Here, we’re talking about multi-table poker tournaments. These kinds of events that range from small freerolls to the Aussie Millions and the Main Event at the World Series of Poker. Tournament play is where legends are born, as tournaments allow for winners. Players who emerge from a tournament field in the first place, grabbing all of the glory (and a large chunk of the prize money).
In tournament play, all players pay a buy-in as well as an entry fee. This is usually expressed in a manner like $10 + $1 – with $10 being the buy-in. Which goes into the prize pool, and $1 being the entry fee, which is collected by the poker room. In exchange, all entrants receive several chips to use in the tournament. You won’t be making bets for real money; instead, you’ll make bets with those chips. Lose all the chips, and you are eliminated. Be one of the last players eliminated (usually the final 10% or so of players), and you’ll win a prize. Collect all the chips as the last player standing, and you’ll win first place. To ensure tournaments progress, the blinds (and later, antes) will progressively increase. Thus forcing players to make decisions for all of their chips unless they increase the size of their stacks.
Tournaments come in a variety of styles. In some tournaments, you’ll have the opportunity to buy chips more than once. This helps in building the prize pool and encouraging riskier play in the early stages. Other tournaments are known as satellites and offer players the chance to qualify for larger events that they might not normally be able to afford to play in.
Since tournaments offer the best way to win a huge prize in poker – winners of major events can win millions of dollars – they’re great for dreamers or those looking to make a name for themselves. If poker excites you for the big wins and the potential for stardom, tournaments are the way to go.
Sit and Go Tournaments
SNGs are a very special subcategory of tournaments that are particularly popular in online poker. Although you can now find SNGs in live casinos, they were first popularized online, where they made a great spontaneous alternative to regular tournaments.
While a regular tournament is scheduled ahead of time and starts on that schedule, and SNG can begin whenever enough players – usually nine or ten, though both smaller tables and multi-table SNGs are fairly common – have signed up to play. Once enough players have signed up, everyone takes their seats, gets a stack of chips, and starts playing! At a typical one-table SNG, the top three finishers will win prize money. Just like in a standard tournament, the blinds will rise as you play, eventually forcing you to make moves to increase your stack or move all-in for the rest of your chips.
Because SNGs are quicker, involve fewer players, and are the same every time you play, there’s more of a science to the game than in other forms of poker. Plenty of tools exist that can guide you through the many situations in an SNG where there are indisputably correct mathematical plays to make, thanks to the rigid system and the well-known payout schemes. If you want to study up and feel like you know one form of poker inside and out, sit and go tournaments might be right for you.
Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t mix and match all three types of games. You might well find that there’s something in all of these game types that speak to you. All of these games are available at Ignition Poker and other great poker sites, so there’s no need to specialise unless you want to.