A poker tournament is probably the most engaging format of a game of poker. Let’s understand all about poker tournaments in India.
How do Poker Tournaments Work?
A poker tournament requires each poker player to pay an entry fee or ‘buy-in’ and then compete in a game of poker (Texas Hold’em or Pot Limit Omaha) to win a portion of the total accumulated prize pool. The prize pool comprises the players buy-ins and the pool is distributed as per the announced amounts for fixed finishes. A poker tournament officially ends once all the chips in play rest with one player, who is declared the winner.
How are poker tournaments different from cash games?
Poker cash games Represents actual money. A chip won or loss is from your poker bankroll. Poker tournaments: Represents a fixed value and is not reflective of the buy-in amount. The number of buy-ins will only affect your bankroll, and not the chips lost or won
How does a poker tournament entry fee or buy-in work?
To play poker tournament in India one has to pay the entry fee or buy-in. The buy-in will be a player’s contribution towards the prize pool and the rake (the house fee). The buy-in is structured to also disclose the rake fee. For example: If the prize pool contribution is Rs.50 and the rake is Rs.5, the buy-in for an online poker tournament will be revealed as Rs.50+5.
What are the different kinds of poker tournaments?
1. Freezeout Poker Tournaments – A freezeout indicates that a poker player can only buy-in one time. Once a player runs out of chips in a poker tournament, the game ends.
2. Rebuy Poker Tournaments – Rebuy tournaments allow players to buy-in again within a stipulated timeline. Players rebuy if their stacks fall below a certain level or bust. The rebuy amount is the same as the buy-in or entry fee, minus the rake.
3. Reentry Poker Tournaments – A reentry tournament is almost similar to a rebuy poker tournament with the only difference being a player can rebuy only after being eliminated. Players also do not keep their seat in these online poker tournaments. It is considered a separate initial buy-in and players are reseated at another table.
4. Free Entry Poker Tournaments - A free entry poker tournament, like the name suggests, is where the buy-in is zero or free and a popular pick among amateur poker players.
What are pay-outs in a poker tournament?
Every poker tournament in India has a different way of dividing the prize pool known as pay-outs. Generally top-heavy and rewarding the top places with better payouts. That’s the lion’s share you want to get your hands on as a poker player.
A typical Payout Structure
The truth is the majority of poker players do not win anything in a poker tournament unless they have finished ‘cashed’ in the finishing position. The number of players who cash in a poker tournament in India variesindicates based on the payout structure. Here’s a look at a typical payout structure commonly used in online poker tournaments:
How to read the payout chart of poker tournaments?
The columns indicate the number of players and the rows indicate the payout percentages based on the number of players. For instance, if a poker tournament has 20 entrants, then you’d use the 19-27 column that explains to you that five people will be paid out between 9%-40% of the prize pool.
When Is the Final Prize Pool Established?
The final Prize Pool is crucial for any poker tournament. The final prize pool determines the value of the payouts.
- In freezeout poker tournaments, the final prize pool is declared once the entry period ends.
- In Rebuys poker tournaments, the final prize pool is only known once the rebuy period ends. The Prize Pool is often higher than the beginning of the rebuy period.
- In Free Entry poker tournaments, the prize pool is set but the number of participants determines the payout structure.
How is the winner of a poker tournament declared?
The winner of a poker tournament is the only player who remains with all the chips.
What are guaranteed (GTD) poker tournaments?
A guarantee is nothing but an assurance of the minimum prize pool announced before the event. What this translates to in a poker tournament in India is that if there aren’t enough buy-ins to meet the guaranteed amount, there is something called an overlay. An overlay in online poker tournament terms refers to a situation when the event begins as if several players have already busted. Therefore a guarantee of a tournament is an important factor for professional poker players to consider while scheduling their poker tournaments.
How is a poker tournament set up?
