Poker as we know it has been around for over 200 years. Poker tournaments, on the other hand, are a much newer invention. They didn’t play any tournaments at the first World Series of Poker in 1970 – they just played cash games for a while, then voted Johnny Moss as the best poker player in the world. The tournament format made its WSOP debut in 1971, and they’ve never looked back.

Cash games are still popular, of course. Thousands of online poker players choose this format and stick with it, while thousands more prefer to play Bovada Poker tournaments. The game itself is the same: Texas Hold’em, Omaha, or Omaha Hi/Lo. But there are important differences between poker tournaments and cash games, and your preference (if you have one) will depend on a number of factors. Here are three of the biggest things that set the two formats apart:


Unless you’re playing a Sit-and-Go poker tournament start at a specific time, and you play until you’re eliminated. Cash games run 24/7 at Bovada; you can sit down at any table with an open seat, and you can leave at any time. Your ability to play tournaments will depend on your own personal schedule, but there’s always time for cash poker.


The buy-in for a poker tournament is a fixed amount. When you enter a $60+$6 tournament at Bovada, your losses are capped at $66 (re-buys notwithstanding), and you’ll make a profit if you finish in the money. When you play cash games at Bovada, you can buy in for anywhere between the minimum and maximum, and if you lose your stack, you can buy in again. It’s very important to keep track of this while you’re at the table; setting a stop-loss of two or three buy-ins will protect you from losing more money than expected.


In tournaments, the blinds get bigger as you go along – then the antes are introduced on top of that. The blinds remain the same when you play cash poker. Most online cash players are used to playing with uniform stacks of 100 big blinds; with tournaments, you need to learn how to handle deep stacks and short stacks, as well. Try playing both formats to develop your versatility and strengthen your overall poker game.