texas holdem tournament guide schedules
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Poker tournaments have grown in popularity. Texas hold'em, because it is a faster-paced game than stud, is a favorite for tournament play. Asmost all of the cardrooms listed on this website offer tournaments as well as "live" or "ring" games. A "live" or "ring" game refers to the kind of games, where all the chips used have a cash value. In a tournament, the chips issued have no cash value, but there are cash prizes at the end for the winners.
For poker players, tournaments offer high entertainment value for a fixed dollar amount that is paid upfront. Many tournaments have modest buy-ins (less than $l00), which means that for beginners, they offer a lowrisk venue for learning the game. The object of the tournament is to determine a winner who will be awarded a cash prize formed from the entry fees. Rarely does one person take all the 3'd, and cash. Usually, there are prizes for the various runner-ups (2nd, so on).
Each entrant in a poker tournament pays an "entry fee". From the pool of money created
by the entry fees, a cut goes to the cardroom for running the event, but the bulk of the money
becomes a prize fund that is awarded to the winners.
Each entrant is issued a fixed amount of chips to play with that have no cash value. All entrants start play together with the same number of chips. The winner is the person who at the end has accumulated all the chips. To force losing players out, the betting stakes are continually increased, either at regularly scheduled time intervals or after a specitied number of hands. If you don't win chips, the escalating
stakes make it more difficult to stay in the game.
For example, suppose at the start you are issued $500 of chips and play starts at $5-10. With $500 to start and only $5 blinds to pay, you could sit at the table for many hours without playing a hand. However, in a tournament stakes rise as time passes. Each tournament will have its own schedule for upping the stakes.
For example: stakes could start at $5-10, then a half-hour later the stakes could become $10-20, then in another half-hour $20-40, followed by $40-80 and so on.
With this kind of doubling, players who sit tight with their chips, or lose them, will eventually be forced all-in just to cover their blinds. As time goes on, only the winners will have enough chips to keep playing. Those forced to go all-in and lose are eliminated from play. Some tournaments do allow "re-buys" in the early stages of play, others do not. If you choose to rebuy, you pay additional money for a second set of chips to continue play.
Obviously, luck has more to do with tournament outcomes than it does the results of ring games. The degree to which luck is a factor depends on how fast the stakes escalate. Imagine an extremely fast
schedule where the stakes increase every 10 minutes. Those lucky enough to be dealt winning hands in the first few minutes will have an advantage. But if the scheduled escalation is over a period of hours,
the tournament becomes more like live poker with the better players accumulating more chips over the long run. Because of the time pressure, success at pokertournament requires more aggressive play and a different strategic mindset than live poker.


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