Poker tournaments: How it works

A poker tournament is a competition in which the winner is selected by playing a variant of poker. Unlike cash games, there are no formal rules or deadlines for determining the winner of cash games.

Entry fees and prizes

In a typical tournament, players pay a fixed entry fee (called the buy-in) and receive a specific value represented by poker chips (called the game currency). Usually, the total value of chips provided to the player is an integer multiple of the buy-in. Sometimes, additional commercial fees may be added to the buy-in to cover the cost of running the competition. Only tokens given at the beginning of the game can be used in the game. Real money is not accepted during the tournament.

In addition, some games allow buy-ins (also known as buy-outs), which give players the right to get chips in the game. Sometimes redemption is conditional (e.g. only available to players with less than a certain number of chips), but in other cases it is only available to players who do not have more chips.

Rebuy tournaments are usually combined with add-ons, which allow players to get extra chips at the end of the allowed rebuy period, regardless of how many chips they have. The terms and conditions of the rebuy (e.g. the number of chips returned, the allowed rebuy period, or the number of possible rebuys) were set before the start of the rebuy and cannot be changed during the contest. When the player runs out of chips (cannot or may not redeem or add), the player will be eliminated from the game.

In most matches, even if a player’s position is changed, or by allocating all the players at the same table to other tables that still have vacant seats, even if a certain player is eliminated, the number of players at each table can be maintained. square. Some tournaments called shootouts don’t do this, and the last one or two (sometimes more) remaining on the table will move on to the next round, which is different from other sports.

The income is usually only a small part of the entry fee, but it can increase the currency. For example, some competitions do not charge entry fees, but redistribute prizes via sponsor income and/or audience registration (these competitions are called freerolls). In most matches, the match continues until only one player has tokens, but some matches allow players to make an agreement (under certain conditions set before the start of the match) to finish the match before all players are eliminated. Changing the bonus grid originally established. For example, in a $5 tournament with 10 players at the start, the first and second place prizes are $29 and $21.

The first player can take the risk of trying to reach an agreement with the opponent based on the distribution of chips between the two players or on the profit of the game (here 50 euros), without having to risk only 21 euros. In any case, the sum of the players won is called the prize pool.

The players are ranked in reverse chronological order (the last person left in the game wins first place, the second last person is second, and so on). Therefore, players in this ranking are not allowed to be equal, as the game ends when the players have all the chips. A tie can be played in all other places, but this is rare because the ranking is defined by the number of chips the player had before being eliminated.

There are two types of income distribution:

  • Fixed: Each position is worth a certain amount of money. For example, in a tournament where ten people participate, the buy-in is 20 euros, the first is fixed at 100 euros, the second at 60 euros, the third at 40 euros, and the others I didn’t win anything.
  • Proportional: The income is determined according to the percentage. The percentage is determined by the number of participants and increases as the number of registered players increases. Usually 10% of the quota is paid and as the player approaches the first place, the income increases. As a result, the top three players are usually more or more than all other players combined.

In both examples, when there are only 4 players left in the game, the next player to be eliminated will get nothing. This is the worst time to be eliminated, and this point in the game is called a bubble. The competition can be open to everyone or simply accept invitations. The main event of the World Series of Poker, called WSOP (English World Series of Poker), is the Texas Hold’em event, and its entry fee is $10,000.

Different variations

Although some games allow for a shuffle of variations, such as HORSE which combines Hold’em, Omaha, Razz, eight or more seven-card studs, or dealer selection variations (from the transaction’s list of predetermined variations), most of the game offers only one variation until the end. Omaha and Texas Hold’em tournaments can be played with fixed limits, pot limits or unlimited play.

Tournament Locations

Unofficial tournaments can be organised by groups of friends or as part of a poker club. According to the laws in force, these games are free in France (and therefore free games). The casino has recently been authorised to set up a Texas Hold’em table, as has a gaming circle that has been organising regular games for several years. Online gambling sites also regularly organise competitions (daily, weekly or monthly), but not all countries/regions allow this. Finally, most major competitions take place in the United States, especially in Las Vegas.

The main tournaments

The two main series of poker tournaments in the world are the World Poker Tour (WPT) and  The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is a series of tournaments that make up the World Series of Poker. Since 1970 it has been held in Las Vegas around June and July each year. At each WSOP, there are dozens of tournaments (called « events »), and when a player wins one of these tournaments, they win the World Championship bracelet. The WSOP Main Event is this year’s highlight.

Throughout the year, the World Poker Tour (WPT) takes place in many cities around the world. In each city, a series of competitions will be held. Each series has its own main event and to win the WPT Championship you must win one of the main events. In Europe there is the European Poker Tour (EPT) founded by John Duthie in 2004. It also includes several competitions held in different cities outside Europe.

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