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WSOP Tournament Terms

Tips and information on playing for poker tournaments:

Poker Tournaments Key Terms 101:

  • Sign Up/Entry Fee. The amount of money paid to the house. Relative smaller than the buy-in fee.
  • Buy-In.The amount of money paid after the entry fee, this usually goes to the prize pool.
  • Starting Chips.The player receives his chips. Number of chips vary for each tournament, but typically its 1,500.
  • Starting Chips Bonus. In selected tournaments, players receive bonus chips in addition to their starting chips.
  • Re-buy. Player has the option to buy additional chips. Again, rules vary for each tournament.
  • Add-on. Option for purchasing chips during the tournament regardless of the remaining chips still in the player’s possession.
  • Prize Pool. The total amount of prize and money, this includes the player buy-ins, add-ons, re-buys, and the additional money contributed by the tournament host.
  • Round. The specified time for each betting limit. Varies for every tournament.

Types of Poker Tournaments:

Before joining a tournament, you must first be clear on what type entering in.

  • Major Tournament. Large tournaments that last from a week up to a month, with large buy-in fees.
  • Minor Tournament. Tournaments that usually last for three days, with much smaller buy-in and entry fees.
  • Free Roll Tournament. No buy-in fee required to enter the tournament.
  • Re-buy Tournament. Players are given the option to buy more chips, usually the same amount as the original buy-in. Tournaments vary with their Re-buy rules.
  • Guaranteed Tournament. There is a guarantee at the start of the game of a fixed prize pool, regardless of the number of players buy-in to the tournament.
  • Satellite Tournament. One-table tournament with the purpose of awarding winners with buy-ins to major tournaments.
  • Shootout. A player must eliminate all his opponents so he can advance to the final round. Then all finalists will try to beat each other in a freezeout format until only one player remains.
  • Freezeout. Players who run out of chips will be eliminated. The last player remaining at the end of the game wins the prize pool.

Poker Tournaments General Tips

  • This may still depend on the type of tournament, but players have the tendency to play more aggressively or loosely at the early stages of the game, especially in re-buy tournaments where they have the option to purchase more chips at a certain point of the tournament.
    Keep in mind that your goal at the beginning stages is to keep a decent stack of chips. This will give you a secure position in the upcoming rounds.
  • You will notice significant changes towards the middle stages of the tournament. Blind and bets will be raised and your playing strategy will take a turn. Your tendency will be to invest highly to try and beat your opponents. But smart players know how to fold immediately if they have a weak hand.
    Tournaments are a matter of survival, so don’t waste your chips if you think you have an un-winnable hand. You won’t last long if you start being too aggressive now.
  • If you’re lucky to reach the final rounds, the blinds will leave your chips in a critical position. These final stages will also test your skills and strategy to grab that precious prize pool.
  • Check where you stand with your chips. If you have a good stack, play aggressive and focus on eliminating your opponents. If not, be careful and call only if you have a good hand. Setting your goal on that prize pool will require cautious strategy and focus.
  • Regular poker tips and strategy apply to tournament games. What you need to work on is increasing your stack to make it last until the final rounds. Don’t rely on luck, it will run out eventually.
  • Consider all scenarios and you’ll have to play tournaments for a long time before you can finally hit big. When you play aggressively, your opponents will be waiting for a chance to take you down. Beware when this happens, protect your chips and your chance of grabbing that prize pool.
  • If it’s a Single Tournament, be careful of playing suited connectors aggressively because their value is smaller than expected since players will be short-stacked. Also take notice of your opponents, chances are you’ll run into them in more than one tournaments.
  • If it’s a Multi-Table Tournament, learn to pace yourself. Tournaments lasts a long while so be prepared, place your bets wisely to protect your stack.
  • Observe your opponents’ betting patterns as the tournament progresses. Creating a good opponent model will give you a hint when to raise or bluff.
  • The best tip we can give you is the simplest of all: practice, practice, practice. Continue playing your favorite poker variation until you’ve mastered your moves.
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2006 World Series of Poker Sections: