A poker tournament is a type of poker competition in which the players start off with an equal number of “chips” and compete for prizes that are awarded to the top finishers at the end of the tournament. The most famous poker tournament is the World Series of Poker but there are plenty of other poker tournaments—including online poker tournaments—available to players at every skill level and every bankroll level. So now let’s take a closer look at what exactly is a poker tournament and how you can play in one.
Getting Started at the Poker Tournament
Any type of poker game can be played in a tournament format. Intertops Poker, for example, offers Texas Hold’em tournaments, Omaha tournaments, and Omaha HiLo tournaments. Every tournament has a specified starting date and time and a specified Buy-In amount.
The Buy-In is usually expressed as a sum of two numbers, like $10 + $1. That means you have to pay $11 to join the tournament, of which $10 goes into the prize pool and $1 goes to the casino so it can pay its electric bill and continue operating.
Some poker tournaments are freerolls, meaning the buy-in is free but they still award cash prizes. The prizes in freerolls are generally not huge, but still, it is something for nothing, which is almost always a good thing.
Your Poker Tournament Chips
Regardless of whether you play poker online or in a brick casino, every poker tournament starts with all the players receiving an equal number of chips, usually in the range of 1,500 to 10,000 chips. Chips are not currency; a thousand chips is not equivalent to a thousand dollars. Chips are merely a device to keep track of how you are doing in relation to your opponents in the tournament. When a player loses all his chips, he is eliminated from the tournament. When all players but one have been eliminated, the tournament is over and the last man (or woman) standing is the winner.
Playing in an Online Poker Tournament
To join an online poker tournament at Intertops Poker, go into the lobby of the Intertops Poker Client, click Tournaments to see a complete list of upcoming poker tournaments, and select the one you want. Follow the instructions to register for the tournament and pay the buy-in.
Upon registering, you will be assigned to a random seat at a random table. Most tournaments sit six or eight players at each table, although there could be as few as two or as many as ten. Depending on the number of players registered, multiple tables are often needed to accommodate everyone.
When a player runs out of chips, he is eliminated from the tournament. As the tournament progresses and more players are eliminated, the remaining players are moved around and consolidated into fewer table. For example, three tables of 4 players each can be consolidated into two tables of 6 players each.
When all of the remaining players are consolidated into one table, this is known as the Final Table. In a big major poker tournament, just getting to the Final Table is considered a prestigious accomplishment by itself. As players continue to get eliminated, eventually there will be only two left. This is called the Heads Up stage of the tournament and it is always very exciting and nerve-wracking until one of the two players is eliminated and the other is crowned the Champion of the poker tournament.
Distributing the Prizes
The final results of the poker tournament are determined by the inverse of the order in which the players were eliminated. The last player standing is the First Place winner, the last player eliminated takes Second Place, the player eliminated before him is Third Place, the one before him is Fourth, and so on.
In a very small tournament, a prize might be awarded only to the First Place finisher. In other tournaments, prizes can be awarded to the top three, the top ten, or the top one hundred finishers. Just make sure to read the tournament rules before you start so you’ll know what you need to do to finish in the money.
Have Fun and Good Luck!
Online or on land; low stakes or high stakes; Texas or Omaha—tournaments are a great way to enjoy playing poker while perhaps winning a real money prize. So find the poker tournament that seems right for you, have fun, and good luck!