Comparison of poker games, structures and formats

Blackboard with note papersThere are much to say in comparison of poker games just related to what can be good to a specific player in terms of what that player can gain from choosing.

You can lose money in two ways in poker:

  • Because you are unlucky or not as good as your opponent (directly caused money loss).
  • Because you don’t play the game/format/limit there your winning chances are as highest (indirectly caused money loss).

So, let’s look at some comparisons.

Sit & Go’s versus multi-table tournaments

Here are some factors to have in mind:

  • The variance is lower in Sit & Go’s, which makes it an easier playing form to handle from a psychologically and bankroll management point.
  • The prize structure is more symmetrical in SNGs, which makes it better for players that not want to take as big risks since they don’t lose equity by aiming for the places directly after the bubble.
  • It could be argued that there are better players in the SNG pool in a poker room due to the fact that the tournament is faster which result in that the weak player also lose their money faster.
  • There are more possibilities to play at 6-max tables in the SNG field, which a) obviously makes is well-suited for players that performs better at short-handed tables; b) gives the possibility to split test between different table sizes, including heads-up.

Tournaments versus cash game

This is a really classic divider and the question have certainly been on the agenda for many players contemplation.

  • Cash game is normally grinding, which means that your will struggle for a steady income.
  • Tournaments on the other hand are all from losing all your completely buy-in from the possibility to multiply hundred time or more. Tournaments is for you that want to have the chance to win big at once.
  • A negative aspect with tournament is on the other side the risk that you will go empty-handed from many tournaments in the row.
  • In cash game every pot has the same core conditions strategically whereas in tournaments the players need to modify their strategies to play correct when the blinds are increasing.
  • Because of the higher variance in tournaments, you will experience bigger variations in your monthly income (or losses) as well.

No limit versus fixed limit

This question is not that common these days since the No Limit structure have earned a dominant position.

  • It’s actually hard to earn a substantial income at Fixed Limit-tables unless you play with quite high stakes.
  • To continue on the last point, the pots are much closer to the median at Fixed Limits-tables, which don’t penalty weak play to the same agree as in No Limit.
  • In No Limit, a few pots can decide 90% av the money flow direction in one session. You could win for a long time until you lose a huge pot that takes away your earlier winnings plus some more. The opposite to this can also be true: you can experience a draught for some time until you suddenly win a huge pot.

The decision concerning which to choose among the alternative should probably be based on two things: your preferences and your winning prospects. To find out the answer on the last, you can do some speculation based on what you have read in this article, but also play different games, structures and formats and compare the results. Maybe you can switch from a losing player to a winning player simply by change the game!

Written by Oscar Sand

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