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Online Poker Tournaments
Rules and types of poker tournaments online:

Online Tournaments

There are poker tournaments held many times a day at all the best online poker rooms. Playing in Online Poker Tournaments is a great way to earn a seat to the WSOP (World Poker Series) and the WPT (World Poker Tour), win large cash prizes, trips, even cruises.

Online Poker Tournaments make online poker the most exciting form of online gambling! The Internet makes it possible for players all over the world to get together in one virtual online poker room and play in online poker tournaments for real money!

There are different types of online poker tournaments: Single-table, Two-table, Multi-table, WPT Satellites and Freeroll tournaments.

The simplest kind of poker tournament takes place at just one table. Usually 8-10 players enter the event, though some sites have special 2-seat tables for heads-up play. As players "bust out" (lose their last chip), nobody takes their place and the table gets shorter and shorter handed. Eventually, one player wins all the chips and the tournament is over.

At that point, the prize pool is divided among the players according to some payout schedule. Typically, the first place player gets about half the money while second and third get smaller shares, perhaps 30% and 20%.

The "multi-table" tournament format allows a much larger number of people to play in the same event. Online events often have thousands of entrants. Each player is assigned to start play at a certain table.

As players throughout the tournament bust out, the poker server moves players into the vacated seats and reduces the number of tables. Eventually, play comes down to two opponents, just like in a single-table event, and ends when one player wins all the chips. At that point, the prize pool is divided among the top-finishing players.

Again, first place pays the most, but multi-table events generally pay a larger number of players than a single-table event. Typically, the top 5% to 10% of finishers receive some portion of the prize pool.

Sit-and-go v Scheduled Online Poker Tournaments

The "sit-and-go" tournament is the more informal type of event. Usually these events have just one or two tables. The poker lobby shows a list of sit-and-go events that are open for sign-ups. As soon as enough players sign up for a sit-and-go event, it starts. These events are a great way to get a lot of "final table" tournament experience: in a single-table sit-and-go, you start out at the final table.

A "scheduled" tournament has a specific start time announced in advance. The poker lobby shows events of this kind coming up in the next few days or weeks. Players sign up in advance and then arrive to play at the scheduled time. Most of the larger events are of the scheduled type.

Play-money v Freeroll v Real money Poker Tournaments Online

The "buy-in" is what each player pays to enter the poker tournament online. If the buy-in is play money, that means you use a certain number of play money credits to sign up. If you win the tournament, you'll win play money credits in return.

A "Freeroll" tournament is one that does not require a real money buy-in but pays out a prize pool of real money. These are a fun way for a beginner to start because there's no risk of losing any money but a chance to win some in return. There are a few types of freerolls.

The best kind is absolutely free: you just sign up. Not all sites offer these. The more common kind is a "frequent player point" (FPP) freeroll. You use points earned in the poker site's loyalty program to buy in. These are very popular. At some sites you can even earn FPPs by playing in the play money games, so this can be another good way to get started without going to the trouble of depositing real money.

A real money buyin means you use real money that you have deposited in your account to buy in.

Satellite v Regular Events Poker Tournaments Online

A "Satellite" is a special kind of tournament in which the prize is an entry into another tournament. For example, a single-table satellite might have a $100 buy-in and award one seat to a tournament with a $1000 buy-in. Satellites are a popular way for players to get into a high-stakes tournament when they prefer not to buy in directly for such a large amount.

A famous satellite example is Chris Moneymaker's $40 buy-in to a World Series of Poker satellite: he eventually won the big event (which costs $10,000 to buy in directly) and took home the $2.5 million first prize.

Some satellites have more than one table and award more than one seat into the bigger event. A satellite can have its own mini-satellites.

Or a satellite can be a FPP freeroll, where you use FPPs to buy in and the prize is an entry in a real-money online tournament. The real-money tournament might even be offline, say, in Las Vegas. All sorts of combinations are possible, such as a multi-level FPP freeroll into the World Series of Poker.

Most online tournaments are not satellites. They are just plain tournaments, in which the buyins go into a prize pool and the prize pool is awarded to the top finishers in the tournament.

Freezeout v Rebuy Events Poker Tournaments Online

Most online poker tournaments are "Freezeouts". In this format, you buy in at the beginning and when you lose all your chips, you are out. But some tournaments have a "Rebuy" option. When you run out of chips, or even if you just run low, you can choose to buy more chips.

The rebuy amount is typically the same as the buy in amount, though it can be less, and you usually get chips at the same or better exchange rate as at the initial buy-in (for example, 1000 chips for $20). The rebuy period is normally limited to the first few rounds of the tournament.

At the end of the rebuy period, there is often an "add-on" option. This is one last chance to buy more chips before the tournament becomes a standard freezeout. Usually all players are eligible to take the add-on, but sometimes the add-on is restricted to just those players whose chip count is less than a certain amount.

The strategy of deciding when and whether to make rebuys and add-ons is an advanced topic in tournament equity. But good beginner advice is "when in doubt, make the rebuy." You usually won't go far wrong. When you enter a rebuy tournament, you should take this advice into account and plan for the likelihood of investing more than the initial buy-in.

The following rules apply to online poker tournaments for most online poker sites unless otherwise stated.

1. A "Tournament" is a contest in which all players start with an equal amount of chips and continue to play until one player remains and accumulates all the chips, players are required to buy with cash although some online poker sites have real money tournaments for loyalty points accumulated for real money play. (Blinds/antes are raised consistently throughout the tournament.)

2. All Poker Tournaments are freeze-outs (no re-buys), you buy your chips at the start of the tournament and cannot purchase anymore.

3. One-table Poker Tournaments will begin within seconds after all Players are seated.

4. Multiple-table Poker Tournaments will have set starting times and players must Register at least one-hour in advance to play.

5. The Player who draws the high-card will start with the button in Texas Hold'em Poker and Omaha Poker games prior to the start of the Tournament. In case two Players get the same high-card, the suit preference of spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs will determine who starts with the button.

6. The Poker Tournament will continue until one Player wins all the chips and is declared the winner and receives the prize.

7. When a Player loses all his/her chips, they are eliminated from play.

8. In "Limit Poker Tournament" (Limit tournament are those which have a prescribed amount of betting at each level), one bet and three raises are permitted. When only two Players remain, there is no limit on raises.

9. Players are obligated to take their "Blinds". (A "blind" is a fixed amount of money, determined by the size of the game, that is put into the pot in Texas Hold'em and Omaha poker games prior to the dealing of the hand. The purpose of the blinds are to initiate action.)

10. It will be possible for a hand to have only one blind - the "Big Blind", with no "Small Blind". The Small Blind is the lesser of the two blinds. The Small Blind is placed into the pot by the player immediately to the left of the dealer button.

11. At a Poker Tournament players may inherit the button for more than one hand (the "Dead Button"). This is necessary to ensure all Players take their Blinds.

12. When two Players remain, the Player due to assume the Big Blind will do so, and the Small Blind will inherit the button. The Small Blind or button will act first prior to the flop and second after the flop.

13. There are no breaks during a Single-table Poker Tournament. In a Multiple-table Poker tournament, a 10 minute break is taken every hour.

14. The poker Tournament continues until there is a winner. If a Player needs to be away from the table, he or she should click on the "Autopost and Fold" button located on the left side of the screen as a courtesy to the other Players.

15. The prize payoffs will be exactly according to a predetermined Payout Schedule.

16. Players who do not act on their hand in time ("Time Out") will be Folded.

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