Best Online Texas Holdem Rooms
- Poker Site Ranking Bonus Score ReviewPlay
- 1. Pacific Poker £ 8 9.4 Review Play
- 2. Titan Poker $2000 9.3Review Play
- 3. Victor Chandler €10009.2 Review Play
- 4. PokerStars $600 9.2 Review Play
- 5. Bwin Poker $500 9.2 Review Play
- Poker Site Ranking Bonus Score ReviewPlay
- 6. Ladbrokes £259.2 Review Play
- 7. William Hill €12509.0 Review Play
- 8. Intertops $600 8.7 Review Play
- 9. PKR 3D Poker $800 8.6 Review Play
- 10. Cake Poker $500 8.5 Review Play
Getting started online
- Choosing a poker room
- Downloading software
- Buying credit
- Playing the game
- Collecting winnings
Online Texas Holdem
- How to start playing online
- Online poker tournaments
- Online tournament strategy
- Online bluffing
- Online tells
- Player notes
- playing multiple games
- Playing online professionally
Poker Room Reviews
- Poker stars
- Victor Chandler
- TITAN POKER
- 888 Pacific Poker
- PKR 3D POKER
- William hill poker
- Cake poker
- Party poker
- Bwin poker
- Betfair poker
TEXAS HOLDEM BASICS
- Texas holdem fundamentals
- Game instruction step-by-step
- Hand ranking
- Buy-ins and table stakes
- Betting, calling, checking, folding
- Texas holdem rules
- Where to play
- Responsible play
- Poker terms
INTRODUCTION TO TOURNAMENTS
After learning how to play Texas Holdem reasonably well, you should start playing in poker tournaments. They”re excellent opportunities to increase your bankroll at very little cost and since the only money you”ll spend is the buy-in, you don”t have to worry about going broke from gambling all your money away (as long as you stick to tournaments that don”t have re-buys or add-ons).
ONLINE AND LIVE POKER TOURNAMENTS
Don”t think that tournaments are only for experienced players - with the easy accessibility and availability of free online tournaments, poker sites have opened the door for players of all abilities to play in poker tournaments. When you sign up at PokerStars.com, they”ll give you $2,000 in free chips to play with, and with free tournaments as cheap as $55 to enter, even if you lose every tournament, you”ll have lots of opportunities to play, which is great for beginner players!
Don”t worry: if you do go broke, they”ll just automatically give you more chips to play with. But if you do win, your $55 buy-in will have earned you $195 in prize money (or $105 if you came in second in a 6-player game). The higher the buy-in, the more money you”ll win, so once you”re comfortable with lower-stakes games, it”s worth the risk to play at higher stakes to dramatically increase your bankroll (which is an excellent return on your investment (the buy-in)). For example, at PokerStars.com, a $330 buy-in for a ten-player game gives $1,550 to first place (50% of the $3,100 prize pool), $930 to second (30%) and $620 to third (20%). $310 of the buy-in goes in the prize pool to distribute between the players who finish in the money, and the rest ($20) goes to the casino for hosting the event.
Also, if there are more players at the table, that means more money has been contributed to the prize pool, so the prize money for each place is greater and they might have more places that finish in the money. For example, at PokerStars.com, a $320 buy-in for a 45-player game gives $4,725 to first place, $3,375 to second, $2,160 to third, $1,080 to fourth, $945 to fifth, $675 to sixth, and $540 to seventh. You can see how you can make a huge return on your investment when you play in games with more players. But before you sign up at a site to start playing in tournaments, be sure to check out our page for online poker sites that we recommend where you can play in online poker tournaments both safely and with the most modern and satisfying gaming experience possible.
