Why People Attend Poker Tournaments

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Why People Attend Poker Tournaments

Poker appears to be one of the most exciting pastimes which can be offered by the world of gambling. Apart from playing poker at a cash table, one may try their luck in a fantastic event commonly known as a poker tournament. So, let’s figure out what’s what.

A poker tournament is a knockout contest where the number of participants can start from two players (heads-up tournaments) to tens of thousands of poker players, which require many days and possibly several satellite tournament events. In turn, a satellite tournament is a poker tournament in which the players receive a free pass or an invitation to a more prestigious poker tournament instead of a prize. The winner of the poker tournament is a participant who has accumulated all the chips in the game, while the remainder of the places are distributed according to the players’ elimination.

During the game, blind levels are gradually increasing which happens for several reasons:

  • the growth of the blinds stimulates players to take quick action;
  • the blinds are increasing in time so that the value of poker chips is not lost as other participants leave;
  • to speed up the poker tournament (for example, in fast tournaments, the blinds are increasing at 5-minute intervals; this scheme is usually used in online satellites.) Remember, the more prestigious the poker tournament is, the slower the blinds increase.

In contrast to a poker cash game, the tournament chips cannot be cashed out and serve only to determine the player’s place.

Buy-in and Prizes in Poker Tournaments

To enter a standard poker tournament, a player pays a fixed amount (a buy-in which is the entry fee to the event) and receives a certain number of chips, called starting stack, in return. As a rule, each participant receives a round number of chips which depends on the tournament format. Be it T100, T1000, T1500, T2000, T5000 or T10,000 tournaments, you will receive the corresponding number of 100, 1000, 1500, 2000, 5000, or 10,000 pieces. Some poker tournaments offer the possibility to rebuy chips. In some cases, the rebuy option is selective (for example, only players without chips or with a small number of chips can buy them.) What’s more, another type of tournament allows all poker players to buy chips which are called an add-on. When a player no longer has chips in hand and has exhausted all rebuys (if rebuys are allowed in the tournament), they are dropped out of the game.

As a rule, prizes for winning depend on the buy-in amount, except for show games or poker tournaments with a sponsorship prize fund (these tournaments are called freerolls). Players are ranked in reverse chronological order – the last participant in the game gets the 1st place, the second after the last takes the 2nd place, and so on. This rating is unique and excludes the possibility of a tie (in some tournaments open agreements between players are allowed; they can share a common pot among themselves) since only one participant gets all the tournament chips. A tie is possible between all other places, but it happens very rarely. In poker there is a solution for a tiebreaker – if two or more players dropped out at the same time, the higher place is occupied by that participant who had more chips at the time of the hand start.

Varieties of Poker Tournaments

There are two options for distributing prize money in poker tournaments:

  1. Fixed poker tournament – each player receives a certain amount of the prize pool for an achieved place. For example, ten players participate in the competition with a total buy-in of $200. $100 will be paid to the participant for the first place; the second place will take $60, the third takes $40, and the rest will receive nothing.
  2. Proportional poker tournament – the amount is distributed proportionally: the more participants play, the more prize places can be taken. As a rule, at the big poker tournaments, the first 36 places finish the game with prizes, while the lion’s share of the prize fund is distributed at the final table.

Also, poker tournaments are divided as follows:

  1. Open poker tournament – anyone can participate in this poker tournament.
  2. Invitational poker tournament – there is a limiting factor, whether it is your rank, sponsors’ preferences, or the seats drawing.

According to the number of players, poker tournaments can be:

  1. multi-table poker tournament (MTT) – in this poker tournament many players take part, occupying dozens or even hundreds of tables.
  2. single-table poker tournament (SNT) – is the opposite of a multi-table tournament. The number of players is usually 8, 9, or 10 and as soon as the last person has sat down at the table, the chips are distributed, and the game begins. Due to a specific start, such a poker tournament is called a sit-and-go tournament (SNG.) These tournaments are now very popular at online poker sites.

The Most Famous Poker Tournaments

World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the most prestigious poker tournament which is held annually in Las Vegas. The first WSOP in 1970 was invitational: Benny Binion collected seven of the most famous poker players in his Horseshoe Casino. After twelve years, the number of participants increased to 52. In the 1980s, the access was opened for all poker fans to attract more poker players. In 1987, the tournament counted 2,100 players, while the maximum number of participants was reached in 2006 – 8773 people.

The first World Series of Poker tournament was not a freeze-out, but rather an event with a start and stop time, where the winner was determined by the vote of an authoritative poker jury. In 1973, five-card stud poker was added as the second poker discipline. Since 2007, there are more than 55 such disciplines. Since 1976, the World Series of Poker has a tradition of winning bracelets which are the prizes for the tournament winners. In most cases, the WSOP tournament is held in June or in July.

Since 2007, the parallel series of the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) has been launched. Traditionally, a tournament is held in one of London’s casinos. The first winner was Annette Obrestad taking the main prize of £1,000,000. In 2008, John Juanda became the winner followed by Russian poker player Stanislav Alekhin.

The World Poker Tour (WPT) is a series of international poker tournaments that brings together the majority of the world’s poker professionals. The series has existed since 2002, and the first tournament was held in the United States. The series’ founder is TV producer Steven Lipscomb. He currently holds the position of CEO of WPT Enterprises (WPTE) – this company is engaged in all organizational matters of the poker tournament, produces many products under the WPT brand (WPT souvenirs, WPT cards, WPT shirts, WPT, caps and much more).
WPT tournaments provide a fascinating opportunity to win a great deal of money showing the outstanding poker skills and proving yourself among other players.

There are also many tournaments linked to particular casino resorts. Beau Rivage situated in Biloxi, Mississippi offers Regional Poker Series under its brand. The tournament features No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha tables. Apart from that, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino hosts Million Dollar Heater Poker Series, which is usually run at the beginning of January. This series includes numerous types of No-Limit Hold’em, with the most intriguing one having the $2,700 buy-in and lasting three days.

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