A poker tournament is a competition in which the winners are designated playing poker, according to one of the poker variants. Unlike cash games where there are no formal rules, no time limit to decide a winner.
Buy in and earnings
In a typical tournament, a player pays a fixed entry fee (called buy-in), and receives a certain value (called play money) represented by poker chips. Usually, the total value of chips given to players is an integer multiple of the buy-in. To buy-in can sometimes add an additional commercial rule to cover the expenses of the tournament organization. Only the poker chips given early in the game given can be used, real money is not accepted in tournaments. The poker chips and real money can not be interchanged during the game. In addition, some tournaments allow re-buy, also called buy-back, which entitle players to acquire cxhips during the game. Sometimes the re-buy is conditional (eg only available to players who have less than a certain amount in chips) but in other cases it is only available for players who have more chips. The re-buy tournament is often associated with the add-on, which gives players the opportunity, at the end of the period which allows the re-buy, to acquire additional chips regardless of how many chips he already has. The conditions for re-buy and add-on (eg number of given chips to buy, the length of the period during which the re-buy is allowed, or the number of possible re-buy) are defined before the tournament and can not be changed during the game. When the player has no more chips (and he cannot or does not want to use re-buy or add-on), it is eliminated from the tournament.
In most tournaments, the number of players on each table is retained even when a player is eliminated, changing the position of a player or by distributing all players from the same table to other tables where there are places. Some tournaments, called shoot-outs, do not proceed in this way and the last or the last two (sometimes more) remain on the table going to the next round, which resembles to the knockout tournament found in other sports.
The gains are usually a fraction of the fee, but outside money can be added. For example, there are tournaments with no entry fee that redistribute income gains thanks to their sponsor and/or the viewer inputs (called these tournaments freerolls). The game continues in most tournaments, until there is only one player to have chips, but some tournaments allow players to agree (under certain conditions defined before the start of the tournament) to end the game before all players are not eliminated and thus change the grid gains originally established. For example, in a tournament for € 5 with 10 players at the beginning, the gains can be respectively 29 € and 21 € for the first and second. Rather than risk to win only € 21, the first may try to reach an agreement with his opponent, based on the distribution of fees between the two players or based on gaming gains (here 50 €). In all cases, the sum of the gains won by the players is called the prize pool.
Players are ranked in reverse chronological order (the last person to stay in the game gets the top spot, the penultimate took second place, etc.). This ranking of players does not allow equal because the tournament ends when one player has all the chips. A tie is possible for all the other places but it is very rare because the classification is defined according to the number of chips that the player possessed before being eliminated.
There are two types of earnings distribution:
- Fixed: Each place corresponds to a certain amount. For example, in a tournament of ten people and a buy-in € 20, it sets the gain of the first as € 100, the second win € 60 and € 40 the third, the others win nothing.
- Proportional: Payouts are determined by a percentage. This percentage is determined by the number of participants and increases when the number of players increases. In general, 10% of places are paid, earnings increase when the player approaches the first place. Thus, the first 3 players usually earn same or more than all the others combined.
The tournaments are open to all or invitation only. The main event of the world championships of poker known by the acronym WSOP (World Series of Poker is a tournament of Texas Hold’em with registration open to all for 10,000 dollars.
Multi-table tournaments have dozens and even hundreds of tables, which play simultaneously. Satellite tournaments allow you to qualify for these tournaments without paying the sometimes very high registration fees. Their right of entry is low (around the tenth or even fiftieth of the amount of the registration of the main tournament) and may take place in other cities than hosting the main event or more often now, on the internet. The best players of the tournament, instead of winning money, earn a spot for the main event. The number of places is defined by the number of participants, for example, a place for ten inscriptions. Chris Moneymaker, winner of the WSOP main event in 2003, has earned its place in the tournament by participating in a satellite with a buy-in of 39 dollars. Greg Raymer, the winner of the 2004 edition, won also his place on the internet, at a tournament of $ 165.
The multi-table tournament is opposed to the single table tournament. A number of places (usually 6 or 10) is allocated to a table, and when the number of players set is reached, the chips are distributed and the tournament starts. These tournaments are commonly called sit-and-go (SNG), as soon as the number of “sit” players is reached, the tournament start. The sit-and-go of more than one table are democratizing, especially on the internet. A single table tournament functions as a final table of a multi-table tournament except that players start with the same number of chips and that blinds are lower. In these tournaments, the earnings distribution system is usually fixed.