An easy guide to what’s coming up in the world of online poker tournaments - and how to pick the one that’s right for you.
How to choose an online poker tournament
Tournaments in 2020
Every year, online poker tournaments get bigger and better, attracting players from around the world who are ready to try their luck and test their skill.
But with so many online poker tournaments on the calendar, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. From high stakes world-series level tournaments to smaller weekly competitions, the best online poker sites offer a range of events.
Texas Hold’em and Omaha tend to dominate the tournament listings, but there are also knockout bounty games, turbo speed events and rebuys. Many tournaments offer a small buy-in, with a guarantee and either freezeout (single entry only) or standard rebuy/add-on.
Understanding the basics
Every online poker tournament is different. There are different buy-ins, a range of styles of games, different prize guarantees and a host of poker companies behind the scenes.
So whether you’re a pro in the online betting arena or a novice online poker player, here are some considerations when entering online tournaments.
- The number of pros versus rookies: If you’re new to poker but would like to try some competitions, find tournaments with a large number of novice/inexperienced players. This will increase your chances of a win, and stop the expert players scaring you off.
- Biggest prizes: Some online poker tournaments offer big prizes for only a small buy-in. For others, high stakes hands and life-changing prizes go hand in hand. Bet only what you’re comfortable with, and choose the prize pool, and buy-in, that’s right for you.
- Rewards for playing: Some online poker sites will reward you for picking them for your tournament play. For example, by offering free plays. Keep this in mind when choosing where you play.
- The number of games: Many online poker tournaments offer a wide variety of games. There’s everything from No-Limit Hold’em to Progressive KO, Fixed Limit Omaha 8, Stud Hi-Lo and more.
If you’re interested in playing more than one style of poker, pick a tournament which allows for it.
- Multi-Tabling: Most online poker players are happy playing just a couple of games, but for others, playing multiple tournaments at once is more fun. Check if your tournament provider allows this.
Many of the best online poker sites offer fast-paced daily/nightly tournaments, with a huge variety of games and buy-ins to choose from.
Beginning at set times each day and night, these mini poker tournaments typically have prize pools in the region of $1,000 - $5,000, have set blind levels (often of 5-10 minutes) and sometimes come with a maximum number of tables.
Buy-ins go up in increments, allowing players to pick their favourite game.
Many daily tournaments fall under what is known as the ‘micro’ category. ‘Super micro’ buy ins often start at only a few cents, and micro buy-ins begin at around a dollar. Prize pools are often modest (though some are significant).
As the games run continually, they’re a great way for novice players to build their bankrolls.
One step up from the daily online poker tournaments are the weeklies, with attractive options across the best online poker sites. Again, buy-ins and prize money vary, from a couple of dollars to $500+.
Some of the high roller events carry substantial pots, many in excess of $500,000 and some of as much as $1 million.
Take a look around online poker betting sites, and you’ll come across themed tournaments. These are generally smaller and designed to fit in around other events – for example, a sports event.
This is where total prize money and buy-ins start to get big.
Most online poker companies hold major seasonal events. Total prize money can go into the tens of millions of dollars, with multiple events included over a week or two-week period.
Again, both high and low buy-in levels are on offer.
These seasonal events usually come with a high stakes main event and substantial, guaranteed prize pool.
Seasonal events are great for intermediate and expert players who have built their bankrolls over time.
At the peak of the online poker tournament calendar are annual world series-type events, normally taking place in September or October of each year.
These events gather together some of the world’s top players and offer millions in prize money. As with the seasonal events, games are staged over one or two weeks.
These are for the genuine big hitters.
Choose a poker event that suits your skillset
No matter how you play, or where you play, there’s an online poker tournament out there with your name on it. Choose your tournaments wisely, remember to play only what you can afford to lose, and have fun.