What's the difference between a tournament player and a cash game poker player
A lot of people don't realize how big the difference between a cash game and a tournament are. The entire way that you approach the game will be completely different. It is generally believed that it takes more skill to do well in cash games. If you are good in cash games you will likely do well in tournament play. However being good at tournament play does not necessarily mean that you will do well if you choose to play in a cash game. This why you need to learn how to do both.
The biggest difference between a tournament player and a cash game player is that the tournament player in general has to be more cautious with his chips than the cash player does. You can take risks when you are playing a cash game because after all if you run out of chips you can always buy more. You can't do this in a tournament in that case if you run out of chips you are out of the tournament. The result is that you will have to be more cautious especially when you decide to go all in. If you get that wrong in a tournament you are finished.
The other big thing about tournament play is that there are a lot of factors that you will need to take into account besides your hand when you are betting. In a cash game each hand is really an independent event, what happens with one hand will have little effect on the next one. That really isn't the case when it comes to tournament play. In that case you are going to have to factor in things like your chip stack, your opponents chip stack, your position in the tournament and the payout structure of the tournament. All of these factors have to be considered which you would think would make it harder to play in a tournament like The World Series of Poker. Actually the opposite is true, all of those variables tend to limit your options and make it easier to make decisions.
It is generally believed that cash games will actually benefit the better player more than a tournament does. Because you have to gamble more in a tournament because of the time pressures and the fact that the blinds are constantly increasing luck will play a bigger role than it does in a cash game. This is why most of the top players in the world choose to play in cash games more than they do in tournaments. Skill plays a far bigger factor in a cash game than it does in a tournament because each hand is an independent event. The result is that for good players they can make money more reliably in a cash game than they can in a tournament. They generally treat their tournament winnings as a bonus and their cash game winnings as their main source of income.