Byline: Poker player and Spartan Poker pro Sangeeth 'Samoh' Mohan on making that shift from tournaments to cash games
Transitioning from tournaments to cash games is an onerous affair for many players. What adds to the herculean task is that the chips used in cash games have real cash value and in tournaments not so much. Majority of the tournament players just remain tournament pros because of the fear of being able to adjust to deeper stacks. In most tournaments even when you run deep you are most likely manoeuvring a 30-40 BB stack and in cash game you are 100-200 BB deep more often than not, irrespective of how long a session you played.
If you are a tournament player who is looking to transition to cash my advice would be to find a good mental coach. You can be a very good deep stack player with great understanding of the game but mental game plays a much bigger role in cash games than in tournaments. Let me explain. In a tournament you are programmed to play auto play spots in a certain way and variance is something you understand. For example if you lose AK to QQ for a 60 BB pot, when you had a 50 BB stack you are still left with 20 bigs and you know exactly how to play that stack to perfection. In fact 15-20 BB stacks might just be your biggest strength. In a cash game it is very easy for people to get into the recovery mode once you have lost a big pot and instantly shift to B and C game in the process. The detachment you can make from play chips to real money will eventually be your biggest strength in a cash game.
Strategically and technical game wise cash game and tournaments are like water and ice. It is the same game but different. One decipherable situation would be spots in tournaments where you are always trying to get it in, however in cash games bet folding is one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal. I think that there is not much room for this to be used in a tournament because you lose too many chips every time you bet fold and you cannot reload, unlike a cash game.
Edge in a tournament is evened out once the stacks are shallow. However this seldom happens in cash games because stacks are almost always deep and so is your edge. This is one of the biggest reasons why cash games are considered more profitable of the two and off course the obvious one being, variance is lower in cash games.
To conclude, shifting to cash games might be great for your overall game and profitability. However it is very important to keep in mind that it comes with its own cinchers. Being an excellent tournament player doesn't automatically qualify you to be a good cash game player. There is going to be a lot of un-learning and re-learning necessary until to establish the right equilibrium.