The most popular online poker tournaments


Poker tournaments are fast-paced and intense. Due to the popularity of this card game, there are loads of tournaments to enter. This also means there’s the nagging challenge of choosing which kind to participate in.

We’ve done the legwork to give you details on the most popular online poker tournaments across your favourite iGaming sites. At the end of this read, you’ll have a clear idea of the different poker competitions available and have the information to decide what kind matches up with your gambling preferences.

Poker tournaments defined

Before we give detailed snippets on the popular online poker tournaments, it’s crucial to understand how these competitions work. Poker tournaments are events that bring poker players together. Like most gaming competitions, online poker tournaments have prize pools to be shared among the top-performing players.

Before you enter a poker tournament, here are some essential concepts to note:

· Buy-ins

Buy-ins are the amount required to join online poker tournaments and are available on all competitions except freerolls. The buy-in will award you playing chips, and poker tournament buy-ins rank from micro to macro. Typically, beginners venture into micro stake tournaments to slug it out with other players. However, professional poker players opt for macro buy-in tournaments to win big. The higher your stake in a poker tournament, the bigger the reward you stand to win.

· Eliminations

Poker tournaments give you the luxury to exit at anytime but be aware that exiting might lead you to lose buy-ins and potential wins. Players can also be eliminated by the competition, which typically happens when you lose consecutively and eventually run out of chips. These tournaments are termed “knockouts”. Understanding the tips and tricks of poker gaming will help you avoid early disqualification and remain in the game for longer.

· Re-entry

Elimination doesn’t signify the end of poker gaming in a tournament. Upon disqualification, players can re-enter by buying in again. However, re-buys aren’t available for all competitions.

In re-entry tournaments, even if you were eliminated on day one, you can buy in again and continue into day two. You should know that buy-in periods for eliminated contestants differ. If you miss a time window, you’ll have to wait for the tournament to restart or find another competition entirely.

· Prize

The prize is what you receive after an event concludes. For example, the rewards for satellite tournaments are usually invitational tickets to the main events. Guaranteed tournaments, on the other hand, have a predetermined prize for winners, which is usually in cash.

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Some tournaments will award only the top 10 players. Others will reserve prizes for up to 100 participants.

The amounts available to win and the number of people awarded usually depends on the kind of tournaments and the specific event.

· Stack value

Stack values represent the number of chips you have during gameplay. Having a “deep stack” means you’re leading the game during a round. In deep stack tournaments, featured players always start with deep stacks.

Popular poker tournament types

There are different online poker tournaments available, and the gameplay in these competitions generally follows the structure of Texas Hold’em. As the most accessible poker form worldwide, it’s no surprise that most TV shows and YouTube videos use it as the standard.

Although most tournaments are based on Texas Hold’em, they all feature different rules, buy-in values and speed levels. Here are the notable online poker tournaments that you’ll find at the best online casinos:

  1. Guaranteed poker tournaments

Guaranteed poker tournaments are competitions that integrate a predetermined cash prize for winners. For example, if the indicated cash prize was $100,000, the operator will stick to it, regardless of player turnout. Most times, the cash prizes in these tournaments are astronomic, which attracts poker players of all levels.

Unlike other tournaments, guaranteed poker tournaments don’t have special rules. Online casinos and poker sites commonly use this competition to improve turnout on their respective platforms.

  1. Bounty/knockout tournaments

Bounty tournaments increase the excitement of poker gaming as each player has a bounty on their head. If you play your poker hands right and eliminate a player, you’ll receive their bounty alongside other rewards.

Although several bounty tournaments place a uniform bounty value on all players, you might encounter variations, where some players, such as industry professionals, have higher bounties than others. The bounty you receive is usually 20% of the tournament’s buy-in. However, Super Knockout Tournaments might feature almost 50% of your total buy-in.

In Progressive Knockout Tournaments, winning a bounty awards you 50% of its value. The remainder is added to your bounty, incentivizing other players to eliminate you as soon as possible.

  1. Satellite tournaments

Most poker tournaments have significant buy-ins. Since you most likely play poker as a hobby and not a profession, these prices might be unattainable for you. Fortunately, satellite tournaments provide a solution. These are basically a precursor to the main competition. They have low buy-ins, and rather than cash prizes, the poker room offers tickets to the main tournament.

  1. Freezeout tournaments
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Most poker tournaments are called freezeouts. In these tournaments, players start with a specific number of chips. When they exhaust these chips, they’re out of the competition. It’s that simple!

Here, you can’t buy chips to re-enter the competition. Once you exhaust your allocated chips, you’re done. Freezeout tournaments are thrilling and keep you at the edge of your seat, but they often have low prize pools.

  1. Add-on and rebuy tournaments

In re-buy and add-on poker tournaments, you can undo your previous mistakes. Here, you can buy into a tournament several times after being eliminated. However, there are specific rules. There’s a particular buy-in timeline allocated for add-ons and re-buys, and in most of these tournaments, re-buys last for the first 60 minutes.

  1. Freeroll poker tournaments

As their naming suggests, freeroll poker tournaments are free for all participants. Usually, the poker room will shoulder the expenses of gameplay. Freeroll tournaments are typically featured as a Welcome Bonus for ardent poker players at online casinos. You might need to insert a promo code while making your deposit to access this unique incentive.

Freeroll poker tournaments are legitimate and have cash prize pools. They’re different from free poker tournaments that issue virtual (fake) funds to winners.

  1. Shootout tournaments

Shootout tournaments are those where one player from every table advance to the main event or final. During poker gameplay, players are assigned to different tables. This format ensures a balance during elimination rounds. Players at a particular table slug it out until there’s a “last man standing”. This player then advances to the next round of games alongside those from other tables.

Shootout tournaments are great for determining your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. Skilled players use this data to their advantage as they progress.

Major takeaway

Online poker tournaments are intense, exciting and flexible. With numerous poker tournaments available, you can choose the variation that suits your preferences and bankroll. Fortunately, you can try them all if you wish, as they are readily available. Where the buy-ins are out of your pocket range, there are often satellite competitions where you can play for a free entrance ticket.

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About the Author: John Watson