A ring game is a slightly old-fashioned term for a cash game – which means it’s not a tournament and players don’t get paid for first, second, or third place. In cash games, there’s real money being won and lost during every hand. In a tournament, only the top-ranking players win, but ring game (cash game) players can win money during each hand.

We’re going to look at the basic info for ring games, places to play online, plus the strategy for ring games.

Jason Koon mulls a river call in the Triton cash game series

In a cash game, your goal is to win chips from other players, and then cash out your winnings.

Ring games can have different numbers of players, usually anywhere from 2 to 9 at one table. The most common sizes are 6-max and 9-max, but a site like partypoker uses 6-max and 8-max tables.

You can leave ring games anytime you want.

Ring games are great for anyone who wants to log on, spend time playing poker, and then log off.

There’s real cash to win from each hand.

Every cash game hand can add to your stack or make it smaller. This means that you can take a break or walk away with your winnings at any time you want. Technically, this is true for tournaments too – but your stack’s real value will be calculated at the end of the event.

If you lose your chips – you can rebuy new ones.

In a ring game, you can rebuy and get another full stack – anytime you bust. There’s also the option to buy in for a minimum amount, called a min-rebuy. Rebuy tournaments let you refill your chip stack, but most of the time, losing your chips means it’s all over.

Time doesn’t pressure your decisions and blinds stay the same.

One of the major differences between a ring game in poker and an MTT tournament is the blind structure. In a ring game, you will choose a blind structure and sit down at that table. That blind structure – for example, $0.50/$1 – will stay the same and never increase or decrease. This allows you to apply your strategy the whole time you sit at the ring game, instead of changing it as the blinds increase.

A high-stakes ring game at the Hustlers Casino

There is no difference to the rules at 6-max and 9-max tables, but the style of poker changes. With fewer players, you can play a slightly wider range of hands, while tightening up a bit at 9-max tables.

6-Max Poker

The busiest poker sites for 6-max poker are PokerStars, RedStar Poker, and GGPoker. From NL2 to NL50, these poker sites have more players at the tables than the other ones we’ve surveyed.

9-Max Poker

For 9-max poker GGPoker and PokerStars are the busiest rooms, but NL50 on BetOnline also has action during peak hours.

By the way, you can watch the traffic for poker sites on our website for different games like Holdem, Omaha, 5-Card Omaha, and fast-folding poker.

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Online ring games are usually Texas Holdem and Omaha poker, with different formats like no-limit, fixed-limit, and pot-limit.

Here’s one tip for ring game players: always play on sites with multiple tables running your chosen game. You want to play on high-traffic sites for a couple of reasons, most importantly, it means you’ll see a steady stream of less-skilled opponents.

The rewards on high-traffic sites are way more lucrative too. We’ve got a list of trusted poker sites, but here’s a special one we recommend.

Signing up with partypoker, and making a small deposit, will get you free tournament tickets and a doubled deposit (matched deposit bonus). This is one of the busiest sites in the world with thousands of poker players enjoying online ring games.

4.9
Partypoker is a great option for players who want a quality site they can trust. The site has gone to lengths to protect players by banning HUD software and allowing players to maintain anonymity at the tables. This shouldn’t put off grinders however, as Partypoker’s tournament value and unmatched rakeback offers of up to 60% are not to be missed by any serious online player.

Play with your friends online and create your own private ring games. It’s just like playing home games, except you can use leading poker software with automated dealing. Playing poker with friends online isn’t difficult, you just need to know the sites that offer private home games.

1. Don’t play so many hands.

If you play every semi-attractive hand that comes your way, you will become what’s known as a loose poker player. Instead of becoming the player at the table who is known for holding lots of weak and random hands, you should be playing fewer hands. Being more tight and aggressive is better for ring game strategy.

2. Remember the importance of position in poker.

Beginners underestimate the power of position during ring games. In poker, your position at the table is vital. Playing from “in position” means that you are the last to act during a hand of poker. You get more information in these late-position spots since you get to see what your opponents do before you act.

In this GGPoker cash game, you might be able to imagine the difficulty of getting value if PaulPunts were out of position.

A set of Jacks in position

3. Try to keep your bet sizes consistent.

Instead of mixing in dozens of different bet sizes, try to make them more consistent. Use a few different sizes (25%, 50%, and 75% of the pot, for example). You don’t have to bet 25% with every strong hand and so on but try to mix up your holdings while using consistent bet sizes. This will make it harder for your opponents to pick up on patterns in your strategy.

4. Learn preflop hand ranges.

Knowing which hands to play could take you from an inexperienced cash game player to a seasoned regular. Some hands should be raising, calling, or being thrown into the muck. Becoming more fluent with ranges will teach you the prominence of preflop hand selection.

5. Don’t underestimate the prominence of table selection.

In a ring game, you don’t want to be the player who is taken advantage of. One of the tools that cash game players use to remember who they are playing against is labeling, which you can do on all major poker sites. This lets you highlight other players in different colors and take notes so that you can remember important parts.

HUDs, also known as heads-up displays, can feed you more detailed information than the labeling tool on poker sites. We’ve got several HUD programs with free trials available inside the GipsyTeam Shop.