Online Gambling
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Online Poker Tournaments

Popularized largely from television broadcasts over the last decade, poker tournaments have become a very popular pastime for online gamblers around the world. From million dollar tournaments to freerolls, there are a lot of options online for players of all skill levels to join in on the action.

Why Play Tournament Poker?

Worried about losing a lot of money in poker? Cash games always present a chance that you will face a terrible night and lose bundles of cash. Tournaments avoid this risk of losing more than you want to. You can only lose an entry fee if bounced from a tournament on a bad beat, which can save players hundreds of dollars.

As mentioned before, players can participate in a tournament for little cost with the prospective of winning big prizes. This is great especially for beginner players. When playing a real money game, you have to take into account how much money a hand will lose you. In a tournament game you can just think strategy and not worry too much about the cash. Instead of concentrating on how much money they might be out after a hand, players can focus on the game of poker and have a better experience overall.

Sit and Go Poker Tournaments

Sit-and-go (SAG) tournaments are those which begin as soon as the table is filled. The tournament can be as small as a single table or can involve multiple tables. This style of poker playing is very convenient in comparison with traditional tournaments that begin at a set time.

Single table events are the most popular type of sit and go tournaments, with tables filling up fast under most circumstances. The main benefit of single table tournaments is that all players begin at the "final" table without having to fight their way through earlier rounds. From here the numbers are decreased as people are removed from the table until there is a winner.

Multi-table sit and go tournaments similarly start when enough players have registered rather than at a set time, though with more than one table being played consecutively. Players from these multiple tables merge as people lose their chips, until there is but one table left with players fighting for the winning position.

With sit and go tournaments offering buy-ins as low as a dollar, there's room for players of all skill levels and budgets to participate.

Satellite Tournaments

Poker tournaments get their prize money from the players entry fees required in order to play in the tournament. As a rule, the larger the prizes, the larger the entry fee - often to the point where they are out of reach to most poker players. For example, the World Series of Poker deals with prizes that number in their millions, yet the entry fee is a whopping $10,000. Players wishing to play in tournaments of this magnitude may enter lesser tournaments where the prize is free entry into a much larger tournament. These are known as satellite tournaments.

Players who are unable (or unwilling) to pay larger entry fees can make use of satellite tournaments in an attempt to win a seat at a larger tournament for a much lower cost. Rather than a cash prize, winning players receive free entries into the larger tournament.

Despite paying much lower entry fees to enter satellite tournaments, even this is too much for some people. In these cases they may enter satellite tournaments where the prize is an entry into a larger satellite tournament. One poker player managed to qualify for the World Series after paying just $16 for an entry fee into a super-satellite tournament.

Scheduled Tournaments

Larger multi-player tournaments generally start at a set time, and have larger prizes to go along with the larger player pool. Depending on the size and style of tournament, prize pools can range from hundreds to millions of dollars.

Most scheduled tournaments (actually, tournaments in general) have multiple places for top spots, usually with more winning positions for more players. While the first place finisher always receives the largest prize, a 1000 person tournament may pay something to as many as the first 50 finishers.

Additional Styles of Tournaments

There are various ways to change the pace of tournaments beside the usual basic limit, pot limit, and no limit options.

One way is to put a "bounty" on a particular player. If a player has been particularly successful, take a cut of the entry fees and put it aside as a bounty. Whoever manages to knock that player off the top spot receives the bounty.

For a long leisurely tournament, consider adding rebuys and add-ons. Of course, make sure you cap the number of times a player can replenish their ships otherwise the tournament would never end! Using rebuys and add-ons is a good way to bring back players who may have lost a lot of chips early on.

Add-ons are a chance for any player to add to their chip count going into the final stretch. If you allow rebuys, you should set a time at which they end, and at that time allow each player one add-on purchase.

In multi-table tournaments, a way of eliminating the need to move players is to have a "shootout tournament" where each table produces a winner that progresses onto the final table. So, if there are seven tables, there will be seven seats at the final table. This also brings a near equal chip count when the final table begins.


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