Choosing Your Poker Game

Poker is not all the same. For example, there is a big difference between playing No Limit Hold’em (NLHE) or Limit Hold’em (LHE). Even within the same game there are differences, the variables we need to consider in a cash game is often different than in a multi-table tournament (MTT).

One of the biggest reasons for this is the fact that the blinds go up when you’re playing a tournament and stays the same in a cash game, this creates more small-stack situations in tournaments which makes the strategy slightly different. There is tons of small differences like the stack size example, such as whenever you’re all-in in a tournament, your tournament life is at risk therefore the game changes.

Even in a NL Hold’em cash game, the strategy differs depending on how many players are at the table. A full-ring table (FR) , which is a table that has 9 or 10 players plays very different from a heads-up (HU) or even a 6-max game. This is because fewer players at the table means we should play more hands, since the blinds come around faster in short-handed games and there is less chance that someone has a big hand with their being fewer players left to act.

So how do we go about overviewing the different kinds of poker games then? Well, there are 3 categories that make poker games different:

  1. What game is it? No Limit Hold’em (NLHE), Pot Limit Omaha (PLO), Razz, etc.
  2. What format is it? Cash Game, Single-Table Tournament (STT), or Multi-Table Tournament (MTT).
  3. How many people are at the table? Full-Ring (9-10 players), 6-max (6 players), or Heads-Up (2 players).

A regular NL Hold’em MTT that is played in the FR format, is different from a NL Hold’em 6-max MTT that will play short-handed and so on.

Picking Just One Game

Now that we have established that online poker can come in many different formats my recommendation would be to choose just one game to focus on. Trying to learn several games at the same time will be more confusing and lead to a slower overall progress. As you get more advanced within one particular form of the game the money making potential will rise a lot which in turn helps to keep your motivation to grind and improve high. At a later point you might consider learning other games as well, but I would not recommend it when you are getting started.

How Do I Choose My Game?

When it comes to choosing what game to focus on there is no easy answer. What I would suggest is that you try to play all the kinds of poker that you find interesting right now. When you have played all of them have a good long think about which game you find the most fun and the just focus intensely on that one game for the next few months at least.

When choosing your poker game other factors come into play as well. For instance, if you want the freedom of setting your own hours and playing when you want to, then cash games will suit you more. This is not an option when playing large field multi-table tourneys which start at a scheduled time and can sometimes take many hours to complete.

When it comes to choosing between the games, i.e. choosing NL Hold’em over Pot Limit Omaha with NLHE being way more popular at most online poker rooms the majority of the cash game traffic is focused around the NLHE tables, so that’s another consideration. Only the biggest poker rooms have good PLO action and this makes it tough to get action when you always want to play.

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