How Do Online Poker Tournaments Work?

Online poker tournaments offer one of the most interesting and convenient ways of playing this classic card game. If you want to join a tournament like this, then what are the basic rules and ideas that you need to be aware of?

What Are Online Poker Tournaments?

As the name suggests, these are tournaments where many different players compete to win prizes. With online poker now being one of the simplest ways to play the game at any time and using any device, this has allowed far more people to try tournaments than was the case in the past with exclusively land-based tournaments. `

However, there are several types of tournaments for you to learn about, each with its own rules and attracting a certain type of player. So, let’s take a look at the various options to see what they involve and discover which one you might be most interested in.

Sit and Go Tournaments

This is one of the most popular kinds of online poker tournaments, as it promises a fast and effortless way for players to join. Basically, the games begin once the table is filled with players, rather than having a predetermined starting time you have to meet, so it offers a great deal of flexibility.

Expect to find up to eight or ten players in many Sits and Go’s, although this number can vary. This sort of tournament is ideal for a newcomer who is still honing their skills and learning how to read opponents, or someone who doesn't have a lot of time to dedicate to competitive card games.

If you like to play poker games with big prizes, then a jackpot Sit and Go tournament could be an option to consider. This offers casual poker players the opportunity to try and win a big prize for a relatively small buy-in without spending too much time on it.   

Big, Multi-Table Tournaments

Bigger tournaments that take place over several tables are generally less flexible and more time-consuming, as you need to play at the stated start time and work your way through the field as the weaker players get knocked out.

If you get it right, you can end up reaching the final table where a large prize can be won. The bigger the tournament and prize pool, the more experienced players you can expect to see taking part, so it’s a lot more difficult to win the biggest events of this type.

Satellite Poker Tournaments

These are online events that are used as the qualification route for a bigger tournament, which may be online or at a certain land venue. If you want to test yourself at a major poker tourney like the World Series of Poker, this is often the best way of doing so.

For a start, the buy-in is a lot smaller than at the main event, so it gives you a chance to reach it without spending a lot of money just to take part. It also means that you can find out whether you’re ready for a huge event by gradually increasing the pressure and difficulty level as you progress.

Perhaps the main downside to joining Satellite poker tournaments is that you need to commit time to it. You’ll need to check if you’re free for the duration of the satellite as well as for the main event itself, which may be held in a casino or other glamorous setting.

Freeroll Poker Tournaments

In this case, you can join the tournament for free, which makes it a good option for inexperienced players looking to start playing competitively. While you can expect real cash prizes to be offered, these will generally be lower than in those events where every player has paid a buy-in to join.

So, you aren’t likely to win a fortune, but you could learn a lot and gain valuable experience in tournament play. Most people who play in this way will be relative newcomers or casual poker players, which boosts your chances of winning a prize.

Knockout Tournaments

Also sometimes known as Bounty Tournaments, this is an exciting way of playing that sees you rewarded with a bounty every time you knock out another player. Expect to pay a buy-in, which can be small in a lot of cases.

The amount of the buy-in typically acts as the bounty, so you win this amount less any fee for everyone you knock out in the first round. As you progress, the bounty for each player grows, as they now have the other bounties they’ve collected as well as their own.     

All of these are ways of playing poker that can prove to be ideal for you as you progress through the different stages of learning the game and becoming an expert. If you choose wisely there’s no need to feel intimidated, as you’ll be giving yourself every chance of winning or at least progressing and enjoying the experience.