Online Poker Tournaments, a Two Part Primer (Part 1)
If you’ve ever watched any of the number of Poker Tournaments on TV
you’re probably aware of the excitement these tournaments can generate.
There’s really nothing like going “all in” when you’re playing heads up,
knowing that the entire prize pool is at stake. Well Tournament Poker is
not just for the pros anymore. Your favorite Online Poker Room probably
has a tournament going on right now. If you’ve never played in an online
tournament here’s some things you ought to know.
Anatomy of an Online Poker Tournament
Most online poker rooms offer tournament play. A quick visit to their
website will tell you everything you’ll need to know about their upcoming
tournament schedule. Information like the buy-in, type of tournament,
starting time is clearly displayed; you simply read the schedule and then
make your decision. Here’s what a typical tournament entry looks like:
6:00 PM ET (10:00 PM GMT) 30+3 NL Texas Hold’em
This simply means that the tournament starts at 6PM Eastern Standard
Time, it’s a No Limit (NL) Texas Hold’em Game. The 30+3 is the buy-in.
These numbers tell you that it will cost you $33 to play in this
tournament; it’s listed this way to let you know that you will be paying
$30 toward the prize pool and $3 to the pokerroom. To play in this
tournament you’ll need to register sometime prior to 6PM. Registration
essentially means paying the entry fee ($33).
A few minutes before 6PM you should launch the pokerroom and login.
Further details are specific to the pokerroom you’re playing at, but most
likely you’ll automatically be taken to the tournament at the appropriate
At the start of the tournament, everyone will have the same number of
chips (1,500 is a typical number). Play will commence as usual, blinds,
the dealer button and betting order will be handled just like in
non-tournament play. As hands won and lost and chips are moved around the
table, some players will lose all of the chips and be eliminated. The
tournament will continue until one player has won all of the chips. That
person will be declared the winner and will take home the largest share
of the prize pool.
Most tournaments will have more then one winner, some larger tournaments
can have five or more. The final player will win the biggest prize; the
second, third, forth... place finishers will each win lesser prizes. Any
player that wins a prize is said to have finished “in the money”