How Do Online Poker Tournaments Work?

Many people today are into playing casino games online. There are lots of different games you can choose from, which can give you a chance to win real money while having fun. Online casinos also host tournaments of different games. For example, there are slot tournaments where you can earn free spins, too. Another very popular casino game that has online tournaments is poker. It is where a large number of players compete for a prize pool announced by sites.

Poker tournaments enable people to win huge amounts of money even with just small investments. In addition, the prestige and exposure that come with winning tournaments are very satisfying, which makes players continue joining and playing. But real money poker tournaments online take the game a step further because they give players the chance to win hundreds of thousands of dollars in the comfort of their homes.

If you are new to online poker tournaments, you’re in the right place. Today, we are giving you a guide on how poker tournaments work online.

What is a Poker Tournament and Its Difference from Poker Cash Games?

When you play a poker cash game, the chips in front of you have an actual dollar value. It means that whether you play in a physical casino or at home, the bets are made in the chip that is equal to real cash. In addition, players in a cash game can buy more chips at any point, up to the agreed limits. Meaning, if you lose your chips, you can buy a new stack for yourself.

In poker tournaments, on the other hand, players buy a stack of chips for an agreed price. Then, they will play until their chips are gone, where they will be eliminated from the game. The game will be finished once one player has won all the chips. Also, betting levels are increased as the games go on to keep the games to a reasonable length of time. This forces players to play hands before their chip stacks disappear through the “forced bets” of blinds and antes.

Different Types of Online Poker Tournaments

Online poker tournaments can vary when it comes to their details of price, game type, speed, and betting. But they can be divided into these categories:

Freezeout Tournaments

Freezeout tournaments are the standard poker tournament online. In this type, players get a stack of chips in exchange for their buy-in. When these chips are gone, the player will be out. About 10% to 15% of the entrants will be paid, and the amount depends on their finish position. It is usually between double their buy-in and up to 100 times for a top 3 finish.

Rebuy Tournaments

In this type of online poker tournament, players are allowed to rebuy more chips during a pre-defined period. However, the rebuy option is online, usually in the first hour of the game. After that, there is usually an additional “add-on” of yet more chips. Having the chance to rebuy can make a lot of players be more willing to take risks early, making the game more entertaining.

Sit and Go Tournaments

A sit and go or SNG online poker tournament starts as soon as the required number of players join. It can be 1 table that includes 6 to 9 players, up to more than 20 tables. When you choose smaller fields, you need less time to wait, which is a popular choice for beginners.

Satellite Tournaments

Satellite poker tournaments are those that award prizes of seats in other tournaments ranging from online games to some of the biggest events, such as the European Poker Tour and World Series games. There are also smaller buy-in satellites that award prizes of seats in bigger satellites. This type is a popular format as it has many variations in betting, speed, and poker game played.

Knockout Bounty Tournaments

This type of online poker tournament has an added twist, with a proportion of each player’s buy-in selected as a bounty payment for whoever knocks them out. These prizes are instantly awarded as soon as a player knocks someone out of the game.

Turbo or Speed Tournaments

These are fast online poker tournaments that are very popular. They also go under different names depending on the online casino site you are playing at. Many players are attracted to this type of tournament because the betting levels increase fast, enticing them to play more hands to avoid being left behind.

Freeroll Tournaments

Freeroll online poker tournaments are those where players can join without paying for a buy-in. It gives you a chance to win money even though the entry is free. This is the best type of online poker tournament for beginners. It can help them learn the game without risking any amount of money.

Best Strategies in Online Poker Tournaments

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with all the rules of online poker tournaments, here are some of the best strategies we can share with you, which may give you a higher chance of winning:

  • Nail the odds and outs: You need to be aware of the odds of certain hands hitting to ensure that you are not making a mistake when drawing to straights or flushes.
  • Bluffs are very important: Before you begin throwing around your chips, hoping for your opponent to somehow find their fold button, you need to learn about bluffs first. There are two important types of bluffs, which are the semi-bluff and the continuation bet. The semi-bluff is an important weapon, and the continuation bet is a profitable move. Make sure that you research these before you play.
  • Suited connectors: These are hands such as 7-8 of spades, which can hit hidden straights and flushes on the flop. Most of the time, your opponents would not believe you have these hands. With this, you can win a huge pot if you do hit. However, you need to be careful and get the right implied odds to be able to play them.
  • Hand reading: You also need to research hand reading in poker. It’s because as you improve in the game, you also need to start trying to assess the hands of your opponent more accurately.
  • Reraising can do a lot for your chip stack: This is helpful, especially during the mid to late stages of the tournament. When you see another player raise and re-raise them again, they will start to fear that you have a monster hand.
  • Reaching the final table: When you reach the final table, and you have big money at stake, you need to be prepared with the right moves and strategy. Therefore, you need to ensure that you are ready to face the last few players of a big tournament to secure your money.


Playing online poker tournaments is also as fun as playing it in a real casino. To get started, choose one of the best online poker sites and practice a lot. But you also need to remember to play responsibly and only spend the amount of money you are willing to risk.