How Do Poker Tournaments Work

If you’re an ardent casino lover, the Poker game is one you would naturally love. The excitement and sense of competition are quite challenging. Now, talking about Poker Tournaments, Poker is still the game on the lips of casino players.

Based on the level of experience I have attained in the game over the years, I’ll show you in this article just how easy and fun it is to participate in the tournaments. Before we dive into that, let’s explain what a Poker tournament is.

What is a Poker Tournament?

Tournament Poker is easy to play and understand. Whether you’re playing a sit n go, also known as a single table tournament (STT), or playing a multi-table tournament (MTT), all the players have to put up buy-in, which qualifies them to get a share of the tournament chips.

The Tournament is different from cash games where players have buy-ins for different amounts and play until they decide to leave. With tournament poker, you don’t leave the table until the set time has been reached.

To clarify what Poker tournaments are all about, let us carefully examine the terms and explain them well.

Important Terms in a Poker Tournament

The following are some of the terms you’ll hear of in Poker tournaments. Pay close attention because these terms are going to help you look like a professional.

1. The Entry Fee

Unlike cash games where the amount of chips you’re given represents the amount of money you’re staking, tournaments require that every player drops a fee (usually equal). Also, cash games will require players to keep betting until they’re tired and want to leave. In tournaments, the only amount you’ll lose is the amount of the entry fee you placed.

2. The Prize Pool And The Rake

The prize pool is the amount of each player’s entry fee that the winners will take home, while the rake is the house fee—this one goes to the Casino. Then rake is usually 10% of the prize pool, so assuming that we have set a prize pool of $100, the rake would be $10. The rake can also go as high as 30% of the prize pool, depending on the Casino.

3. Freezeout, Re-entry Tournaments, Re-buy, and Add-on

These refer to the structures of the entry fees.

Freezeout: each player is entitled to only one buy-in. Once a player has exhausted his chips, he leaves the game. One player leaves the game at a time until they reach the final table.

Re-entry tournaments: a player can join in the Tournament again after he has exhausted his chips. The only difference is that he will not be treated like he was once in the game; instead, he’ll be given a new seat.

Re-buy: players can buy more chips at the beginning of the Tournament if they notice that they’re beginning to fall short or when they have completely exhausted their chips. There’s a specified time for re-buys to take place. This is the only part of the Tournament that looks like the cash games.

Ad-on: this refers to the number of chips given to a player who has decided to re-buy some more chips.

It must be noted that these terms have to be clearly explained before the Tournament begins. As you can see, all the terms cannot be featured in the same Tournament. A re-buy tournament is different from freezeout tournaments.

4. Heads-up

This is the head-to-head part of the Tournament when only two players left to duke it out on the final table.

The Payout Structure

Unlike the cash game where every player can increase his buy-in as the game progresses, every player in the Poker places a standard and equal bet. Most of the fields in the Tournament won’t get any payment after the game is done.

Now, the number of players that receive payment at the end of the game will not be the same as every Tournament. It would depend on the set rules of the Tournament. Very commonly, 3 of the top players would get a percentage of the prize pool according to their rank.

In multi-table tournaments, the number of players who receive payment would depend on the number of entries, and the chart could look something like this:

From the above, you can see that the number of players that receive payments increases with the number of entries. The stats are the same for both online Poker tournaments and live tournaments. It is even better defined in online Poker tournaments.

When to Establish The Final Prize-pool

There are different forms the tournaments can take, and that it depends on what stated rules of the game; as such, the final prize pool would be different.

Re-buy Tournament: players don’t know how much the final prize-pool is until the re-buy and add-on periods end. Usually, it ends up higher than the initial amount.

Freezeout tournament: in freezeout tournaments, the final prize-pool will be determined at the end of the initial entry period.

How to Determine The Winner

There is only one way to find out who the overall winner is. The game will go on until there is only one player with all the chips. Before the winner is determined, two remaining players would face-off, and that is referred to as the “Heads up.

Chip Distribution

The number of chips distributed among players is usually uniform. Unlike cash games where players can choose the buy-in they want to start with, tournaments ensure that every player gets the same number of chips.

The chips could go from 2,000 to 3,000 chips in average starting stack size, while in deep-stacked tournaments, it can go from 3,000 to 8,000 chips.

The Blind Levels

The blind levels usually increase at prearranged intervals. When this happens, all the players will have their stack size decreased and be forced to top-up their stacks. If they don’t increase their stacks, they may have insufficient chips to pay for the blinds. The number of blinds will not be the same for every level.

There are also intervals where the blinds are increased. Depending on the stated rules and number of players, it could range from as fast as three minutes and as slow as two hours. However, the speed of online poker tournaments is usually much higher than that of live tournaments.

The blind speed usually influences the Poker tournament strategies that the players can pull off. You have to carefully decide if you want to play the hands, when to play then, and which one to play.

