Over the last few years the popularity of poker tournaments has grown in part because of some recent televised
high-profile, high stakes tournaments. A poker tournament can be as small as single-table events involving eight
players to huge ones that attract hundreds of players. Although novice players might not be ready to play in the
World Series of Poker they can still have a good time playing and as a bonus they have an outside chance of winning
Poker tournaments usually offer only a limited number of games. They offer only games that have a large following
unlike the casinos that have a large variety of poker games. Usually tournaments offer the following games:
Satellites and super-satellites:
- Texas Hold'em
- 7-Card Stud
- 5-Card Stud
Satellite and super-satellite games are similar to regular poker tournaments but the top prize is an entry to a bigger
tournament. Satellite games are smaller tournaments while super-satellite games are larger tournaments with top
place winners winning entry into a larger tournament (cash prizes may also be won).
Rules for Poker Tournaments:
Poker tournaments vary in: the game played, the number of tournament players, betting, buy-in fees (this determines
the size of the prize) and the method of prize distribution.
Tournament betting can take on various forms such as:
No Limit - Unlimited wagers can be made.
Pot Limit - The pot limits the size of the wager you can make.
Fixed Limit - Your wager can't exceed a set amount.
In tournament play betting is structured and as the tournament progresses and the levels increase level the betting
limits are increased.
Number of Players:
Multiple-table tournaments allow hundreds of players to play. Players sit in groups of 5 to 10 players at a table
and tables are added until all of those entered are seated.
Tournament players pay two fees to enter a tournament. There is a buy-in fee to provide the prize pool that the
winners share, and an entry-fee to compensate the casino that organizes the tournament. Fees can be as little as
$2 + $0.50 to $100 + $9 for typical games and as high as the $10,000+ to play in the World Series of Poker.
How to play at a Poker Tournament:
The rules are different for each tournament but the basic rules are the same. The players all start with the same
number of chips and all start playing at the same time. The tournament level increases at regular intervals as the
tournament progresses (some tournaments increase the level every 10 rounds while some set a time limit on each of the
levels) and at each increase in level the ante and minimum bet double.
A player continues to play until he/she runs out of chips ("busts out") after which they are out of the tournament.
When one player ends up with all the chips he/she is declared the winner of the tournament.
After the winner is declared prize money is paid out according to the tournament rules. The few top players get the
largest share of the prize money the 1st place winner about 35%, the 2nd place winner about 17% and the 3rd place
winner about 9%. Other winners may receive part of the prize pot depending on the type of game being played and the
total number of entries. The amount in the prize pot depends on the number of players, the buy-in fee and additional
money raised through player re-buys and add-ons.
Re-buys and Add-ons:
These are two options that allow tournament players to purchase additional.
Re-buying allows players to buy chips, either during early levels of play or for a set period of time, when the
player has wagered all of their chips. There are two types of re-buys offered depending on the tournament rules;
unlimited re-buys or one-time re-buys.
Add-ons differ from re-buying in that they are available only at the end of the re-buy period and can be purchased
even if players have some chips remaining.
Any money raised from selling re-buys and add-ons is added to the prize money and distributed to tournament winners.