes the game dynamics over time.

Number of opponents: Cash Games typically have a set number of players (10 or 6) at a table. In SNG tournaments, the number of players decreases until only two remain for the final showdown.

Currency: In cash games, each chip represents real money. In tournaments, you buy in with a fixed amount, receive chips, and earn a cash prize based on your placement—or nothing if you don’t reach paid places.

$ EV vs. cEV: Cash games consider $ EV (dollar expected value). In SNGs, the value of each additional chip decreases as the tournament progresses. The difference between $ EV and Chip-EV is crucial and can be calculated using the Independent Chip Model (ICM).

Pros and Cons of Mixing Cash Game and SNG

Mixing different Texas Hold’em variants can hinder the learning process due to poker’s complexity. Beginners, however, may benefit from exploring different variations before committing to one. While some players successfully play both variants profitably, it’s not common.

Advantages of mixing:

  • Greater variety and enjoyment
  • Broadens your skillset as a poker player

Disadvantages of mixing:

  • Learning is slower as attention is divided between variants.
  • Switching between variants can be challenging, as strategies differ.
  • Improvement might be slower, as focusing on multiple variants can be distracting.

Bankroll Management

Solid bankroll management is essential for both game types. However, the strategy differs significantly between SNG and cash games, with different levels of risk and variance. Playing both types and various limits/buy-ins can lead to confusion and lack of structure.

Author: YPD
last updated 18.09.2023