Types of Online Poker Tournaments

For many poker fanatics nothing can replace the thrill of tournament play, especially if it's a major multi-table event that offers a million-dollar or larger prize pool and an enormous payout to the champion.

While players in search of such action used to be hard-pressed to find a suitable site, today's online poker rooms have matured to the point of rivaling the offerings of even that largest land-based card rooms.

Because of the mass appeal of poker tournaments, most of today' online poker rooms now offer extensive tournament options that include everything from big money events to special satellites that promise seats in poker's premier tournaments. Online players can now very easily find their fill of $20,00 freerolls, $100,000 tournaments, and million-dollar guaranteed events that attract even the most renowned poker pros.

One of the biggest online tournaments is PokerStars.com's highly successful World Championship of Online Poker. Since 2002, the WCOOP has been the definitive event for the online poker player. Similar in nature to the terrestrial World Series of Poker, the WCOOP offers weeks of tournament events across a variety of poker disciplines, all culminating in one multi-million dollar tournament and one ultimate champion.

In addition to hosting their own major tournaments, most established online poker rooms have taken a page from their land-based counterparts and offer online players a shot at poker stardom through satellites. These small, inexpensive tournaments give players a chance to win their way into the larger, more expensive events such as WSOP or a World Poker Tour event without having to risk the high entry fees, which can easily run into the thousands of dollars. Some of the best sites offering such satellites include PartyPoker.com, PokerStars.com, UltimateBet.com, Poker.com, FullTiltPoker.com, DoylesRoom.com, BodogPoker.com, and TitanPoker.com.

Single Table Tournaments

Single table tournaments typically involve upwards of 10 competitors, each of whom pays a set amount of money into a prize pool along with a small entry fee. For example, if you were entered in a 10-player $30/$3 No Limit Texas Hold 'em tournament, the total prize pool would be $300. For that event, the top three players each receive a percentage of the total pool that typically adheres according to the following schedule: First place 50%, Second place 30%, Third place 20%.

Multiple Table Tournaments

Unlike single table events that allow only a very limited number of players per game, multi-table tournaments are generally "open-ended" in terms of the number of people that can register. While this means that individual players have a larger number of opponents to overcome, it also means that the prize pool can get very large, even for low buy-in tournaments. For example, it's not uncommon for a $20 multi-table tournament to offer a first prize worth several thousand dollars, with players finishing as high as 70th taking home $30 or $40 for their trouble.


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