(these musing are based at micro cash levels, I appreciate higher levels could be a different story)

Try cash

Not to make money (although that is a good thing) but mainly as a training exercise.

All of the pot odds, risk vs reward, bet sizing, patience and such that we need understanding of in a Tournament is right there at a cash table.

The differences are that in a Tournament, you may often find people bluff more and are willing to make plays that improve their ranking but aren't really smart poker plays. You can't really learn about ICM and tournament tactics in a cash game, but the rest and the real meat & bones of how to play well is right there at the cash game.

Typically at a cash game, you aren't seeing bets without there being a strong hand behind it and you are risking your own money when playing so you tend to be a bit more cautious about how you bet yourself.

You will still get bad players (betting/calling bottom pair) or players that enjoy bluffing tighter players but overall, you need to have a good hand to showdown with because you are a lot more likely to see a showdown in a cash game than at a tournament table.


So for training purposes, it might be an idea to set a certain amount of budget for playing the low 1c/2c cash games or perhaps even just observe how they play from the rail. You can of course play with play money but I find that you won't get a true sense of risk in those games since you can reload 1000 chips 3/times per hour.

I am confident you will learn more seeing how cash games play out than just focusing on tournament games but would remind you that you can't reload (aside from a rebuy) in a tournament game so there are certain times you will fold a nut hand because its the right tactical move rather than the most profitable move.