If your Poker strategy tournament is weak, you may blind out and have to leave the table. It takes a fair amount of work and time to learn some of these strategies. You can check out these game guides to discover the best tournament strategy and some other exciting games.

Tournament Variations

  1. Bounty tournaments
  2. Shootout tournament
  3. Double or nothing
  4. Spin N Go tournaments
  5. Satellite tournaments.

Major Poker Tournament Events And Series

A poker is a popular event across nations of the world (as long as casinos are legal). Some events cannot go unrecognized in the casino Poker playing world. Some of these events are live, while others are online Poker tournaments. We’ll go over them individually.

Live Poker Tournament Events And Series

The following are some of the biggest tournaments you’ll ever hear of:

World Series of Poker

The WSOP has to be the biggest poker tournament of all time; well, it is the first-ever to happen. The WSOP was initiated by Benny Binion in 1970 at his Horseshoe Casino and started as a cash game. The event only had 7 of the most prominent casino players as participants at the time and was wondering two times in a row by Johnny Moss.

The event has since become one of the most significant casino events of all time. The buy-in as of 1970 was $5000. It was increased to $10,000 the following year and has since been the Tournament’s standard buy-in. WSOP takes place every year and spans June through July. Although the event now has several other tournaments, it is believed that it is no longer as popular as it used to be.

World Poker Tour (WPT)

The WPT came to life in June 2002 and spanned through April 2003. The Tournament has maintained the same routine over the years, running from the second half of one year to the first part of the next.

The Tournament holds in several locations, with many of them being in the United States. The other locations are in Canada, Korea, the United Kingdom, and Holland.

The initial buy-in for the Tournament was $10,000, but we have seen it go as high as $100,000 and as low as $3,500.

European Poker Tour (EPT)

The European Poker Tour was established in 2004 and is an annual Poker event. The event usually occurs in some of the most notable cities in Europe, including London, Barcelona, Dublin, and Prague.

The buy-in for the main event is usually $5,000. However, other side events can require less or even more.

Latin America Poker Tour (LAPT)

The LAPT started in 2008 and was run in a few Latin American nations, including Brazil, Uruguay, and Costa Rica. In recent years, other countries like Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia have been used.

The Tournament usually includes a buy-in ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 and can take up to 1,000 players.

Other popular live Poker tournament series include the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT), Aussie Millions, and Irish Open.

How to Choose a Tournament to Play

Choosing a tournament to play shouldn’t be such a difficult thing to do. For players who have been in the game for a long time, you can take part in any of the above mentioned live Poker tournaments to test your skills. Remember that it is majorly for fun and enjoyment.

If you’re a new player, it would be wise to start with some online Poker tournaments at online casinos that have not become so big yet. The truth is, the bigger the Casino, the better the players. One of such casinos that aren’t so big yet where you can play tournaments without having to work yourself up is Bspin.

Aside from the fact that you’ll have a great time playing Poker at Bspin, you also need to check out casino promotions for both new and old players.

Make sure that you avoid highly established online casinos because they’re filled with challenging opponents who are looking for challenges. You need to start with some of the easy ones if you really want to become better.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Poker Tournament

The following are some of the questions that other casino players have asked about Poker tournaments that I believe you might want to know.

Can Anyone Play in The World Series of Poker (WSOP)?

Yes, the world series of Poker is for anyone and everyone as long as they’re up to 21 years of age or any age as legal in their country and can afford the buy-ins.

How Long Does a Poker Tournament Take?

The length of Poker tournaments will vary depending on factors like the number of players, the blinds, the type of Tournament. Generally, tournaments can last for hours.

How do Poker Tournaments Make Money?

Casinos make money from tournaments from the players by collecting a commission, which is known as the pot rake. The pot rake can range from 2.5% to 10%, depending on the agreement with the players.

How do You Run a Texas Hold’em Tournament?

Prepare and explain all the necessary details of the Tournament. This will include naming the Tournament, deciding how many players should participate, and finally, the buy-ins should be entered.

Decide what the starting stack should be. Usually, all the players should be starting with 100 big blinds.

Decide the tournament duration. You’ll need to choose the starting and ending points.

Determine the payout structure. It will adjust automatically with the buy-in price. The structure could be set so that the first 3, 4, 5, or 6 players get paid. The more players that get paid, the lesser the amount each player receives.

Now that you’re acquainted with how to play at tournaments, you might want to play Casino Hold’em here, along with various other Bitcoin Video Poker games.


Poker players have one thing in common; the zeal to win the overall multi-table prize pool. Whether you’re playing cash games or real tournaments, always put your eyes on the money and your mind in the game. Poker tournaments are also an amazing way to connect and spend time with your friends who share the same love for poker as you do. You will always get immense satisfaction from playing your favorite games with those you love.

You can become a tournament winner if you read some books on Poker tournaments, start to play with friends, play some free online Poker games, or just build yourself around everything that the casino offers. You can also attend any of the tournament series that is happening close to your location. There’s no better way to learn than watching the masters.