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If you want to enter a tournament you have to pay a fee charged by the poker room or casino, besides the amount of money for the tournament itself, the so-called “buy-in”. Usually, all players enter a tournament for the same sum of the buy-in.
For example, with the buy-in comprising $100 and an extra $10, taken by the house, the actual amount paid by the player will constitute $110. The total prize pool can be calculated by multiply the buy-in by the total number of players (100 x $100 = $10,000). Each tournament has its own payout structure, but usually there is a prize for approximately every 10 players. In this case, it might be divided like this: 30% for first place, followed by 20%, 13%, 10%, 7%, 6%, 5%, 4%, 3%, and 2% respectively.
Hold’em tournament may be fast or slow depending on the amount of ships which players start out with, the stakes and the time periods. All players begin with an equal number of chips and, as the tournament moves forward, the stakes are typically raised every 15-60 minutes.
In general good players have their own strategy playing a slow tournament game with many chips start and long time periods. They like this type of tournament very much because these conditions give them a greater opportunity of outplaying their opponents before the stakes become so high that they are forced to take a greater risk. For those who prefer quick tournaments, it’s better to choose a sit-and-go tournament with a limited number of players.
Players in the tournament are sitting at the tables divided by the following way: for example, if there are 100 players involved in the tournament they will usually start by playing 10-handed at 10 tables. The players who go broke are eliminated (unless it is a re-buy tournament, where a player has the chance of buying in again during a specified period of time). After that, other players are relocated as tables are broken up and reconfigured. The tournament finishes with one player having all the chips.
Almost all people think that the most important thing in a poker tournament is be lucky, but in real life especially when we are talking about long-term success the matter is about player’s poker skills. No wonder that you repeatedly see the same names of top players in the money. Among them, Stu Ungar , who won three times in the WSOP World Championship event; Johnny Chan who has won back-to-back titles and finished second once; Doyle Brunson with double victory in it, and T.J. Cloutier who has finished second twice and made several final tables.
So, to be a winner in a tournament, you must be lucky, but to place in the money on a regular basis you must be a skilled player.