Decoding Poker Tournament Formats

Poker tournaments are a series of tourneys or events which take place over a day or several consecutive days. Poker tournaments are events where poker players compete to win every poker chip in the game. To enter a tournament, players generally need to buy an entry ticket, paying a fixed buy-in and in return receives a pre-defined specific quantity of poker chips to play in the tournament. You not only find poker tournaments running in casinos or poker rooms but also on online poker sites. The variety of poker games appeal to the dynamic needs of the players and you can find a format fitting to your playing style.

Freeze-Out Poker Tournaments

This is the oldest and most popular format of online poker game or tournament wherein when a player loses all his chips, he is then out of the tournament. Renowned poker tournaments like World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour follow this game format. Even many online poker sites run this conventional format of tournament. Basically, you have to pay a fixed amount or buy-in to enter the tournament and in return you are provided with a stack of chips to play poker tournament; and if you lose all your chips then you are eliminated from the tournament. So, players, once eliminated, cannot buy in again at any point of time.

Re-Buy Poker Tournaments

Re-Buy Tournaments have made their spot in the poker world. These tournaments usually have a specified time period at the start of the tournament in which poker players can re-buy the chips if they are out of chips in order to continue playing in the tournament. The re-buy amount is the same as the buy-in amount. Once the player opts to re-buy, he gets another set of starting chips. However, if the time period for re-buy ends, players cannot opt for it and the tournament continues in freeze-out format after that. Thanks to its essence of re-buy that these tournaments rack up a higher prize pool than freeze-out tournaments. There are two sub-types of re-buy tournaments: Limited Re-Buy (when each player can re-buy only certain number of times) and Unlimited Re-Buy (when players can re-buy as many times as they want, until the re-buy period is over).

Re-Entry Poker Tournaments

Re-entry tournaments are the new trendsetter in the online poker industry. This tournament format allows players to re-register for the same tournament after they have been busted out thereby providing them another opportunity to take down the event. So, players can re-enter tournament as many times as they like especially if the tournament allows Late Registration (this is pre-defined before the start of the tournament). The maximum number of times a player can re-enter varies from tournament to tournament. Once you’ve reached your re-entry limit, you will not be able to re-enter despite the availability of late registration. Likewise, once late registration period is over, and your re-entry limits are still available, you cannot re-enter after being knocked out of the tournament.


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