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Tournament Formats

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There are two main ways to play a tournament: freezeout (or ‘no re-buy’) and re-buy tournaments. Both games determine the winner by whoever wins all of the chips.


In freezeout tournaments, players get the same amount of chips at the beginning of the game and are not allowed to buy more if they get low or go broke. If you lose all of your chips, you’re out of the game. Some games have a time limit and whoever has the most chips at the set time is the winner.


If a player is getting low or has lost all of their chips, they can buy more in re-buy tournaments if it’s within a specified time period. Each tournament sets its own rules for how many more chips you can buy, when you can buy them and how many times you can re-buy. Some tournaments allow unlimited re-buys until a set time (you can’t have unlimited re-buys throughout the whole tournament since the game would never end). As in freezeout games, the game ends when one player has all of the chips or whoever has the most chips when the time limit is reached (if playing with a time limit).

Usually you can buy more chips in the first four levels of the tournament. You can tell what level the tournament’s on as it’s displayed in the poker client (the program that you play poker with), if you’re playing online.

If you lose all of your chips in a re-buy tournament, a pop-up window comes up asking if you’d like to buy more chips. Normally the re-buy is the same amount as the buy-in. So if you had a $20 buy-in and were given 2,000 chips, your re-buy would be the same amount and you’d be given the same amount of chips ($20 for 2000 chips).

You can also buy chips when you’ve lost a certain amount (usually 50%) and if it’s within the allowed time period. If you want to buy more, click on a button in the poker client indicating you’d like to buy more chips (it’s usually a $ sign). If you click on the button requesting more chips during a game and you win enough chips in that hand to bring you above the 50% mark, you won’t get the extra chips and the request is denied.

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Some re-buy games allow you to buy more chips even if you haven’t gone broke nor have a dwindling stack. These are called ‘add-ons’ and may be purchased at the end of the final re-buy round.

To register in a re-buy tournament, look for the word ‘re-buy’ in the list of tournaments and register for that game.


Any of these tournament formats can be played as a freezeout or re-buy tournament:

SINGLE TABLE TOURNAMENTS (also called Sit ‘n Go tournaments)

Satellite tournaments are what you enter to win the stakes (money for the buy-in) for a bigger poker tournament and are not a style of play. They can be single or multi-table tournaments. In other words, satellite tournaments are a type of tournament where the top prize is a seat in a bigger tournament and they’re not a particular style or format of tournament play.

Go to Poker Stars and start playing in a tournament today! They have daily Sit ‘n Go tournaments starting every few minutes and huge sign-up bonuses of 50% your initial deposit (up to $200)! Best of all, they have a lot of freeroll tournaments (which are free they don’t have a registration fee) and ‘micro-limit’ tournaments which are great for beginners or anybody who doesn’t want to spend too much money playing poker.


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