Poker is a card game that practically everyone knows how to play and has, at some time or another, played it with friends and family. It is a favorite game among men friends who use it to relax and bond much like watching a championship ball game on TV. You can play for fun or you can up the ante and thrills of the game by including bets when you play. It’s also common to participate in poker tournaments, both locally and internationally for higher stakes and more entertainment and thrills. (read also this article: Playing Poker: From Online To Live)
What is a Poker Tournament?
A poker tournament in its simplest terms is a game of poker between players, a minimum of two to as many as thousands, vying for the right to be called the winner at the end of the series of games. When two players are playing in a tournament, that is usually called a “Heads Up” game. Usually major poker tournaments are big events that bring together amateurs and professionals, sometimes from every corner of the world to compete for the title of World Poker Champion.
In common poker tournaments, the goal is to be the last poker player holding all the chips from all the other players who participated in the tournament. There are many intricacies to the game, especially when it’s being handled by professional and/or are major poker tournaments. If you are interested in participating, here are the important components to the game that you need to understand.
Kinds of Poker Tournaments
The poker game can have many rules depending on the type of tournament you want to enter. It’s better that you know the different kinds of poker tournament setups so you can decide which one you want to enter.
• Multi-table or MTT’s are the most common form in major poker tournaments because they allow many players to participate. There are many tables with a given set of players per table to accommodate a balanced game. There is a general start time for the game and players are moved from one table to another to equalize the game.
• Sit and Go tournaments are very much like a multi-table setup except that there is no start time. The game starts when the tables are able to complete a set of 9 players each. Players are assigned to a table when they accomplish their registration process. If a player registers but does not appear in the game, his chips are blinded or anted off.
• Freezeout Tournaments start a fixed time with the players having a fixed number of chips. When the players run out of chips, they lose and they are eliminated from the competition.
• FreeRolls are the kind of tournaments that everyone is free to enter because there is no buy-in or tournament fee required.
• Re-buy Add-on (R/A) Tournaments give the players an option to replenish their stack of chips during the tournament when they find that they lose their starting stack or when they get below a certain number.
• Turbo Tournaments speed up the game because of the extra fast blind levels. Blinds get increased at every level with many players losing their gambling strength faster than regular MTT tournaments, thus they finish fast too.
• Qualifier tournaments, which also have many variants, require players to pass and win through a series of steps before they can win the big title or the big prize. These tournaments usually involve a major prize with hefty consolation prizes too.
How do you enter and win a poker tournament?
Buy-ins are basically your entry fee into the poker tournament. You are “buying your way” into joining the game by paying a specific amount (it varies depending on the tournament) which is equivalent to the number of chips that you’ll be playing with for the entirety of the tournament. The chips actually have no corresponding cash value. They are part of what regulates the speed at which players lose or move on up in the tournament. When you lose all your chips, in most cases, it means that you’ve lost your shot at the tournament. But if the game that you’re playing allows you a “buy back” or an “add on”, then you can continue playing by adding more chips until such time that these ran out and you’re really eliminated from the tournament.
During the course of the tournament, as players lose in each table (assuming a multi-table setup), the table then becomes left with an uneven number of players. Some tournaments simply distribute the rest of the remaining players to other tables or they move on to the 2nd or 3rd round in the tournament, pretty much like an elimination type of game.
The game will continue until only one person wins all the other poker chips in the game. He has earned the right to be called champion of the tournament. Those in 2nd place or 3rd place follow in reverse order, but also applying the same principle, depending on their rank when they were eliminated from the game.
Prizes are distributed depending on the pay-out structure of the tournament. This information is important because your winnings are dependent on it. There is a “Winner takes All” prize pool especially when the tournament is sponsored by a company or taken from gate receipts from viewers and the audience. However, there is a general practice of distributing the prize pool based on the top winners in the tournament. First, 2nd and 3rd place get a fixed amount, usually as advertised, and the rest of the players get nothing. There are some tournaments where a certain percentage is given even up to the 150th place. This is assuming that there are many players who have participated in the tournament. (Read more about rules: Basic Rules and advice when playing in Casinos in Las Vegas or Atlantic City).
Image kindly provided by this guy