Is It Worth Playing Cash Games During the WSOP?
Table Of Contents
The focus of players heading to the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is on tournament poker, and rightly so because that is what the WSOP is all about. Eighty-eight live bracelet-awarding events plus an additional 11 online bracelets adorn the bustling 2021 WSOP schedule. It is fair to say tournaments dominate Las Vegas when the WSOP is in town.
But what about cash games? Everyone knows Las Vegas is the place to be if you are a cash game grinder. Is it worth playing cash games during the WSOP? The answer is a resounding yes.
Players tend to specialize in one poker format: cash games or multi-table tournaments. The rules to both formats are the same – a flush beats a straight, for example – but being successful in either field requires different skills.
The sheer number of poker players being in Las Vegas for the WSOP and the various other tournament series' that piggyback the series means card rooms are frequently packed to bursting. Cash games run 24 hours per day; you are spoiled for choice as a cash game player.
There Are Plenty of Recreational Players Playing Cash Games During the WSOP
You will find more recreational players than you can shake a stick at hitting the cash game tables during the WSOP. Hundreds, if not thousands, of low-to-mid stakes players jet off to "Sin City" to chase their dreams of winning a bracelet. A large percentage of these players are found grinding $0.10/$0.25 and $0.25/$0.50 online cash games at home, and suddenly find themselves playing $1/$2 and $1/$3 games in Vegas.
Playing outside of their comfort zone often results in those players approaching the games in a more passive manner than when they play online. Furthermore, a busy poker room attracts Vegas tourists to the table who want to kill an hour or two while hoping to win a bit of spending money.
Low-stakes cash games in Vegas are notoriously soft. This is amplified during the WSOP when poker rooms are at their busiest.
Tournament Players Kill Time Playing Cash Games
Remember how we said there is a different skill set required for success in cash games and tournaments? Well, some players fail to realize this and, thus, become a mark at the cash tables.
Cash game players are used to playing deep-stacked, usually 100 big blinds deep, while tournament players rarely have this many chips. They, however, are stronger players with 30-60 big blind stacks, the stack size they are accustomed to playing from in their usual games.
Some players excel in both cash and MTTs but they are a rarity, especially at the lower end of the buy-in spectrum. Where the better cash game players push every edge and will take a 55/45 scenario every day of the week, MTT players are more used to conserving their stack and will sometimes miss spots where they could extract value.
Any mistakes made when stacks are deep are amplified. Taking on a player playing an unfamiliar game, with a stack size they rarely find themselves armed with, can and does lead to a lot of mistakes being made. We profit, in the long run, whenever our opponents make a mistake.
Furthermore, you sometimes find tournament players sitting down at cash game tables while they wait for their event to start, or shortly after busting from a tournament. These players often are not in the correct frame of mind to play solid poker because they either have one eye on their event starting or are recapping keys hands that resulted in their elimination. Any player not fully concentrating on the task in hand is going to bleed chips.
Cash Games Can Be An Alternative to Satellites
You sometimes find both cash game and tournament players jumping into cash games as an alternative route to paying for a higher buy-in event. Satellite tournaments generally run around the clock during the WSOP, giving player the chance to turn a relatively small investment into a shot at a bracelet and at the big time.
Grinding cash games for tournament buy-ins is not the most effective route into a larger buy-in event, but it is a viable option. For example, if you want to play in a $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em tournament, you could play $1/$2 during some downtime and win money towards your entry fee.
Players who choose this road to qualify for a tournament tend to play looser and want to play for larger points. They do not want to grind $1/$2 for 50 hours at $20 per hour to play their way into a $1,000 WSOP event. They want to play for larger pots, even for full stacks, and will therefore be looser and more aggressive.
Where Should I Play Cash Games During the WSOP?
You are spoiled for choice when it comes to playing cash games during the WSOP. As mentioned, poker rooms around Vegas are brimming with players during what is one of the busiest times of the year.
Look no further than the current home of the WSOP, the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, for your cash game needs. The Pavillion Room is packed with cash games from the moment the WSOP kicks off until the final bracelet is won. Be aware that the location of the room means these cash games are frequented mostly by poker players with very few tourists participating.
It is worthwhile checking out the Poker Atlas app which lists all the cash games currently running, including, in most cases, the length of the waiting lists at each Vegas room.
