If you’ve been putting your poker skills to work, you’re probably getting tired of playing with the same group of people every week. You want to go where the real action is, to a place where you can spend more time working your poker strategy than explaining poker rules to new players. In short, it’s time for you to start looking for the Best Texas Hold’em Poker Tournaments for you.
Figuring out which Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament in which you should play isn’t always easy. You need to know a lot about how any given type of poker tournament works as well as what type of poker rules you’re going to need to know in order to develop a strategy and win. You’re also going to have to do something that’s hard for any poker player – you’re going to have to be honest about the type of poker player you really are.
What Type of Poker Player Are You?
For the most part, the average poker player falls into one of three basic groups. These are:
The hobbyist is someone who just plays poker because it’s a fun game. They know all the poker rules, they may have a good grasp on poker strategy, and they might even watch Texas Hold’em poker tournaments on television, but they are still strictly playing for fun. If you’re in this category, you’re not looking to win big money and you’re certainly not looking to lose much, either. You probably want to play in a poker tournament that’s going to be cheap to enter and that will give you a chance to test your skills and have some fun.
The Money Player
These are the players that regularly clean up at local cash games (the grinders) or who make a killing online. These aren’t actually players who will spend much time at any given poker tournament, though, as they only see tournaments as a bit of a break in an otherwise lucrative routine. The Money Player is usually someone who will go after a big cash prize or an easy payday, but isn’t into tournaments just for the sake of playing.
The Poker Tournament Player
The Tournament Player is always playing in a poker tournament somewhere, even if that’s on his or her phone. These aren’t strictly professional players, even if they think of themselves that way, but they’re spending a fair bit of money making sure that they have their entry fees lined up. This type of player is always looking for a new tournament to enter and considers this type of play to be the primary reason why he or she enjoys poker.
Once you know what type of player you are, you will have a better chance of picking a good poker tournament. Moving forward, you’re going to want to pay attention to some basic information in order to make the best choice for your bankroll and for your personal enjoyment.
Picking the Right Poker Tournament
There’s a lot of work that can go into finding the right poker tournament to fit your needs. If you boil everything down, though, you’re really going to be able to go through a process of asking yourself six distinct questions. Ask yourself each of the following questions to figure out if a given tournament is the right fit for you.
What Texas Hold’em Poker Variation Do You Want To Play?
Texas Hold’em Poker: Limit, No Limit, Pot Limit or Mixed.
How Many People Do You Want to Play Against?
In other words, how small or big does the group need to be in order to make you feel comfortable? Event #3 at the WSOP this year had 28,371 entries, big enough? Tournament sizes vary wildly, so it’s up to you to figure out what your ideal number is. What you have to keep in mind, though, is that the bigger the tournament, the more money a skilled player stands to make, Event #3 paid over a million for 1st with an entry fee of just $500, btw. As such, you’re going to stand a chance of walking away with quite a bit of money if you’re willing to go bigger.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t benefits to playing small tournaments, though. Small tournaments mean that you’re going to play against fewer people and that you’ll have better odds of being the best player at any given table. Small tournaments like a sit and go (SNGs) tend to be easier to win and they’re a much more consistent way to make small amounts of money. What you’re really looking at is the difference between making more money all at once, or less money but more consistently.
How Much Do You Want to Spend?
For most poker players, this is really the big question. What you want to determine is how much you’re willing to spend to buy into the tournament and, ultimately, how much money you are willing to throw away. If you’re not confident that you’re at the top of the field, but you want to take a shot in the WSOP or similar type event, then you need to be comfortable with the idea of buying in and then walking away with absolutely nothing.
Even if you’re a pro, this is still an important question. Bankroll management is vital, and you shouldn’t be spending money that you don’t have when you know you’re going into a poker tournament that is above your skill level. Be honest with yourself when it comes to what you’re okay with losing.
What Kind of Challenge Do You Want?
So, who do you really want to play against?
That’s a big question, because it’s going to determine how difficult your games are going to be. If you are going to high-profile, big-money tournaments, you need to be prepared to play against big-name pros. If you’re going to little tournaments in the middle of nowhere, though, there’s a good chance that the competition will be far less intense.
The smart thing is always to play with players who are in or below your own skill level, but there are always exceptions. You might want to test where your current skills stand, or you might just want to say that you’ve played against a specific big name. Determining who you want to play against will make a big difference in how you choose to spend your money.
