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Tournament Basics | Tournament Strategies

Every year, millions of dollars of prize money are won in mega tournaments such as the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and the World Poker Tour (WPT). The extensive TV coverage of these events in recent years has popularized this form of the poker game and with the proliferation of online poker sites, tournament poker has gone mainstream. Due to the easy access offered by internet poker sites, anyone looking to play a game of tournament poker will always be able to find a game at anytime of the day.

For the skilled players, poker tournaments are more rewarding as it requires players to make bets, bluff and gamble rather than simply folding and waiting for the pocket aces and kings.

Tournament Basics

To enter a tournament, each player must first pay a sum of money (buy in) upfront. The buy-in includes a small fee to the poker site or casino for hosting the tournament and the rest goes to make up the prize pool. Thus, the size of the prize pool depends on the number of people playing in the tournament and will be paid out to the winners.

Each player starts with a certain amount of play money in the form of poker chips. Once a player runs out of chips, he or she gets eliminated. Certain tournaments offer players the option to purchase additional chips. Such tournaments are known as rebuy tournaments.

Play continues until only one player remains with all the chips. The ever increasing blinds and antes ensures that the tournament will come to a conclusion within a reasonable time frame.

The later you get eliminated in a tourney, the higher you are placed. Only the top placements in a poker tournament makes the money. In a typical 10 player single table tournament, only 1st, 2nd and 3rd placings are awarded prize money. In tournaments with 30 or more players, generally the top 10% gets awarded prize money.

Poker tournaments can be scheduled or unscheduled. Scheduled tournaments start at a preannounced date and time. Unscheduled tournaments are commonly known as Sit and Go (SNG) tournaments. These tournaments start as soon as all the required number of players have registered and taken their seat at the table, hence the name.


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