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Online vs Live Poker Tournament Guide

April 22, 2024
by PokerStars Learn

There are many poker tournament formats out there. To begin with, you can play live or online. If playing online, you can choose the speed between regular, turbo, and hyper turbo. Your strategy will depend on which format you’re playing. So watch this quick guide on how tournaments work and level up your poker knowledge with Spraggy.

What is a Poker Tournament?

A tournament has a clear beginning, middle, and end. You pay an entry fee and get poker chips to play with. The chips have no cash value – they’re basically just used to keep score.

Ultimately, you lose all your chips or you win all the other players’ chips – and that’s how the tournament ends.

To be in with a chance of taking home some money in tournaments, it’s about finishing as high as possible. Roughly, between 10-15% of players that finish will earn some form of prize money.

Important Tournament Concepts

As you play, the blinds keep getting bigger at regular time intervals forcing you to play hands.

It’s important to be aware of your stack size, that’s how many chips you have, and how that translates to how many big blinds you have. More chips mean more big blinds.

Antes are extra chips you must pay along with the blinds to build the pot faster.

You want to pay attention to blinds, antes, and your stack to avoid busting out.

Types of Tournaments

Online blind levels can be anywhere from 3 minutes to 30 minutes. In live poker tournaments, the levels are likely to be longer anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours. The three main tournament speed types for online poker are:

  • Regular tournaments usually have blinds increasing every 8-15 minutes. These can last 3-8 hours.
  • For a step up in speed, Turbo tournaments see the blinds increase more regularly (every 5-6 minutes). Turbo torunaments can last between 1.5 to 4.5 hours.
  • If that speed is still too slow for you, Hyper Turbos is where things get moving, very quickly. Blinds rachet up every 3 minutes. Given this speed, these tournaments are usually much shorter – 1-2.5 hours in duration.

Helpful Strategy Tips

  1. Regular tournaments allow players to take their time a little more and be more conservative with their chips and patient with their play and starting hands. A gradual chip increase is possible here.
  2. Turbo tournaments require more speed and quicker decision making from the player, and also more willingness to take calculated risks – the blinds increasing quickly will dictate a lot here.
  3. Naturally, In hyper turbos everything is moving at an immensely speedy level. As the blinds power upwards, folding or going all-in becomes the order of the day.

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