During a poker tournament players contend for entire prize pool or for a part of it. To participate in the tournament one should pay an entry fee and also buy an appointed number of tournament chips to get started. The event goes on and unlucky players are busted until only one or a few remain. The prize pool is split among the top finishers in accordance with tournament regulations. Generally the stakes increase greatly approaching the end of the tournament.
As you can see, general poker tournament rules are not so strict. That opens up possibilities to have a great variety of such events. For example, at many tournaments “rebuys” are permitted. It gives busted players a chance to reenter the tournament by making a straightway investment to the prize pool. Rebuys can also be different: limited or unlimited in number or limited in time, i.e. available only during certain period of the tournament. Short stack players as well as all active players are allowed to use rebuys. There is also an “add-on” facility at many tournaments: all active players may purchase a set number of extra chips. That again enlarges the prize pool. You can take an add-on at the beginning of the event, at the end of the rebuy period or, seldom, at any time withing the rebuy period. Add-ons and rebuys may have better exhange rates in comparison with the initial buy-in.
A “freezeout” tournament means that no rebuys are allowed. Taking into consideration the betting structure, we should mention its variations: no-limit, pot-limit, limit only, or a mixture. Basically it is limit in the early rounds and no-limit closer to the final game. Regardless betting structure, the betting limits or blinds show a regular increase. In a small tournament they may double every 20 minutes, while a large one has a slower rate.
The Chip Race
As the stakes increase during the tournament a kind of a puzzling situation with small denomination chips apeears. To get rid of them, dealers “race off” all the red chips. Your $5 chips are counted and converted to the maximal possible number of green $25 chips. The remaining reds are collected and raced off: each player gets one card for each chip and the highest card holder wins the whole sum converted to greens. In some tournaments the number of reds you have is just rounded to greens. Though such technique changes the amount of many in the game, it is preferable, as it preserves relative chip positions of the players.
Some other ways of chip racing include awarding the highest card holder with only one chip. Furter the chips are distributed among other players, again finding the next highest card.
Usually the tornament comes to the end only when one player remains. Depending on the regulations the entire prize pool is awarded to the winner or it may be distributed among the top finishers. For the most part the tables are consolidated, which means that the seats are redrawn when players leave the tournament. Such system leads to the “final table” of competitors. However, you may face a “shootout” system, which presumes only one player from each table going to the next stage of the tournament. With the final table having large stakes and pyout schedules fovoring the first place, luck has a crucial role. Sometimes players choose to cut a deal instead of concluding the tournament.
The winner of the “satelite” tournament receives an entry to a more serious tournament as a prize. The World Series of Poker large tournaments, for example $10,000 No-limit Hold'em event, organize hierarchical system of satelites. It works like this: the mini-satelite with $100 buy-in awards the winner with a $1,000 buy-in to the next stage satelite, which in its turn awards the winner with a $10,000 buy-in to the main tournament.
There is also a “super-satelite” format used commonly in the larger tournaments. It represents a multi-table event awarding a number of players with a ticket to the main contest. The advantage of super-satelite system is that the buy-in may be only 2% of the buy-in to the main event and the rebuys are in most cases permitted. In super-satelites, which have the flat payout structure, players may choose strategies that seem to be unusual in traditional tournaments.
Poker tournaments basic strategy
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