Freezeout tournaments, in which a player is eliminated once he or she has lost all of their chips, are among the most common and well-known formats for poker tournaments. The structure of these tournaments is straightforward: after placing the buy-in, everyone begins with the identical number of chips, the blinds climb gradually, and players are knocked out of the tournament once their chips are exhausted. Only the top winners receive the prizes, which in most cases amounts to less than 10% of participants (and oftentimes less than 1%).
However, you can also locate tournaments that allow further re-buys or add-ons in addition to the initial purchase. If you go bust in one of these events, you can re-buy for the same price you originally paid and receive the same number of chips. For most tournaments, you’ll have a set amount of time after the event’s start to re-enter and re-buy. If you lose all of your chips after this time has gone, you will be automatically removed from the game. If you ever feel like you need more chips, though, you can always pay to get them.
There are also turbo tournaments, in which the blinds are raised as often as every five minutes. If you’re thinking about competing in a turbo event, you should know that luck plays the biggest role. All the action in these events takes place before the flop, with players frequently jumping all-in.
The prizes of satellite tournaments are not cash but rather “tickets” to a larger tournament such as the WSOP. The entry fee and prize pool are typically scaled in proportion to the number of participants. However, the percentage is low, necessitating a bold strategy in these competitions.
Step tournaments require you to compete in more than one event at once. There are a succession of satellite tournaments that allow player to gradually qualify for the following phase and into the final step the cash values, accumulated from all the buy-ins are offered to the best few. The winner will take the most of the prize money, while runners-up through fifth place will still walk away with respectable sums.
Shootouts are series of one-table tournaments played consecutively. They’re a lot like dance competitions. Players at a table either move on to the next one or are eliminated. Due to the large number of participants at the final table, the prize pool is larger than in step tournaments but still quite modest.
There are also competitions in which the victor takes all. These games often take place at a single table and call for an aggressive approach because finishing last guarantees you’ll lose everything. That’s best exemplified by the fact that this is how most home games are played, mostly to prevent conflict. People put a sum in first, and then, after one remains, he will take home all the buy-ins.