Poker Strategy

Play BIG Poker Tournaments

Online poker tournaments have become a popular pastime for millions of players worldwide. With the convenience of playing from home, the availability of different buy-ins and structures, and the opportunity to compete against players from all over the world, it’s no wonder why online poker tournaments have become so popular. However, if you’re new to online poker tournaments, there are a few things you need to know before jumping into the action.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started, from the difference between a tournament and a cash table to the main points of game strategy to get in the money.

The Difference between a Tournament and a Cash Table:

One of the first things you need to understand when playing online poker is the difference between a tournament and a cash table. A cash table is simply a table where players buy in for a certain amount of money and play for as long as they want. The chips at the table represent real money, and players can come and go as they please, with the option to buy more chips at any time.

A tournament, on the other hand, is a structured event that has a specific start and end time. Players pay a buy-in to enter the tournament, and they receive a certain amount of chips to start. The goal of a tournament is to accumulate chips and stay in the game for as long as possible, with the ultimate goal of finishing in the money.

How Long Do Poker Tournaments Last?

The length of a poker tournament can vary greatly depending on the structure of the tournament. Some tournaments can be completed in just a few hours, while others can last several days.

The most common type of tournament is the “freezeout” tournament, which is a single-elimination event that lasts anywhere from a few hours to a full day. Other tournaments, such as multi-day events or re-entry tournaments, can last several days or even weeks.

Type of TournamentNumber of PlayersTypical Duration
Sit-and-Go2-1030 minutes to 2 hours
Multi-Table Tournament (MTT)50-1,000+4-12 hours
Online Championship Series500-10,000+2-3 weeks

* The data displayed in the table above is just a reference of the industry, it may vary depending on the tournament rules and format.

How to Choose the Best Tournament to Make Money:

When it comes to choosing the best tournament to make money, there are a few things you need to consider. First and foremost, you need to choose a tournament with a buy-in that fits your budget. You also need to consider the structure of the tournament, including the starting stack size, the blind levels, and the length of the tournament. The payout structure is also important, as tournaments that pay out a larger percentage of the prize pool to the top finishers are generally more lucrative.

How the Tournament Payout Standard Structure Works:

The tournament payout structure determines how the prize pool is distributed among the top finishers. The most common payout structure is the “top-heavy” structure, which pays out a larger percentage of the prize pool to the top finishers. For example, a tournament with a $100 buy-in and a $10,000 prize pool might have the following payout structure:

PositionPercentageEstimated Prize
1st place:50%$5,000
2nd place:30%$3,000
3rd place:10%$1,000
4th place:5%$500
5th place:2%$200
6th place:1%$100
7th place:1%$100
8th place:0.50%$50
9th place:0.50%$50

* The data displayed in the table above is just a reference of the industry, it may vary depending on the tournament rules and format.

Game Strategy to Get in the Money:

To get in the money in an online poker tournament, it’s important to have a solid game strategy. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Play tight early on – In the early stages of a tournament, it’s best to play tight and conservative. This means only playing premium hands and avoiding marginal hands. By doing this, you can avoid getting into tricky spots and preserve your stack for when you have a strong hand.
  2. Be aggressive when you have a strong hand – When you have a strong hand, it’s important to be aggressive and bet or raise. This helps you build the pot and get value for your hand.
  3. Steal blinds and antes – As the tournament progresses, the blinds and antes will increase, and stealing them becomes more important. Look for opportunities to steal these chips by making small raises or re-raises.
  4. Pay attention to position – Position is crucial in poker, and this is especially true in tournaments. Pay attention to your position at the table and adjust your strategy accordingly. In early position, play tight and conservative, while in late position, you can play more hands and be more aggressive.
  5. Adjust to your opponents – In a tournament, you’ll be playing against a variety of opponents with different styles and skill levels. Pay attention to how they play and adjust your strategy accordingly. Against tight players, be more aggressive, while against loose players, play tighter.


Online poker tournaments can be a fun and exciting way to play poker and potentially win some money. By understanding the difference between a tournament and a cash table, knowing how long tournaments can last, choosing the right tournaments to play, understanding the payout structure, and having a solid game strategy, you can improve your chances of success. Remember to always play within your bankroll and to never chase losses. With practice and dedication, you can become a successful online poker tournament player.

Play Online Poker Tournaments - FAQ's

Yes, you can play online poker tournaments on various online poker websites. These websites offer a wide range of tournaments with different buy-ins, formats, and prize pools. To play, you usually need to create an account and deposit funds using a variety of payment methods. However, online poker tournaments are not legal in all jurisdictions, so it is important to check the regulations in your area before playing.
Yes, it is possible to make money playing online poker tournaments. However, it requires skill, dedication, and a solid game strategy. Success in online poker tournaments also depends on factors such as bankroll management, the tournaments you choose to play, and your ability to adapt to different opponents and playing styles. With practice and a bit of luck, it is possible to make a profit playing online poker tournaments.

To get in a poker tournament, you typically need to follow these steps:

  1. Choose an online poker site: First, you need to choose an online poker site that offers the type of tournament you want to play. Look for reputable sites that have a variety of tournaments with different buy-ins, formats, and prize pools.
  2. Create an account: Once you have chosen a poker site, you need to create an account. This typically involves providing some personal information and creating a username and password.
  3. Deposit funds: Before you can enter a tournament, you need to deposit funds into your account. Most online poker sites offer a variety of payment options, such as credit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfers.
  4. Register for a tournament: After you have deposited funds, you can browse the tournament lobby and find a tournament that fits your budget and schedule. Once you have selected a tournament, you can register by clicking the “register” button and following the instructions.
  5. Play in the tournament: When the tournament starts, you will be assigned to a table and given a stack of chips. The goal is to win as many chips as possible by playing strategically and making good decisions. As the tournament progresses, players will be eliminated, and the remaining players will move closer to the prize pool.

