For many people the game of poker is exciting. The thrill of competition, the suspense of watching others play their hardest poker odds and the thrill of winning when all their hard work pays off are all well known motivators of amateur poker players. For some poker enthusiasts a poker tournament can provide such a strong sense of achievement that they will often continue playing even if they have lost previously. Such players know that they have what it takes not only to succeed in a poker tournament but to win it too.
How do poker tournaments work? Poker tournaments are different from cash games in which each player pays an entry fee and competes against other anonymous players to win a fixed percentage of the prize money. During the tournament, the blinds increase steadily at fixed intervals. In a cash game, after a certain amount of time (the starting hand limit in a no limit Texas Holdem tournament is 30 seconds) the player with the most poker chips wins the pot.
There are two main ways to participate in high-stakes poker tournaments: buy-in and rebuy tournaments. In buy-in tournaments, each participant is required to buy a minimum number of chips with which to play. Usually the buy-in is lower than usual in cash games because at the start of every round all players receive same starting chips. The buy-in in a buy-in tournament is equivalent to the maximum number of chips any one player can have. If the tournament has tournaments, players compete for prize money rather than chips.
In most tournaments the buy-in and rebuy systems are the same. However there are variations between tournaments. Most rebuy tournaments award players who finish in the top twenty in the prize money with additional cash. Sometimes these extra chips are kept by the winner; other times the bonus is given to the next best finishing player. In non-rebound tournaments, players keep their chips after the tournament is over.
Tournament speed is another aspect of online poker that differs from its live counterpart. Online tournaments move at a much faster pace. This means that decisions have to be made even quicker, which can be very stressful for inexperienced players. Live events happen at a much slower pace, so decisions need to be made in more careful fashion.
When looking for a great online tournament site to sign up with, look for a one table, multi-table tournament. These types of tournaments give new players the chance to practice their skills against a much larger field of players and learn how to deal with different personalities and playing styles. They also offer more experienced players a chance to brush up on their skills without worrying about losing money. Before deciding on a poker room to play in, make sure the site offers a good buys program, so that players who aren’t playing as much often can still make some money!