Only once you”ve logged many hours playing in online poker tournaments, you should make the move to playing in live tournaments. You don”t have to be extremely experienced (as long as you”re entering cheap tournaments and are playing within your means), but having good knowledge of how tournaments run and to have played many hands at the final table will certainly help you. The more you play online, the less scary playing live will be for you - even at high-stakes, No-Limit Texas Holdem. World Series of Poker (WSOP) winner Scott Fischman plays a lot of online poker and when he first started playing in live, high-stakes games, he tricked his mind into thinking his $10,000 initial stack of chips was $1,000 (like in most online games), and he would divide all of his bets by ten in his head so he was more comfortable with the numbers since they reminded him of playing online.
Playing in a live tournament is also a lot of fun as it gives you the opportunity to socialize and everyone is there to compete and have a good time. If you watch poker on television, you”ll notice that the banter between the players is always jovial and never mean and overly intimidating. Even tournaments played with non-professionals have this same pleasant atmosphere, so you don”t have to worry about feeling intimidated or uncomfortable.
In both live and online tournaments, you first have to register, or sign up, for a tournament. In live games, you put your name on a list, show your ID, and pay your entrance fee. In online games, you find a tournament you want to play in, register, and then wait for the tournament to start. Your entrance fee is deducted automatically from your bankroll.
All tournaments have an entrance fee, or a “buy-in.” Part of the fee goes to the house to cover their costs to host the tournament, and the rest usually goes into the pot to be divided up between the top winners (or everything is given to the winner - every tournament has its own way of dividing the pot). PokerStars.com has real-money tournaments with buy-ins as low as a penny, which are great for people who want to play with real money, but don”t feel comfortable committing a lot of money to their bankroll.
Tournaments are played in a freeze-out/knockout style, which means when a player loses all of their chips, they”re out of the tournament and the last player who”s won all of the chips is the winner. There are tournaments that have a re-buy period, which allows players who have lost all of their chips to buy additional chips so they can continue playing. This occurs only at the beginning of the game, and once the re-buy period is over, the game progresses strictly as a knockout tournament, so when you lose your chips, you can”t buy more and you”re out of the tournament.
There are also satellite tournaments, where you can win a seat to a more-expensive tournament, and different betting styles, such as No-Limit tournaments. Make sure to read our page on different styles and formats so that you pick the right kind of tournament for your style of play.
LEVELS, BLINDS, AND ANTES
Tournaments are divided into levels, with each level having the same value for the blinds, and the blinds increase when a new level is reached in the game. There is a pre-determined schedule (called the “blind schedule”) for when new levels are reached (can be every fifteen or thirty minutes to as long as ninety minutes, depending on the size of the tournament and how quickly or slowly they want the game to be played), and for how much the blinds increase in value. By increasing the size of the blinds, it knocks out short-stacked players first and speeds up the game. After a certain number of levels, antes can also be collected from all of the players for each hand whom did not pay the blinds. By having increased blinds and introducing antes, it prevents players from coasting through the tournament with a low stack of chips and limping into the final table; those players will have been knocked out when they”re forced to play any hand given to them when they get low on chips and have to pay huge blinds and antes to stay in the game.
MOVING TO A DIFFERENT TABLE
As the game progresses, both online and in live tournaments, people will lose all of their chips and get knocked out. If you”re playing in a multi-table tournament, people at all of the tables don”t get knocked out at the same time and at the same rate - that means some tables will still have all of their players, while other tables might have knocked out all but two of their players (if they were allowed to even get that low). The odds change in poker depending on how many opponents you have - basically, you can play weaker hands with fewer players, which would give you an advantage over players who are still playing on tables will a lot of players. Also, there are less chips available for a players to win if there are less people at their table.
To avoid this, when the difference in the number of players on each table is two or more, some players are asked to pick up their chips and move to another table to keep the number of players on each table roughly the same. This also happens in online poker. The dealer writes in the chat box which players have been moved to the table and when they can play. Usually they move the person who”s about to post the big blind and seat them in a spot that”s close to paying the blind again (that way they don”t pay the blind twice, nor do they skip paying it altogether).
