Is it worth playing cash games during the WSOP?

Gambling at the WSOP

Players’ attention moving towards the 2022 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is about tournament poker, and rightly so because that’s what the WSOP is about. Eighty-eight live wristband events plus 14 online events grace the busy 2022 WSOP schedule. It’s fair to say that tournaments dominate Las Vegas when the WSOP is in town.

But what about gambling? Everyone knows Las Vegas is the place to be if you’re a cash game player. Is it worth playing cash games during the WSOP? The answer is a resounding yes.

2022 World Series of Poker Hub

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How to Protect Your Bankroll at the 2022 WSOP

Players tend to specialize in one format of poker: cash games or multi-table tournaments. The rules for both formats are the same – a flush beats a straight, for example – but succeeding in either area requires different skills.

The large number of poker players being in Las Vegas for the WSOP and the various other tournament series that are added to the series means that the cardrooms are often packed. Gambling runs 24 hours a day; you are spoiled for choice as a cash game player.

There are a lot of recreational gamblers gambling during the WSOP

You’ll find more recreational players than you can wave a stick to hit the cash game tables during the WSOP. Hundreds, if not thousands, of low to mid-stakes players fly to “Sin City” to pursue their dream of winning a bracelet. A large percentage of these players find themselves playing $0.10/$0.25 and $0.25/$0.50 online gambling at home, and suddenly find themselves playing $1/$2 and $1/$3 games in Vegas.

Playing outside of their comfort zone often causes these players to approach matches in a more passive way than when playing online. Plus, a bustling poker room draws Vegas tourists to the table who want to kill an hour or two while hoping to win some spending money.

Low-stakes gambling in Vegas is notoriously sweet. This is amplified during the WSOP when the poker rooms are busiest.

Tournament players kill time gambling

Remember we said there is a different skill set required to be successful in cash games and tournaments? Well, some players don’t realize this and thus become a mark at the cash tables.

Cash game players are used to playing deep-stacked, usually 100 big blinds, while tournament players rarely have that many chips. However, they are stronger players with 30 to 60 big blind stacks, the stack size they are used to playing from in their regular games.

Some players excel at both cash and MTT, but they are rare, especially at the lower end of the buy-in spectrum. Where the best cash game players push every edge and will take a 55/45 scenario every day of the week, MTT players are more used to holding their stack and will sometimes miss places where they could extract value.

Who are the best poker players without a WSOP bracelet?

Any mistakes made when the stacks are deep are magnified. Facing a player playing an unfamiliar game, with a stack size he rarely finds himself armed with, can and does lead to many mistakes. We profit, in the long run, every time our opponents make a mistake.

Additionally, you will sometimes find tournament players sitting at cash game tables waiting for their event to start, or shortly after leaving a tournament. These players are often not in the right frame of mind to play solid poker because they only have one eye on the start of their event or recap key hands that resulted in their elimination. Any player who does not fully concentrate on the task at hand will lose tokens.

Gambling can be an alternative to satellites

You will sometimes find both cash game and tournament players entering cash games as an alternative to paying for a higher buy-in event. Satellite tournaments typically operate around the clock during the WSOP, giving the player the opportunity to turn a relatively small investment into a snap of the wrist at the big time.

Grinding cash games for tournament buy-ins isn’t the most efficient route to a bigger buy-in event, but it’s a viable option. For example, if you want to play in a $1000 No-Limit Hold’em tournament, you can play $1/$2 for some downtime and earn money for your entry fee .

Players who choose this route to qualify for a tournament tend to play looser and want to play for bigger points. They don’t want to earn $1/$2 for 50 hours at $20 an hour to make their way to a $1,000 WSOP event. They want to play for bigger pots, even full stacks, and will therefore be looser and more aggressive.

How to Bring Your A-Game to the 2022 WSOP

Where should I play Cash Games during the WSOP?

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to gambling during the WSOP. As mentioned, the poker rooms around Vegas are packed with players during what is one of the busiest times of the year. That said, a number of Las Vegas poker rooms closed during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic and not all have reopened.

Expect the WSOP to welcome a wide selection of cash games to their new home, at Bally’s. The Bally’s poker room is a bit smaller, but the WSOP is now split between Bally’s and neighboring Paris. It would be extremely surprising if the WSOP didn’t use some of the convention hall space at these venues to host 24-hour gambling.

The Venetian, Bellagioand wynn on the Las Vegas Strip have busy card rooms. These chambers also attract more than their fair share of tourists, often tourists with deep pockets.

Worth checking out Poker Atlas app which lists all current gambling, including, in most cases, the length of the waiting lists in each room in Vegas.