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Online Poker Tournaments - The Appeal

Online poker tournaments are incredibly popular. The appeal of online events has been supercharged over the last 5 years. There is now more money, a much bigger spotlight, better networking possibilities, considerably more chumps at the tables and more drama, all of which is good news for the poker community.

It is far more likely that there are combinations of factors that draw any one player into tournament life online. Let’s get some of the more obvious attractions out the way. The chance of winning large sums of money is going to be pretty high on most players lists. In reality you can win thousands, even tens of thousands of pounds from literally the price of a moderately sized sandwich. That’s a pretty attractive start. Tournaments also offer a uniquely different experience. While the conditions within a ring game stay relatively constant, conditions in the tournament arena constantly change, which certainly adds to the excitement. For starters, there are increasing blinds and antes, which you wouldn’t get in a ring game. There is also a need for a much more complex overall strategy, depending where you are in the tournament (early, middle or late stages), how many chips you have and where you are in the pay-outs.

Mastering online tournament strategy adds a dimension to a player’s game. How it adds value is that a winning tournament strategy would unlikely win if adopted in a ring game as there are different forces at work. Understanding and mastering these forces only makes a player stronger and more adaptable to the surroundings.


The Evolution of Tournaments

In the olden days, Casinos used to play winner takes all, in which the last man standing would get all the money. It was then decided that the prize pool would be split across a number of places, with payouts based on the percentage of the total prize pool. This added far more excitement to tournaments with players not having to win the tournament (which is more unlikely) to make a sizeable profit. For many, the attraction is simply the potential win rate, which can be significantly higher than in a cash or side game. This added real impetus to the drive behind the tournament phenomena that exists today.


The online environment is also one that is constantly changing with the top poker sites bringing in new formats of the game exciting. One of the newer formats that has taken the online world by storm are the progressive bounty tournaments offered across a number of the big sites. Half the buy in goes to a standard prize pool and the other 50% to the bounty prize pool. Players start with a bounty on their head and if they knock a player out 50% of the opponents bounty is paid there and then and the other 50% goes onto their bounty.


Of course this is one of hundreds of different formats that can be found online. The selection that can be found online is simply vast.


Online Tournaments are exciting and fun

Online tournaments are great fun and the deeper you go, the more exciting it gets. Compared to ring games, players can experience playing with massive stacks that they would not normally get to play with in most cash games or live tournaments - mainly as there are often more players in online games, not to mention the ability to have up to 24 tournaments running at the same time.

So we know if can be exciting - let's have a closer look at why this is the case. If you imagine playing in a cash game, the blinds and antes will not be raised and stay at the same level. Your starting hand range will be fairly solid although you will likely be changing gears and mixing it up, depending on the opposition. The risk you face on each hand will be fairly standardized in as much as there won’t be any additional factors other than a players actions, your cards and your position to contend with. For some this can be a little monotonous. The same isn’t true in tournaments - especially online. Firstly the blinds and antes increase periodically. As the blinds increase, there is more and more incentive for players to bluff to pick up pots. As you move into the later stages of a tournament, this is even more relevant. With the blinds costing considerably more, you need to make plays to pick up cheap pots from the weaker players at the table.

You will be under more and more pressure to play. Simply folding each hand won’t be an option, assuming you intend to go deep or win. The blinds will be eating away your stack and you may not have time to simply wait for premium hands. As the blinds go up, a bigger chunk of your stack is eaten every round of hands. The decision making is more intense and a fall from grace can be even more dramatic than it would ever be in a cash game. It’s survival of the fittest (who has the ‘fittest stack’) and dramatically more heart pumping.


The excitement in turning a small sum into thousands is certainly one of the best feelings any poker player will feel. Sadly, very few get to experience it.

There are players who hardly ever post a profit in cash games or live tournaments and figure that their fortunes may be reversed trying their hand in the online tournament arena. It seldom is. Bad play is bad play and is usually replicated, regardless of the type of game or format that's being played. The truth is that there are plenty of opportunities to build an early stack in tournaments from the fish that are trying to win the tournament in the first hour (they will be very easy to spot). It probably takes the first couple of hours to get rid of these players. They are very consistent in their approach to taking down the tournament fast. You don’t tend to find such a high concentration of bad players in live games. Whilst they might be there, they aren't as brave to make the same moves they make online behind the comfort of their PC screen. This makes the first few hours of any tournament rewarding. It’s a chance to build up a good stack, which will serve you well as you go deeper, the blinds increase and it becomes increasingly more difficult to win pots through opposition bad play.

As traffic grows and prize money grows, tournament poker is only going to go from strength to strength. If you want to try your luck, visit our top 2 tournament sites.

  • #1 Ranked Poker Site

    Poker Stars

    • The largest online poker room availble on the net!

      The largest online poker room available on the net!

    • The largest prize pools and rewards of any poker site

      The largest prize pools and rewards of any poker site.

    • Get $20 of free play with your first deposit

      Get $20 of free play with your first deposit!!

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  • #2 Ranked Poker Site

    888 Poker

    • $7,500 worth of freerolls for all new depositing players

      $7,500 worth of freerolls for all new depositing players!

    • £20 Instantly - No Deposit Req'd!! (T&Cs apply) + $9K tourneys

      £20 Instantly - No Deposit Req'd!! (T&Cs apply) + $9K tourneys

    • $400 welcome bonus for all new depositing players!

      $400 welcome bonus for all new depositing players!

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  • #3 Ranked Poker Site


    • All new depositing players get $22 Free

      All new depositing players get $22 Free.

    • 40% weekly in rakcback for all players

      40% weekly in rakcback for all players.

    • Diamond Club Elite access and 100% rake back!

      Diamond Club Elite access and 100% rake back!

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Only the Best Poker Tournament Websites...

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