Poker tournaments are the most popular way to play poker in the world. The World Series of Poker is the most well-known poker tournament in the world, and it focuses solely on tournament play.
You might be wondering if there’s any difference between a regular poker cash game and a tournament if you’ve never played in one. Yes, and let’s have a look at how poker tournaments function.
What Is the Process of Playing Poker Tournaments?
In a traditional poker tournament, all players pay the same entrance fee and begin with the same amount of chips. Chips in poker tournaments have no monetary value.
A $100 buy-in poker tournament, for example, might provide each player 10,000 beginning chips. You won’t be able to exchange any of those chips for cash once the tournament begins.
A poker tournament’s goal is to last as long as possible. When you lose all of your chips, you are eliminated, and the tournament continues until one player has gathered all of the chips in play.
The blinds (required wagers that revolve around the table) increase at regular intervals, unlike in a cash game of poker. Players must make decisions in a tournament as the blind level rises, or risk having their stacks shrink due to the growing blinds.
In a poker tournament, everybody but one player loses all of their chips, and the last player standing is declared the winner.
In a poker tournament, how do payouts work?
Poker tournaments give out a specific percentage of the players, with the remaining players walking home empty-handed. A normal poker event pays out anywhere from 10% to 30% of the total prize pool.
The WSOP Online NLH North American Open in 2021, for example, had a $1,000 buy-in. The tournament received 756 entries and paid out to the last 126 players.
The top 126 players were given $1,384, netting them a $384 profit on their $1,000 buy-in. The tournament’s eventual winner took home $137,570.
When a poker tournament reaches its final stages, the payouts skyrocket. At the pinnacle of the payout hierarchy, major tournaments such as the WSOP Main Event provide life-changing money.
Hossein Ensan, the 2019 WSOP Main Event champion, took home $10,000,000 after defeating an 8,569-player field. The top nine finishers in the $10,000 buy-in Main Event each took home at least $1,000,000.
In a poker tournament, how many people can participate?
A poker tournament can have as little as three players, but there is no limit to the number of players who can participate.
Due to the lack of physical space, online competitions can attract tens of thousands of people. In 2013, PokerStars hosted a $1 buy-in tournament that garnered 225,000 players.