In this Series
- 1 WSOP 2021 Schedule: 88 WSOP Bracelet Events, Sept. 30 - Nov. 23
- 2 WSOP 2021: Best Events to Play on a Budget
- 3 WSOP 2021 Main Event Satellites From $80 Hit GGPoker
- 4 WSOP 2021: Former Champ Chris Moneymaker Set to Miss This Year's WSOP
- 5 WSOP 2021: COVID-19 Vaccination Required for Players, Update on Staff
- 6 WSOP 2021: Best Hotels in Las Vegas
- 7 WSOP 2021: Try These 5 Hidden Gem Las Vegas Restaurants
- 8 WSOP 2021: Read Phil Ivey's Top WSOP Tips
- 9 WSOP 2021: 8 Things Poker Players Should Definitely Bring to the WSOP - and 2 You Shouldn't!
- 10 How to Enter the WSOP 2021 Freezeout Events
- 11 Is It Worth Playing Cash Games During the WSOP?
- 12 What Game Should You Pick in Dealer’s Choice?
- 13 What We've Learned from the First Week of the 2021 WSOP
- 14 Hands That Helped GGPoker Ambassador Jason Koon Win 1st WSOP Gold Bracelet
- 15 GGPoker Successfully Brings Online Flip & Go Concept to Live 2021 WSOP
- 16 Jason Koon, Connor Drinan Lead 2021 WSOP Player of the Year Race
- 17 Anthony Zinno in Exclusive One-Player Club Following Fourth WSOP Title
- 18 Looking Back At The Illustrious History of the Poker Players Championship
- 19 Phil Hellmuth Blows Up AGAIN; Rails Against WSOP POY Rules
- 20 Poker Fan Loses Job, Twitch Streamer Gifts Him WSOP Main Event Package
- 21 WSOP 2021: Are the Fields Tougher or Softer than Recent Years?
- 22 Doyle Brunson Treats Crowd to Surprise WSOP Return on Halloween
- 23 Spooktastic: Best & Worst Halloween Costumes from the 2021 WSOP
- 24 Phil Ivey NFT Launch Party a True 'What Happens in Vegas' Night
- 25 Poker Community Buys Man Facing Terminal Cancer into WSOP Main Event
- 26 Everything You Need to Know About the 2021 WSOP Main Event
- 27 WSOP Temporarily Goes on Lockdown Over Suspect's "Suspicious Item"
- 28 Did Phil Hellmuth's Sex Ban Lead to 1989 WSOP Main Event Glory?
- 29 Doyle Brunson Arrives; Defending Champ Salas Busts Before 1st Break of 2021 WSOP Main Event
- 30 Aces Cracked Leaves Kevin Campbell as the 2021 WSOP Main Event Bubble
- 31 Quads Vs. Quads Sends Chang Liu Home Near WSOP Main Event Bubble
- 32 The Muck: Mike "The Mouth" Matusow Wants to End Max Late Reg
- 33 Doyle Brunson Proves He Still Has it Despite WSOP Main Event Exit
- 34 Phil "Gandalf" Hellmuth Makes Grand Entrance in 2021 WSOP Main Event
- 35 Chris Moneymaker Makes Late Decision to Play WSOP Main Event
- 36 Who is GGPoker Ambassador and YouTube Vlogger 'Greg Goes All In?'
- 37 The Muck: Poker Twitter Debates Potential Angle-Shooting in WSOP Main Event
- 38 Nick Rigby Plays the 2-3 "Dirty Diaper" in 2021 WSOP Main Event
- 39 Is Josh Arieh Running Away with WSOP Player of the Year?
- 40 'Wedding Crashers' & 'Old School' Star Vince Vaughn to Join WSOP's Move to Strip in 2022
- 41 Eli Elezra Selected as 2021 Poker Hall of Fame Inductee
- 42 Master of Ceremonies Vince Vaughn Suffers Bad Beat in His First WSOP Tournament
- 43 Players Implement Covid Contract During WSOP $250K Super High Roller
- 44 How Much Money Did Players at the WSOP Main Event Final Table Really Make?
- 45 Phil Hellmuth Breaks WSOP Single Series Final Table Record
- 46 Daniel Negreanu's Most Mind-Boggling WSOP Stat at the Rio
- 47 Josh Arieh a Surprising 2021 WSOP Player of the Year Winner