Understanding a Poker Tournament

A poker tournament is a contest among poker players where the one who accumulates all the chips wins. Unlike in regular poker games where players can quit anytime they want, tournament players must continue playing until a winner emerges. In elimination poker tournaments, all the players start the game with the same number of chips and continue playing until the winner has accumulated all the chips. As other players are eliminated, the participating tables become fewer in number until the final table of players of nine remains in the game. Generally the players in the remaining table receive prize money pro rated according to their tournament ranking.

In rebuy poker tournaments, players who lose all their chips but still want to continue playing may be allowed to rebuy additional chips within a certain period of time. Understandably, the prize pot in this kind of poker tournament is bigger and that the play is more aggressive since the players are aware that they may not be automatically eliminated when they lose all their chips because of the option to rebuy additional poker chips. Shootout poker tournaments, on the other hand, do not combine tables by reseating players who have not been eliminated. Instead, the play continues until a winner emerges in each table. The winning players then compete against each other in a finals event. Because of this, the playing time in this type of poker tournament is much faster than elimination tournaments.

If a player cannot afford the entry cost of a poker tournament, he may participate in a satellite mini tournament that is normally held prior to the main tournament. If for instance, the entry cost of a player in the main tournament is one thousand dollars, ten players may pool one hundred dollars each and play in a satellite mini tournament with the understanding that the winner will clinch the pool to be able to play in the main tournament.

The rising popularity of poker tournaments closely parallels the growth of online poker games, freerolls and internet poker schools. It is attributed to wide television coverage of tournaments and the publicity of life changing wins of heretofore unknown tournament winners. Moreover, many players are attracted to participating in poker tournaments because even if the initial entry cost is high, they can always participate in a satellite mini tournament where the prospect of winning will earn them entry into the main tournament. While winning a tournament may depend at times on luck, a tournament player must still rely heavily on skills and strategy to win his dream pot.

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