There are three different betting formats:
- In a structured betting system (fixed limit), bets and raises are of a specific amount, which increases steadily during the tournament. For example, for a stud tournament with seven cards and bets of 10/20, the raise should be 10 for the first three rounds, then 20.
- Semi-structured betting provide a range of allowed bets. Usually a player cannot raise a smaller amount to pot or to the raise of the previous player. For example, if a player raises € 20, it is prohibited to re-raise of only 5 €. The pot limit is a semi-structured betting system where you can not bet more than the amount of the pot.
- Tournaments with unstructured bets, called more often in tournaments “no limit”. While the blinds and antes are fixed, players are free to bet the amount they want, the minimum being the amount of the big blind. “All-in” is when the player decides to bet all his chips (and therefore risk being eliminated from the tournament) on one hand. In no-limit tournaments, players will sometimes risk it even in early betting round. Thus, in some tournaments it is not uncommon to see all-in in preflop, the player betting all his chips before the three flop cards are revealed.
The structure of the betting is a major element in the tournament. Although there are similarities, a no-limit tournament and a fixed limit tournaments are very different games because the strategies and playing styles are not the same. For example, it is easier to bluff in no limit tournament, which allows very aggressive bets, than in fixed limit. No limit tournaments also heavily dependent of behavior of opponents and their strategy.
The blinds and antes are different for each tournament, they are determined depending on the desired duration of the tournament or the number of registered players.
The different variants
While some tournaments allow mixed variants like HORSE which combines Hold’em, Omaha, Razz, Seven-card stud and Eight-or-Better or tournament in dealer’s choice, where the dealer chooses the variant ( from a predetermined list with variants) played on his giving, most tournaments offer to play a single variant to the end of it. The tournaments Omaha and Texas Hold’em can be played in fixed limit, pot limit or no limit.
Unofficial tournaments can be organized by groups of friends or in poker clubs. In some countries (like France) the tournaments are free (freerolls) pursuant to applicable law. Casinos have recently authorization to set up Texas Hold’em poker tables just like gambling clubs that organize regular tournaments for several years. Online gambling sites also organize regular tournaments (daily, weekly or monthly) but are not allowed in all countries. Finally, it is in the United States and especially in Las Vegas, that stand most major tournaments.
The two major poker tournaments in the world are the World Poker Tour (WPT) and World Series of Poker (WSOP).
The 2005 WSOP was the first not to be held at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino, although the last days of the main event will be held at the legendary room Benny’s Bullpen of this casino. The editions of 2006 and 2007 were held at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino.
The WPT is a series of tournaments held in the United States and the Caribbean. Their entry fees are between $ 5,000 and $ 25,000.
The most important tournament and the most famous of Europe is the European Poker Tour (EPT), founded in 2004 by John Duthie, who is now the largest poker tournament in the world in number of players and prize pool. It consists also of several tournaments held in different European cities (the most famous being that of Monte Carlo).
The Crown Australian Poker Championship, better known as the Aussie Millions, has become one of the biggest tournaments in the world. The 2007 tournament (won by Gus Hansen) hosted 747 participants and the prize pool was 7.47 million Australian dollars (approximately € 4.7 million). The tournament was sponsored by Full Tilt Poker and was broadcast by FSN.