What Type of Blind Structure Do You Like?
Any given poker tournament you can have a handful of different types of blind structures. What you want to know is both what the initial blind is going to be, and how often those blinds are going to change and go up, every 20 minutes or every hour. If you’re new to the tournament scene, a blind structure with a slow build-up is ideal, but are usually very long and take several hours to several days to complete. You’re a bit short on time, you’re going to shoot for a turbo structure that goes big and that goes fast, this type of poker tournament ideal for aggressive poker players.
If you’re a little more confident in your skills, you’re going to weight the blind structure against your preferred method of play. Whether the stacks are big or small, or whether the blinds move quickly or slowly, you’re going to want to make sure that you can adapt your poker strategy to suit the reality of the game.
What Prizes Do You Like?
Your next goal is to figure out what the payouts for a given poker tournament are going to look like. Figure out how much money the house is going to take how much money the winner is going to take home, and what the prize money looks like for those who come close, usually the top 10-20%. The smaller the buy-in pool, the lower the prize is likely to be and the less worthwhile it is going to feel for some players. Make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth if you’re going to buy in.
Different Types of Poker Tournaments
Now that you know what to look for in a poker tournament, you can try to match your needs to the various formats out there. There are plenty of hybrids, of course, but you’ll want to look at these basic types in order to figure out if a game looks like the right fit for you.
Freezeout Poker Tournament
This is probably as close to a “standard” type as you’re going to find in the poker tournament world. After you buy into the game, you get a stack of chips and the game ends when you’re out of chips or you have all the chips. Once you’re out, the your game is over.
Rebuy Poker Tournament
As you might expect, a rebuy tournament will allow you to buy more chips during specific periods of time, usually only the first few rounds of play. If you run out of chips while the rebuy offer is still outstanding, you can buy back in and continue your game. Once the re-buy period is over and the final offer is given, though, you’ll be stuck with whatever you have at the table. Once the rebuy offer has expired, the tournament runs under freezeout rules.
This type of tournament differs because of its prize structure. Winners get a fixed amount no matter how many people have entered the tournament. This is generally considered to be a big builder for amateur bankrolls.
In a satellite tournament, your prize is getting a guaranteed seat into a bigger tournament. This is a good way to get into the big games if you’ve got a limited bankroll, but it doesn’t necessarily pay off if you aren’t a skilled player.
Bounty Poker Tournament
If you’re playing for a bounty, you get prizes for taking out certain players. This can be a really fun way to make some extra money at a game, especially when you’re playing with big names. It’s not a great way to earn extra money when you’re not at the table with that player, of course.
Knockout Poker Tournament
Knockout is kind of like Bounty but with more bounties. You get paid every time you take out (Knockout) another player, and you even get paid your own bounty if you manage to win the game. You generally spend more money to buy into that game in order to create the bounty prize pool, so you definitely have a chance of losing more if you are at the lower end of the skill set. Still, these games can be very fun.
Shootout Poker Tournament
Shootouts are somewhat odd. In a traditional tournament set-up, the poker tables get broken down and combined over and over again to provide some kind of balance. That’s not the case in a shootout poker tournament, though – tables go until there’s a single player left at each table, and winners of their table get combined with other table winners and then those players eventually find their way to a final table. The winner of the last table standing is the player who takes home the big prize.
Also known as a one-on-one tournament, this is definitely not a standard type of poker. It’s you against one other player, set up in a bracket like a more traditional sports tournament. Once a player wins, he or she advances to the next table. This goes on until there is only a single player left.
By now, you have enough knowledge to know how to choose a good poker tournament and the types of Texas Hold’em poker tournaments that might be the most appealing to you. Try to think about what matters the most to you before choosing a tournament, whether that’s having a good time or making a lot of money. If you’re willing to carefully consider the tournaments around you, you’ll find an option that allows you to fulfill your needs.
Poker Tournaments – FAQs
A: Texas hold’em is by far the most popular version of poker. This isn’t likely to change any time soon.
A: You buy-in to a poker tournament using real money and get a specific amount of chips as a starting stack. You play poker till only one player remains. Usually the top 10-15% earn a portion of the prize pool.
A: The most popular variation of poker outside of Texas hold’em is PLO/Omaha, Seven Card Stud, Razz, Pineapple, plus many more.
A: You’re playing for real money, but the chips are just tournament chips with no cash value.