Playing in poker tournaments online is a very entertaining pastime, but it’s also one that can – at least in some circumstances – reward winners with life-changing sums of prize money.
Some poker tournaments offer six- or even seven-figure prizes to their winners, so there’s plenty for the ambitious player to aim for in due course, but there are also plenty of more modest tournaments which are even suitable for beginners. Below is a crash-course in how to get started…
Types of Poker Tournaments
There are two main types of poker tournaments, and these are single table tournaments (STTs) and multi-table tournaments (MTTs). A single table tournament is limited to as many participants as there are seats at the table, whilst a multi-table tournament can be much larger.
The more players there are in a tournament, the more challenging it will be, so it could be a good idea to start playing STTs first and to then try your hand at MTTs, when you have some experience under your belt.
Registration and General Procedure
No matter what type of tournament you want to participate in, you’ll need to register to do so and that will mean paying an entry fee. The entry fee is the same for every player who gets involved, and the bulk will feed the tournament prize pool, with a much smaller sum going to the tournament organisers.
Having completed your registration, make sure that you’re logged into your chosen poker venue for the registered tournament and you’ll be seated a short time before it begins. All players begin the tournament with the same number of poker chips, and if you lose your chips, then you’ll effectively be out of the tournament, unless the tournament in question allows you to rebuy more chips and continue playing.
Check the tournament details and you’ll see how quickly blinds increase in size, and whether or not there are any breaks scheduled. Breaks are more common in larger tournaments, which can take several hours to complete, and you should take full advantage of them when they’re given, so that you don’t need to risk missing out on hands later in the game.
In MTTs, players are often moved from table to table throughout the tournament so that the total number of tables in use can be reduced as players are knocked out. Eventually, the number of players will have been reduced to the point where the remnant can play at a single table, which is referred to as the final table.
Goals and Prizes
Whilst the overall goal of all poker tournament players should be to win the tournament, beginners can – and should – set themselves more modest goals to aim for. The first goal should be to get ‘in the money’, which means to survive the tournament long enough to qualify for a prize of some sort. The number of prizes paid will greatly depend on the number of players taking part, so do familiarise yourself with the prize schedule in order to have something clear to aim for.
When you have experience of finishing in the money, your next goal should be to reach a final table, where the prizes will be even bigger. Next, aim to finish in the first three of a final table, and then aim to win a tournament outright.
Success in online poker tournaments is seldom achieved overnight (although even this scenario is possible for someone on an incredibly lucky streak!) so be patient with yourself, enjoy the game for what it is and expect your results to improve as your tournament skills develop.Offer valid as of date published. T&Cs apply.