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Ring Game

Casino Cash Games - Live Action Ring Games

by Jesse Knight
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Ring Game
Ring Game - A game at the regular poker tables as opposed to a tournament.


Ring games are also referred to as “live games” or “cash games” because actual money is in play instead of tournament chips. The use of the term ring is analogous to the idea of players sitting in a circular shape (oval) around a poker table.

Some players specialize in ring game play and never participate in tournaments. Ring games afford dedicated players the “stability” (if such a word can be used in a wagering environment) that tournaments cannot. (Devoted tournament players can go days, weeks or even months without cashing.) Ring games are offered by the house in all different games and limits usually on a first-come-first-served basis. If a ring game is full, players wishing to join must add their names to a waiting list, and will be called in order as seats open up.

A cash game, is a game where the chips in play have cash value. This is different from a tournament or play money game. While a tournament may award cash prizes for top finishers, the chips in play have no cash value. In order to extract any value from a tournament, a player must finish “in the money.” Payouts are determined by the amount of money in the prize pool and the ranking of your finish. Play money games are similar to cash games, except that the chips in play have no cash value. These games are played for fun, and they are available at every online poker site. Play money games are designed for players who want to play poker but are unwilling or unable to buy in for real money. They are perfect for players who are just learning how to play or for players who are practicing strategies for use in real money games.

Cash games, on the other hand, use chips with cash value. The chips used in a cash game have their value clearly displayed on each side of the chip. They are also color coded so that their value is easily identifiable. These colors will differ slightly both regionally, and sometimes from casino to casino. For instance, in Los Angeles the $5 chips are yellow, while in Las Vegas they are red. If you are new to any area, you should not make assumptions about the value of a chip based solely on its color. For example, a white chip in Las Vegas is typically worth $1, while a white chip in the Los Angeles area is typically worth $100.

Generally, in a cash game, a player may cash out at any time. Since most cash games are table stakes games, if a player wants to cash out, they must also leave the game; partial cash outs are generally not allowed. Because cash game chips are negotiable instruments (inside the casino only), they are subject to different IRS regulations. Cash game payouts are not subject to W2G or 1099 reporting, as are jackpots and tournament payouts. They are only reported if the amount cashed out exceeds $10,000 in a 24 hour period.

Usage: Cash Game or Tournament?, Live Action Ring Game, Ring Games

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