A majority of online poker tournaments are played on a 9 or 10 seater table. A single deck of cards and a dealer is dedicated to each table. Players are seated in poker tournaments based on one of the following methods:
- A Random Draw - A random selection of the table and seat number is handed over to or assigned to a player once they buy-in.
- Drawing from the Deck - In single table poker tournaments, players are randomly placed on the table and each gets a card. The high card gets seat one and so on. Ties usually mean a redraw or applying the suit rank order; Spades>Hearts>Clubs>Diamonds.
As the game progresses in a poker tournament, the number of players on the remaining tables do become unevenly distributed. Some tables might still have 9 players, while some tables could have busted a few players and have only 5 players.
In online poker tournaments, a safe seating script ensures a fair redistribution. However, in a live poker tournament, it is the responsibility of the tournament director to ensure equal distribution of players. Therefore players often could get moved to maintain the equilibrium of a poker tournament. To not affect a player’s position during reseating, poker tournaments ensure that a player in a small blind position is reseated in the same position on a new table. If there are further ambiguities like when three players are moved from a table, there will be a redraw on the new table to redetermine the button position.
Understanding the structure of poker tournaments
Each poker site has its own way of structuring an online poker tournament. But here’s a checklist of things a poker tournament must announce and you should be aware of as a poker player.
- The number of starting chips that each player will begin with.
- The blind levels and its progressive structure.
- The duration of each blind level.
- Whether or not rebuys or re-entries are allowed and their specific durations.
- A starting time or it is a sit n go.
Poker Chip Distribution (Starting Stacks)
A poker cash game allows players to choose their buy-in. However, in poker tournaments, every player has a uniform number of chips, to begin with also called ‘starting stack’. The number of chips that poker players get at the beginning can vary from tournament to tournament. Lower buy-ins usually have an average starting stack in the 2000-3000 range. The effective value of the chip stacks is also determined keeping in mind the blinds and its levels.
What are blind levels in a poker tournament?
In poker tournaments,wherein the blind levels increase as the tournament progresses. The intervals at which they increase are pre-determined. This effectively decreases a player's stack value/size and encourages them to further increase their stacks. Otherwise, the inevitable ‘blind out’ occurs when a player does not have enough chips to even pay the blinds. Blind levels vary tournament to tournament, but here’s a common base to give you a better understanding:
Blind levels increase at set intervals ranging from 3 minutes to 2 hours. The biggest determining factor on how shallow starting stacks are is in how fast the blinds go up. Further, hands played per hour have an impact on a poker tournament’s speed. A live poker tournament is much slower than an online poker tournament and therefore the blind levels will be structured differently, keeping in mind the number of hands played.
When does a poker tournament begin?
- Scheduled – Scheduled poker tournaments have a set starting time.
- Sit N Go – Sit N Go (SNG) tournaments only begin once a minimum number of players have registered.
Poker tournament format variations
To keep the fun alive, poker tournaments have further sub-variations. Here are a few commonly found ones in online poker in India
- Bounty Tournaments - A portion of the prize pool in the poker tournament variant is set aside as ‘bounty’. A player who eliminates another player, winning all their chips, is immediately awarded the bounty amount. The bounty amount is declared separately at the end of the winnings and will be part of a player’s payout.
- Satellites - A satellite is a poker tournament where in the prize pool is an entry into a larger buy-in tournament. Most often it’s only the winner who receives this ticket, however, there are times when multiple seats are up for grabs.
Who can play a poker tournament?
Anyone. That’s the beauty of a game of poker. Unlike other sports, you can compete with the best in the world without having any qualifiers.
When do you ‘call clock’ in a poker tournament?
Anyone is allowed to ‘call clock’ on any other player at their table during a poker tournament in India. However, as known poker etiquette, it is done only when a player is taking inordinate time to act. It is also etiquette to not intentionally stall the game and most players are wary of it.
Once the clock is called the challenged player is allowed one minute to complete their action. If the challenged player further runs out their ‘on the clock’ minute, the hand is declared dead and will be folded.