TAKING A BREAK
In both online and live tournaments, games that last longer than an hour introduce a quick break every hour, hour-and-a-half, or two hours. Breaks can be as short as two minutes in most online games, to ten or fifteen minutes in live games. Make sure you don”t drink too much if you”re going to have to wait for two hours for a break! Tournaments can last a long time, so take advantage of every break you get and give your mind a rest from having to concentrate so hard for so long. Also, get up and walk around to help to get rid of any stress-related tightness in your muscles that can occur when playing in a long poker tournament.
THE BUBBLE, THE FINAL TABLE AND HEADS-UP PLAY
As you get closer to the last few players, your goal is to at least finish in the money and to avoid the bubble. The “bubble” is the finishing place right before the first place that finishes in the money - that is to say, they”re the last player to finish without any money and if they had finished one spot higher, they would have finished in the money! So if the top six players are being paid money, the seventh player is on the bubble and doesn”t win anything.
For the lucky few who have persevered and have stayed in the game, they have made it to the final table. If the tournament had a lot of entrants, normally everyone who makes it to the final table is guaranteed to win at least some money, so when you first start playing in tournaments, be happy with yourself if you at least finish in the money. That alone is a great accomplishment and will add to your bankroll.
PRIZE POOL AND PAYOUT STRUCTURE
The prize pool, or payout structure, is made up of the money from the players from the buy-ins and any re-buys and add-ons there were any. It can be divided up any way the tournament organizers want; it can go to the top player only, or they can split it with some of the other top-finishing players. In most multi-table tournaments, they usually split the money with the players who made it to the final table. A typical payout structure for a ten-player game is 50% to the winner, 30% for second, and 20% for third place. In large, multi-table tournaments, 10% to 20% of the players should finish in the money, with the winner being given 40% of the prize pool. In charity tournaments, the money collected from the entrance fee is given to a charitable organization and the players win donated prizes instead.
If you”re playing in a freeze-out tournament (no re-buys or add-ons), your bankroll needs are pretty basic: all you need is the buy-in and no additional money since you can”t buy more chips. But if you”re playing in re-buy or add-on tournament, you need to manage your bankroll so that you don”t spend more on tournaments than what you can afford. Don”t buy more chips three times after your initial buy-in; take it as a sign that you need more practice as your skill level isn”t high enough to play that tournament if you keep getting knocked out, or you”re just having a bad day and should quit before you lose more money.
You”ll also need to consider your bankroll if you want to enter a lot of tournaments with expensive buy-ins, such as the $10,000 buy-in for the WSOP Main Event. While it”s true that you”ll only lose your buy-in in a tournament, if you play a lot of expensive tournaments, you can still cause serious damage to your bankroll. You need to sit down and look at your finances to see how much you can budget for playing in poker tournaments. You need to make sure that the amount you put aside, that if you lost it all, it wouldn”t negatively impact your life. When you play in a tournament with a lot of players, long losing streaks are common, so you need to be able to limit the amount of tournaments you play in to what you can realistically afford if you lost your entire bankroll. Remember, even the best players in the world don”t always make it to the final table simply because there are so many entrants in big tournaments.
- Introduction to Tournaments
- Tournament Formats
- Poker Tournament Rules - General
- Tournament Strategy - general
- Online Poker Tournaments
- Online Poker Tournament Rules - General
- Online Tournament Strategy
- Live Poker Tournaments
- Live Tournament Strategy
- Hosting a Home Tournament
- Hosting a Charity Tournament
- History of Women in Poker
- Professional Female Players
- Female Advantage and Strategy
- Ladies’ Tournaments
- Hosting a Ladies’ Poker Night
Hosting a Home Game
- Hosting a game
- Dealer's Choice
- How to deal a hand
- Drink and food
- Strip poker
- Poker Books
- Texas Hold'em movies & TV
- Famous players
- Poker Hall of Fame
- Hand Nicknames
- Poker Terms
- Poker Leagues
- Collusion in Poker
- Poker Vacations