Anyone who is passionate about poker and has become quite good at playing it will want at some point to enter online poker tournaments, both to make a name for themselves and hopefully increase their revenue.
For those who are new to online poker tournaments and want to get off to a good start, we have put together some of the most important pieces of information you need to know about how these tournaments work, including types of poker tournaments you can enter, prize pools and the kind of money you might make at first, and a list of sites that offer poker competitions.
But before anything else, let us explain what a poker tournament is. It’s basically a competition with a fixed format in which players compete by playing poker and all the elements of the game, such as the blinds, buy-in, stack sizes, time limit, are established beforehand.
Given the recent poker boom, now there are a lot of tournaments players can join online and a multitude of formats of the game they can play, but the most popular one remains Texas holdem.
There are countless websites that offer poker tournaments, but among the best sites you can play on we have to name Pokerstars.com, which is not only the most popular but also the biggest such site online, with thousands of poker tournaments taking place every day. Then there is America’s Cardroom Poker, a favourite of most US-based players, 888 Poker – known for very soft Hold’em games, Tiger Gaming – which is ideal for beginners, and Party Poker – which runs appealing promotions for recreational players.
So how does a tournament work? First you have to register on one of these sites and then make sure to log in and show up for the tournament you are interested in. There are two different kinds of events: sit and go’s (SNGs), which can happen whenever because they start when the tables are full, and Multi Table Tournaments (MTTs) that have a set time and place.
Each player purchases a stack of chips they will play with (between 1500 and 3000 chips) for an agreed price, and the amount is the same for every player, unless you’re in a tournament that allows re-buys and add-ons. When the tournament begins, you play until the chips are gone and you are out of the game. The one player who wins all the chips is the winner of the tournament.
In terms of playing format, a tournament is very similar to a cash game: players post their blinds, antes, and then they are dealt their cards and play according to the rules of the game chosen. The difference is that tournaments have levels, unlike cash games where players can purchase more chips at any point. What this means is that the betting increases (higher blinds) as the game goes on in order to keep the games at a predetermined length of time.
As for the types of tournaments you can enter, besides SNGs and MTTs, mentioned above, there are also the standard Freezeout Tournaments, Turbo / Speed Tournaments – rapid games with fast increases in betting levels, and Rebuy Tournaments which allow players to get more chips.
And finally, let’s talk a bit about the kind of profits you can expect. There is great volatility in profits, actually, as a player might go without gaining anything a long stretch, then suddenly get to the final table of a major event and win. What’s important to know is that while professional players can get 100% return on investment, beginners should expect 30% to 50% return on their stakes.