Choosing different poker games that are right for you is not trivial but we're often leaving this decision to chance or rely solely on our personal preference. It's very hard to make a good decision when you're not an experienced player.
In this article, we'll describe some of the most popular poker variants to help you make a more informed decision about which one of them is right for you.
9-max and 6-max No-Limit Holdem Cash Games
Let's start with one of the most popular choices
among experienced and recreational players alike - no-limit hold'em cash games.
While 9-max used to be way more popular than 6-max back in the day, at some point this trend reversed and some poker rooms don't even offer 9 handed games anymore.
Shorthanded tables are way more popular due to their more aggressive and exciting nature. That being said if you're really determined and you enjoy the game dynamic of full-ring games it still possible to play them but you'll have to settle for much narrower game selection.
Why would you want to play hold'em cash games in the first place? The answer is simple - immense popularity.
Simple rules and accessibility (your session can be as long or as short as you want it to be) make cash games popular among the recreational players.
The fact that you're not forced to sit at the table for hours at a time is also important to more experienced grinders, especially those who don't play full time and can't afford to play long sessions. This is further emphasized by the existence of fast poker formats like zoom, rush, and speed
which allow you to put in a considerable amount of volume in very little time.
The popularity of hold'em cash games makes them very well researched. You can find a lot of educational materials on the internet for free.
This is both a blessing and a curse. You can become a fairly competent cash game player without investing a single cent into your poker educations using free resources like PokerVIP.com (free videos
and line-check analysis on the forum
), but your opposition also has access to those resources so you have to be more driven than them and or learn at a more efficient pace.
Holdem cash games are fairly reliable.
While the variance is a huge factor
in any form of poker, if you manage to keep your win rate high or combine your volume with great deals,
your career should be relatively enjoyable compared with other forms of poker with higher standard deviation. Your bankroll doesn't have to be that huge compared to other forms of poker to give you relative safety, especially when you combine it with a good mindset
and bankroll management strategy
While the old 20/30 buy-ins per limit rules are slightly outdated you can still get away with them if your edge is high enough. Lastly, while no-limit cash games become harder every year due to their popularity, that popularity will also keep them going for as long as online poker exists.
Pot Limit Omaha Cash Games
PLO is much less popular than hold'em which is both its greatest strength and weakness.
Omaha is much more complex and much less developed than its no-limit counterpart, which means that you can gain a bigger edge over your opponents
in less time. While educational materials are a bit harder to come by, PLO gained enough popularity over the years that it's also possible to become competent at it without investing a lot of money in the process.
The game selection is much more limited to the point that it's impossible to play the game on some smaller poker rooms and networks. At the same time, the quality of an average game is much higher than in hold'em.
While it's not uncommon to see tables with 6 regulars in a NLH cash games, it almost never happens in PLO.
Omaha is also very attractive for gamblers because of the higher average pot size and frequent showdowns.
Omaha is a very high variance type of poker.
The standard deviation in 6-max PLO can be up to 2 times bigger than in hold'em
and that means longer break even stretches and more severe downswings. Bankroll requirements are also a lot different.
To get away with a hold'em bankroll of 30 buy-ins per limit, you need to be among the absolute best players.
50 or even 100 buy-ins are much more realistic for most players. It also makes much more sense from a mental game standpoint since 5 or 10 buy-in swings are much more common than in NLH cash games and it's much easier to deal with them if your bankroll is high enough.
Sit and Go's
Sit and go tournaments come in many forms.
From relatively low variance double or nothings and single table tournaments with slow structures, to the crazy turbo and hyper-turbo variants. Some SNG's are much more popular than others and requires specific skills
from players that want to become good at them. What's common for most of the sit and go tournaments is the changing blind structure and the inability to lose more than the buy-in amount
which often appeals to the recreational players.
Even multi-table SNG's are usually considerably shorter than the scheduled tournaments and that fact is valued by both professional and recreational players. Sit and go's emphasize the competitive aspect of poker much more than cash games.
Players can't leave whenever they want and there's a winner in every single tournament. Since players have so many options to choose from it might be difficult to find good information on a specific sit and go variant so the education aspect is much more tricky than in cash games.
That being said, popular formats like HU SNG, Spin and Go or multi-table turbo and hyper-turbo tournaments are fairly well researched.
When it comes to variance SNG's can be all over the place, but nowadays turbo and hyper-turbo variants are much more popular than the slow single table tournaments. The overnight success of Spin and Go's is proof of that and if you want to become a Spin and Go grinder
you have to brace yourself for some serious bankroll requirements. Most hyper-turbo pros recommend at least 200 buy-ins
and while great players could most likely get away with less variance in tournaments, the fast blind levels can be truly soul-crushing.
Multi Table Tournaments
Multi-table tournaments are extremely popular.
For recreational players, they are the poker's version of the Cinderella story. They also get much more coverage than any other form of poker. While the poker community cares about the winners of big live tournaments and even the players placing 1st in large online festival's main events or Sunday majors, even relatively high cash game limits go largely unnoticed. If fame is one of the reasons you play poker, you can't really get it in any other way than by winning a large tournament.
When it comes to profitability MTT's aren't a bad choice either. The potential return on investment can be huge and the amount of recreational players dreaming about success makes tournament poker fairly soft.
There's also a lot of information about tournament poker strategy
available out there, so MTT's seem like a great choice if you're able to deal with long session times.After reading this article, you should know more about the pros, cons, popularity and variance associated with the most popular poker variants.
While there're a lot of different poker formats that we haven't touched on like draw games, stud games, HORSE
etc. those usually aren't popular enough to justify playing them for any other reason than fun. It's obviously not impossible to win money at 2-7 triple draw, but it requires a lot of persistence and willingness to venture into an uncharted territory in which there are no trackers or coaching videos. No matter which different poker games you end up playing, remember that the recipe for success is fairly similar - proper education, combined with a strong mindset and adequate volume.
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