Multiple table poker tournaments provide players with the opportunity for lots of action, excellent competition and lucrative prizes. This form of poker play involves lots of players, at many different tables, all competing to be the last one left with all of the chips in play. This is the format that most of the major televised (and otherwise) poker events assume. There can really be any number of players from 11 on up. In fact, some of the major tournaments have thousands of players.
At the start of these types of tournaments, players are seated at tables as evenly as possible. Play begins as it would in any other tournament, and as players are eliminated, the tables are re-balanced. This is accomplished by either moving a few players to other tables, or even taking whole tables out of play and moving their ‘survivors’ to different tables.
Gradually, the numbers of table shrink as players continue to be eliminated. This continues until there is only a single table remaining, consisting of 9 or 10 players. This is called the ‘final table,’ and is where everyone is trying to be. From this point, you could think of the tournament as essentially a SNG (sit and go).
Rules of Multi-Table Tournaments:
- Seats are randomly assigned, possibly by draw, and no changes are usually allowed.
- At the start of the tournament, each player will be dealt a card. The high card will ‘win’ the button, and the two blinds (as in the case of holdem and Omaha type games) are positioned immediately to the left of the button.
- Players may be asked to move or changes seats to a different table during the course of the tournament. Players must comply. If they are moved into a position with one of the blinds (even if it would not have been their turn at the previous table), these are live and they must post the blind.
- When a player loses all of their chips, they are eliminated from the tournament.
- If two or more players are eliminated on the same hand, the player with most chips at the start of that hand will be placed higher. If the players had the same amount of starting chips, then the one closer to the button will be deemed to have placed higher.
- When play becomes heads-up (only two players remaining), the player on the button will post the small blind and be first to act.
- Tournament is over when one player has won all the chips in play.
Strategies for Tournament Play:
Obviously, playing tournament poker requires a much different strategy than playing in cash poker games online. Your first goal should be mere survival. A lot of players will initially try to double up and play very loose. This is probably the wrong strategy; instead be very tight and conservative, at least until the first break. You want to use well-timed aggressiveness and to be fearless when playing tournament poker online. Before making ANY move, you should consider your position, being more inclined to bet the later your position is. However, when you do have a premium hand, do not be afraid to push in all of your chips! In order to win best poker tournaments, you will need to gain a lot of chips.
Know the odds of your game. You should be able to calculate the odds that you have the best hand, your chances of making the draw you are hoping for, and the odds of you being beaten. In tournament play is better to wait until you have a bigger advantage, instead of pressing small chances. When you have a big hand, trap and try to make it pay as much as it can.
Always protect your chips. The biggest piece of advice on this note is simply to not raise on marginal hands when you are in an early betting position. Also, never just call a large pre-flop raise. If your hand is good enough to call in this situation, you should re-raise. If it is not good enough for this, than you should probably fold. The only exception to this is if you are trying to slow play a hand with large pocket pairs (A-A or K-K).
Good luck and hope to see you online!
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Gavin writes on a wide range of subjects, including articles and reviews about online casinos, slots, bingo, poker, and sportsbooks. He has considerable expertise in the games, customer service, and other aspects of today’s leading gambling and betting portals.