Overall, getting in a poker tournament requires choosing a reputable online poker site, creating an account, depositing funds, registering for a tournament, and playing strategically to win.

The most common type of poker tournament is the No-Limit Texas Hold’em tournament. This is a type of poker game where each player is dealt two cards face down, and then five community cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. The goal is to make the best five-card poker hand using your two cards and any combination of the five community cards.

In a No-Limit Texas Hold’em tournament, players are given a set number of chips, and the blinds (forced bets) increase over time. As players are eliminated, the remaining players move closer to the prize pool. This format is popular because it allows for a mix of skill and luck, and there is potential for big payouts if you make it to the final table.

Whether or not poker tournaments are worth it depends on your goals and preferences as a player. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Potential payouts: Poker tournaments can offer much larger payouts than cash games, especially if you make it to the final table. This can make them worth it if your goal is to win big.
  2. Skill level: Tournaments can be more challenging than cash games, as they require a mix of skill and luck to win. If you enjoy the challenge of competing against other skilled players, tournaments may be worth it for you.
  3. Time commitment: Tournaments can take many hours to complete, especially if you make it to the later stages. If you have limited time to play or prefer shorter sessions, cash games may be a better choice.
  4. Buy-in cost: Tournaments usually have a set buy-in cost, which can be expensive depending on the tournament. If you are on a budget or prefer to play lower stakes, cash games may be a better option.

Overall, poker tournaments can be worth it if you enjoy the competitive aspect of poker and have the time and budget to commit to them. It’s important to weigh the potential payouts against the buy-in cost and time commitment to determine if a particular tournament is worth it for you.

The entry fee for a poker tournament can vary greatly depending on the tournament’s format, prize pool, and the level of competition. Some tournaments have a low entry fee of just a few dollars, while others can cost thousands of dollars to enter. The World Series of Poker Main Event, for example, has a $10,000 entry fee.

It’s important to carefully consider the entry fee before entering a tournament and make sure it fits within your budget. Keep in mind that even with a small entry fee, the total cost of playing in a tournament can add up quickly with the cost of re-buys, add-ons, and travel expenses if you’re playing in a live event. Make sure to do your research and choose tournaments that offer the best value for your budget and skill level.

The number of buy-ins required for poker tournaments varies based on a number of factors, including the level of skill of the players, the size of the tournament field, the tournament structure, and the player’s own bankroll.

As a general rule of thumb, many professional players suggest having a bankroll of at least 100 to 200 buy-ins for the tournament’s buy-in level. So if you are playing in a $100 buy-in tournament, you should ideally have a bankroll of $10,000 to $20,000.

However, this rule is not set in stone, and players can choose to play with a smaller bankroll or take a more aggressive approach with a larger bankroll. It ultimately depends on your level of comfort and the level of risk you are willing to take on.

It’s important to keep in mind that even with proper bankroll management, poker tournaments can still be a high-variance game, meaning that luck can play a significant role in short-term results. As such, it’s important to approach tournament play with a long-term mindset and to always have a backup plan in case of losses.

The profitability of a poker tournament depends on various factors, including the buy-in amount, the number of entrants, and the structure of the tournament. Generally, tournaments with a higher buy-in tend to have larger prize pools, which means there is more money to be won.

Some of the most profitable poker tournaments are the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, which has a buy-in of $10,000 and a first-place prize that can exceed $8 million, and the European Poker Tour (EPT) Monte Carlo Main Event, which has a buy-in of €5,300 and a first-place prize of over €1 million.

Other high-profile tournaments, such as the World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship and the Super High Roller Bowl, also offer significant prize pools and can be highly profitable for skilled players.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the most profitable tournament for one player may not be the same for another. Different players have different skill sets and bankrolls, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s important to research and analyze the tournament structure, prize pool, and level of competition to determine which tournaments are most profitable for your individual circumstances.

The cash rate, or cashing percentage, in poker tournaments refers to the percentage of times a player finishes in the money in a given number of tournaments. A good cash rate can vary depending on the size and difficulty of the tournaments you are playing in, as well as your own skill level and bankroll.

Generally speaking, a cash rate of 15-20% is considered good for most online poker tournaments. This means that if you play 100 tournaments with a buy-in of $10, you should cash in at least 15-20 of them. However, it’s important to remember that cashing in a tournament does not necessarily mean making a profit, as the payouts are often heavily skewed towards the top few finishers.

To improve your cash rate, it’s important to work on your game and develop a solid tournament strategy. This can include studying hand histories, reviewing your own play, and seeking out feedback and advice from other players. Additionally, managing your bankroll effectively and being selective about the tournaments you enter can help improve your chances of cashing in more often.

In a poker tournament, you cannot cash out or withdraw your chips for their monetary value while the tournament is still in progress. Instead, your chips represent your potential winnings and the only way to realize those winnings is by finishing in a payout position.

Once the tournament has ended, and the payouts have been determined, players who finished in the money will receive their winnings according to the tournament’s payout structure. The tournament organizer or online poker site will typically transfer the winnings directly to the player’s account, where they can be withdrawn or used to enter additional tournaments.

It’s important to note that in some cases, players may be able to negotiate a deal to split the remaining prize pool among the remaining players. However, any such deal must be agreed upon by all remaining players and approved by the tournament director or online poker site.

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