There are “games” and there are “tournaments” in poker. As of today, the tournaments comprise a massive poker and casino trend — in either of the two establishments, be it online or “brick and mortar”. Basically, these are groups of players who compete against each other for prizes and championships. There simple tournaments with a single table and more massive with thousands of players entering the game online and with many active tables involved in the competition. The basic similarity between all types of the poker tournaments is that the winner of the biggest prizes is the one who takes all of the chips; with the other leading players being determined by the order of exclusion.
Thus, chips are the main indicator of the player’s status during any poker tournament, other than their “winnings” to a specific time. This helps to avoid the chances for a “tie”. Officially this kind of poker tournament is called the “freezout” or “knockout” format. This approach is necessary to apply in the tournament because it depends on the system that deals with the shortening numbers of players at every table and combines them once they get small. Eventually, things get down to a single table where all the leading players continue playing with the left chips in hands.
How do tournaments work? Usually, there is a fixed “buy in” or a minimum for each player and this is converted into the chips used throughout the game. Once a player spends all the chips, they become frozen and leave the game. In other words, they are excluded. There are many top poker tournaments that allow you to purchase more chips once they waste them or get below a specific level. This option is called “rebuy” and it gives players a chance to stay in the tournament. The rebuy is also referred to as an “add on” if the chance is available to all players before they get down to the freezeout. One way or another, when they run out of the opportunities for buying additional chips they get out of the game.
As for the prizes available, they are usually directly connected to the buy in price for the tournament. Sometimes, there are larger events that are sponsored with higher prizes, which mean that either sponsors or ticket sales for spectators provide money for them.
Normally, all prizes are proportional or fixed. The fixed ones are introduced before the tournament and are set in tiers. For example, the player who wins the first place gets a pre-arranged sum, etc.
For the proportional prizes, the amount is calculated in percentage from total players taking part in the tournament, and the leading ten players usually get the larger payouts.
Since there are many different tournaments, they rules and prizes usually vary, so it is better to check out each event type before playing.
In any case, there are tournaments available online and offline. However, the offline tournaments in casinos don’t get as massive as the tournaments online because of the limits in space, though they may offer huge prize pools due to sponsorship or their popularity. Thus, the most famous tournaments of poker in the world are the offline ones, where prizes may even hit the range of million dollars. Along with different prize format variations, some poker tournaments may be open or invitational. Mostly, there are such types:
Sit and Go Tournaments – these events have a pre-arranged number of players at a “single table”. Usually, they are the “fixed prize” types that are similar to the ones with a final table in multi-table events (view below). For example, if there must be ten players at a table to start, once the tenth player joins (whether online or in person) and seats at this table the tournament may begin. The players commonly start with the same amount of chips and the requirements for betting tend to be low as well. Also, there are tournaments where go tables and multiple sit compete, and that’s quite common for the online settings.
Multi-Table Tournaments – these events are a popular way to find a tournament. There are many tables provided at a time that in the long run shrink down to the “single table” as players are being excluded. Often, these are the ultimate goal of players who take part in “satellite tournaments” too. The satellite poker tournament is a very popular online event. It costs less to join and the winners do not get cash rewards, instead, they are allowed to take part in more competitive and larger multi-table poker tournament.
Bounty Tournaments – this event format is not so frequently found, but these tournaments let players put a small part of the entry fee towards the “bounty”. While opponents compete with each other, they win others’ bounties and get them as a prize.