How To Play

Learn how to play poker in minutes with our guide to the basics

How Do Poker Tournaments Work?

Poker tournaments online It is very popular and is a great way to learn how to play or take on a top level challenge. For a fixed entry fee, you can play poker knowing it will only cost you so much - and participating in a big tournament can turn a small investment into a big win.

In tournament pokerEach player pays a certain amount and receives the same number of chips at the start. The difference between tournaments and cash games is that these chips have no cash value and cannot be entered or exited - tournaments are played for the overall winner as players are eliminated during the course of the game;
In cash games, the blinds are fixed, while in tournaments they increase as the tournament progresses. This maintains the excitement while increasing the earnings of players who collect chips from players who have busted out.

Prize money Players who finish in the top spots will receive prizes depending on the tournament structure. The prize pool is usually split between the top 10-30% of players, with prizes increasing as the tournament progresses. Full details of each tournament's total prize pool and its distribution are available in the lobby.

Satellites These are special tournaments in which the prizes are fixed-amount subscriptions to the target tournament (or a satellite tournament at a later stage). In satellites, the available prize pool is divided into ticket amounts, with the remaining prize pool that is not enough for a ticket being allocated to the player who places one spot outside the ticketing centres.

Tournament Rules

Entrance Fees - The entry fee is posted in the lobby next to the tournament entry form. For example, in a $100 + $10 tournament, $100 of the entry fee will be included in the prize pool and $10 will be the entry fee.

Late Registration - There is usually a period of time after the tournament starts (explained in the tournament information) during which you can still sign up and join the game. After this period, no new players can join the tournament and the tournament ends with a winner.

Seating - At the start of the tournament, players are randomly seeded with their starting stack. When new players join during late registration, new tables are created and players can be moved to even out the number of players at each table. When players drop out, the tournament is shortened and the tables are "broken", which again involves moving some players to new seats if necessary.

Absent Players - All players must receive a deal in every hand. Any blinds or preflop bonuses are automatically posted for players who are seated (either far or offline), and their cards are folded when the action reaches them.

Tournament Speeds and Structures - Different structures and speeds are available for tournaments. Tournaments can take some time - especially for those who compete in depth! We offer options for players who want to experience the fun and excitement of poker tournaments without a big time commitment, as well as for those who prefer a slower clock (curtain-raising speed). In the lobby you will find the following types of tournaments (from slowest to fastest):

  • Slow
  • Regular
  • Turbo
  • Hyper Turbo


Tournament Types - There are different variations of tournament format and structure. In bonus or knockout (KO) and progressive bonus (PKO) tournaments, a portion of each player's buy-in is written as a bounty on his or her head. Bonuses are earned when you knock out another player (KO tournaments), and in PKO tournaments, a portion of the knockout player's bonus is added to your bonus and a portion of it is earned immediately as a cash prize. In PKO tournaments, a portion of the busted player's bonus is added to your bonus;

Tournaments can be played in no limit hold’em, short deck or Omaha variants, with varying numbers of players at a table, from heads up (One against one, the winning player advances to the next round until there is no winner at the end of the game) z9 handed. 6-Max is a popular short-handed tournament format where tables are six-handed.  

Hand-for-hand Play - In tournaments with more than 100 players, hand-for-hand play is introduced as the money bubble approaches (the money bubble is the last final position that receives none of the prizes). This means that each table is dealt one hand and then play is suspended until each table has completed its hand;

Simultaneous elimination - if two players are eliminated in the same round, the player with the higher chip count at the start of the round will be recorded as the player who finished in the higher position.

Heads-up betting - When the tournament reaches the heads-up betting phase (two players remain), the player on the button bets the small blind and acts first in the opening round of betting.

Timebank and Disconnection Timer - When you move, the preset clock is activated - the time set for movement. When this clock expires, a longer time bank is available for you to activate. When the player-activated time bank expires, your hand will fall. Time can be added to the extended time bank at different stages of the tournament depending on the tournament structure. There is also a disconnect time bank that is automatically activated when the system detects that you are disconnected. When it expires, your hand is passported and you go into auto-passport mode.

Synchronised Breaks – Most tournaments will have breaks at the same time, once an hour, at XX:55.

Multiple Flights - In the case of multi-trip events (up to the last day), you can participate in more than one trip. If you manage to take part in more than one trip, you will usually take the "top group at the front", i.e. the top group at the end of your qualifying trips will be the group you start with in the next leg.

Tournament Cancellation Policy - Our cancellation policy varies depending on the stage the tournament has reached. We reserve the right to postpone or cancel a tournament without notice.

If a tournament is cancelled before the first hand is dealt:

  • All buy-ins/tickets (including admin fees) are refunded
  • If a player has a ticket and has no other qualifying events to use it for, it will be refunded in the form of tournament dollars ($T) or the cash equivalent of tickets to future events at our discretion.


If a tournament is cancelled before registration is closed:

  • Remaining players in the event are refunded according to ICM calculation*
  • ICM is calculated using only the buy-ins + admin fee (not the guaranteed prize pool)


If a tournament is cancelled after registration is closed:

  • The remaining players will be refunded according to ICM's calculation of the total amount of winnings (including guaranteed winnings).


If a multi-flight tournament disconnection problems occur during the trip, we may postpone the trip or event to a future date and time of our choosing. If problems occur during a trip (before payment is made), players will be refunded the full subscription fee and the trip will be cancelled or postponed at our discretion.

* ICM accounts are created when the system recognizes the first significant number of players who are having trouble disconnecting. If additional players sign up after the first disconnections occur, their subscription and management fees will be refunded and will not be paid through the ICM account.

All Tournament Rules are intended to complement our overall Terms of Service. In applying the rules, we consider fairness to be a priority in the decision-making process. When we apply the rules, we make fairness a priority in the decision-making process;