Online Poker Tournaments

It is important to understand the different types of poker tournament variations out there because they will shape and influence your strategy and game plan. Here’s an overview of the following types of poker tournaments provided by the various online poker sites you have to choose from and be fun to play.

Single Table

A Single Table Tournament is a contest that is played out at a single table with a group of other players until all but one of the players has all the chips in play. The prize pool is paid out to the top finishing players. Being a single table tourney, it doesn’t take very long to establish the winner.  Also, you can win decent cash if you finish in the top 3.


A Multi-Table Tournament is a contest that involves numerous players at many different tables and play continues with increasing blind levels until all but one player has all of the chips, and becomes the eventual winner. Players are ranked based on the order that they bust out of the tournament, and the prize pool is paid out on a sliding scale amongst the top finishers.  This is also the most popular tournament type in poker today, live or online.


A tournament with a guarantee is no different to playing a multi table tournament it’s just that there is a guaranteed prize pool regardless of the number of entrants that take part in the tournament. Generally, these types of poker tournaments are popular at online poker sites, as a way to entice more players to register for a tournament.

Sit and Go

Sit & Go’s are like mini tournaments and they generally pay out to the top 30% of players while on the other hand multi table tournaments pay out to the top 10%, offering tremendous value to SNG players, and making it a lot easier to make a profit. Another great thing is that most games will finish in an hour or less.


Freerolls are free of charge to take part in, and fairly often have a cash prize pool. They are very popular among novice players looking to build a poker bankroll. The poker room that sponsors the freeroll entice players by giving them the opportunity to win merchandise, tournament tickets and sometimes real money cash prizes.

Satellite or Qualifier

The one major difference between a satellite and a regular tourney is that the first prize is not for real money but a seat into a higher dollar real money tournament. For instance, there are many online satellite tournaments for both the WSOP and the WPT. Of course there are also many satellite tournaments for other live/online tournaments.


Re-buy tournaments as its name implies allows players to re-buy for more chips if they bust out of the tournament. Usually there is a predetermined number of re-buys allowed, and you can receive the same amount of chips you started with, but this is not always the case.


A freezeout poker tournament means that a player cannot re-buy into the tournament after losing their initial starting chips. Most major poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker main event uses this structure. If an online poker tournament is not a freezeout, then it means the player can add to his chip stack in the form of re-buys or add-ons (during a specific period of time).


Turbo tournaments, also known as speed tournaments at some online poker sites, differ from regular tournaments because of the fast paced blind structure. In a turbo tournament the blinds will go up at least every 5 minutes. There is little to no play after the flop as most players are usually forced to go all-in or fold before the flop. The luck factor plays a larger role in this type of tournament and aggressive play is generally rewarded. If you play too tight the blinds will quickly eat up your stack forcing you to get blinded out of the game.


A steps tournament is essentially a series of single table tournaments in which the first prize for the winner is a seat into the next steps tournament. Generally, steps tournaments consist of five major steps, and players can usually enter the tournament during any phase of the steps, although the buy-in for the higher steps is considerably larger. Many online poker sites also provide players with the opportunity to win a seat at the lower steps which are definitely worth your time checking out.

So, as you can see there are a lot of exciting poker tournament formats you can play. Keep in mind, however, that any tournament can be a combination of the above mentioned variations. For example, a tournament can be a multi-table satellite.