Poker Tournament Types

When you play online poker for long enough, you’re going to want to engage other players for bigger stakes in a tournament. However, playing in a poker tournament is not like sitting down for a cash game with some friends; it requires different strategies and the gameplay is structured differently. This article will cover some of the basics of poker tournaments and how they work.
The most common playing format for poker tournaments is knockout or freezeout format. Tables shrink as players are eliminated and consolidated, with one final table being the end result before a showdown. There are also rebuy tournaments where players can buy into the event again within a set period of time. After the set rebuy period, the tournament will enter the knockout format and eliminated players are permanently removed from gameplay. There’s also the shootout tournament format, in which play is divided into rounds and each table is reduced to a single winner who then makes their way to the final table.
Betting formats are also different between tournaments. The structured (fixed limit) betting system restricts the amount that can be bet or raised during a hand. For example, for a holdem tournament with the stakes at 20/50, raises would be $20 in the first three rounds of betting, and $50 after. Semi-structured betting gives players set ranges for allowed raises. In this format, one player can’t raise for a lesser amount than a previous player has raised. For example, if one player raises by $10, it’d be against the rules for the player after them to raise by $5. Pot Limit and Spread Limit betting are both part of semi-structured betting. Finally, there’s unstructured tournaments, also known as no limit events. These are the highest-stakes tournaments and offer the biggest rewards to players.
While beginning players may want to stick to tournaments that use a single game type, there are also tournaments held that offer multiple games: HORSE and HOSE events. You’ll also frequently see multiple games and multiple tournaments at bigger events such as the WSOP or Aruba Poker Classic. Take a look around and see if there’s a poker tournament type that’s perfect for you! Some of the biggest players in the world stick only to tournament play and nevr go to cash tables because the rewards are that big.