How To Play

Learn how to play poker in minutes with our guide to the basics

How Do Poker Tournaments Work?

Poker tournaments online are very popular, and are a great way to learn to play or try your hand at the highest level. With a fixed buy-in, you can play poker knowing that's all it will cost - and a good result in a big tournament can turn a small investment into a big win.

In tournament pokerEach player pays a certain amount and receives the same number of chips at the start. The difference between tournaments and cash games is that these chips have no monetary value, and you can't enter or leave them. In tournaments, a grand prize winner is chosen as players are eliminated during the course of the game;
In cash games, blinds are fixed, whereas in tournaments they increase as the tournament progresses. This maintains the pace of play, while players' stacks increase as they absorb chips from eliminated players.

Prize money are awarded to players finishing in the top positions, depending on the tournament structure. The prize pool is generally distributed among the top 10-30% of players, with prize money increasing as the tournament progresses. Full details of the total prize pool and prize distribution for each tournament are available in the lobby.

Satellites are special tournaments whose prizes are fixed-value tickets to a target tournament (or satellite at a later stage). In satellites, the available prize pool is divided into tickets, and prizes that are not enough to secure a ticket are awarded to the player who completes a place outside the ticket slots.

Tournament Rules

Entrance Fees - Entry fees are indicated in the lobby next to the tournament buy-in. For example, in a $100 + $10 buy-in tournament, $100 will be added to the prize pool and $10 is the buy-in fee.

Late Registration - Once the tournament has started, there is usually a period (indicated in the tournament information) during which you can still register and participate in the game. After this period, no new players can register and the tournament is played until there is a winner.

Seating - At the start of the tournament, players are randomly ranked with their starting pack. When new players join during late registration, new tables are created and players can be moved around to balance the number of players on each table. When players drop out, the tournament is shortened and tables are "broken", meaning that some players change places as needed.

Absent Players - All players must participate in every hand. Blinds or antes are automatically paid to players who are seated (traveling or disconnected) and their cards are unfolded when the action reaches them.

Tournament Speeds and Structures - There are many different tournament structures and speeds. Tournaments can last longer, especially for those who play deep! We offer options for players who want to discover the fun and excitement of tournament poker without wasting a lot of time, and for those who prefer a slower clock (the speed at which blinds increase). You'll find the following tournament types in the lobby (from slowest to fastest):

  • Slow
  • Regular
  • Turbo
  • Hyper Turbo

 

Tournament Types - There are a number of different tournament formats and structures. In Bounty or Knockout (KO) tournaments and Progressive Bounty (PKO) tournaments, part of each player's buy-in is paid out in the form of a bounty. You win the bounty when you eliminate another player (KO tournaments) and in PKO tournaments, part of the eliminated player's bounty is added to yours and another part is won instantly;

Tournaments can be played in no limit hold’em, short deck or Omaha variants, with varying numbers of players at a table, from heads up (one-on-one, with the winning player advancing to the next round until the winner is known) to9 handed. 6-Max is a popular short-handed tournament format where tables are six-handed.  

Hand-for-hand Play - In tournaments with more than 100 players, hand-for-hand play is introduced as the money bubble approaches (the bubble is the last final position that does not receive part of the prize money). This means that all tables receive one hand each, then play is interrupted until all tables have completed their hands;

Simultaneous elimination - if two players are eliminated in the same hand, the player with the highest number of chips at the start of the hand will be considered the higher-ranked player.

Heads Up Blinds - When the tournament reaches the heads-up phase (two players remain), the player with the small blind is the first to bet on the first round.

Timebank and Disconnection Timer - When it's your turn, the predefined clock is activated - the time you have available to make your purchases. When this time is up, you can choose to activate a longer time bank. When the time bank activated by the player expires, your hand is discarded. The extended time bank can be added to the time at different stages of the tournament, depending on the tournament structure. There is also a disconnection time bank which is automatically triggered when the system recognizes that you have been disconnected. When it expires, your hand is discarded and you switch to automatic discard.

Synchronised Breaks – Most tournaments will have breaks at the same time, once an hour, at XX:55.

Multiple Flights - In multi-flight tournaments (up to the final day), you can participate in more than one flight. If you manage to get through several flights, you usually take your "best stack" with you, i.e. the best stack from the qualifying flights is the one you start the next round with.

Tournament Cancellation Policy - Our cancellation policy varies depending on the stage of the tournament. We reserve the right to postpone or cancel a tournament without notice.

If a tournament is cancelled before the first hand is dealt:

  • All buy-ins/tickets (including admin fees) are refunded
  • If a player has a ticket and there are no other eligible events to use it, it will be refunded to the player in the form of tournament dollars ($T) or tickets equivalent to the monetary value of future events, at our discretion.

 

If a tournament is cancelled before registration is closed:

  • Remaining players in the event are refunded according to ICM calculation*
  • ICM is calculated using only the buy-ins + admin fee (not the guaranteed prize pool)

 

If a tournament is cancelled after registration is closed:

  • Remaining players will be reimbursed according to the ICM calculation with the total prize pool (including guaranteed prize pools).

 

If a multi-flight tournament If players experience connectivity problems during the flight, we may reschedule the flight or event to a later date and time at our discretion. If problems arise during a particular flight (before the money), players will be refunded the full registration fee and the flight in question will be cancelled or rescheduled at our discretion.

* ICM calculations will be performed when the system registers the first significant number of players with disconnection problems. When additional players register after the first disconnections, they will be refunded the purchase and administration fees not paid using the ICM calculation.

All Tournament Rules are intended to complement our overall Terms of ServiceWe give priority to fairness in decision-making when applying the rules;