Recently we talked about the advantaged of playing poker cash games over tournaments. This time around we will look at advantages of playing poker tournaments.
While poker tournaments have been around since the 1970’s, it was the Poker Boom that made the medium a viable method of earning a living in poker.
There are many that will play tournaments exclusively and stay away from cash games, and below are some of the best reasons why.
Turn a Molehill Into a Mountain
The most popular reason that people play poker tournaments is because you can turn a single buy-in into a significant sum of money. Just look at the WSOP Main Event. The winner of the event puts up $10,000 and gets back $8 million.
While many of us will never sniff that type of payout, there are others that are much more achievable. How many players have taken $300 or $500 and turned it into $30,000 to $50,000 or more.
Poker is one of the few areas where you can get 100x or more on a single investment. Naturally, that’s not going to happen often but when it does, it puts you in a nice financial position for a while.
You Don’t Need a Full Buy-in With Satellites
Poker tournament players don’t always have to put up a full buy-in out of their pockets to enter thanks to satellites. For example, a player can enter a $1,500 WSOP Event by winning a single table $175 satellite.
Satellites offer a way for players to get into an event for a significant discount. That discount is even deeper online with some events offering seats for as little as pennies. You’ll sometimes even run across freeroll satellites.
There’s a Cap on How Much You Can Lose
The greatest advantage of a tournament over a cash game is that you know ahead of time the maximum you’re going to lose. While we don’t play tournaments hoping to lose, you’re going to bust out more times than you’re going to cash and you need to plan for such.
For example, in a $1,500 freezeout, you’re only going to lose $1,500, or the equivalent, at most. Yes, this even applies to re-entry events. Many re-entry events limit the number of times you can re-enter. If a $300 event has 2 re-entries, you can lose $900.
In tournament poker, you play until you lose all your chips. It doesn’t matter whether you lose them all in an hour or over the course of a day. In the end, you’re buy-in is the max you can lose.
Tournaments Have a Set Schedule
Another great advantage of playing tournaments is that you can schedule your life around them. There’s no having to figure out the best time to show up to play against the fish. You know ahead of time when the tournament will run and usually around how long it will last.
In addition, tournaments have a set structure that’s available ahead of time. You can discover what levels are offered, the length of the levels, when dinner breaks will occur and how many levels you’ll play in a given day. Using this information can allow you to plan your day and any other activities you would like to do around the tournament.
You Can Win Cool Prizes in Addition to Money
Some poker tournaments offer players a chance to take home something in addition to the prize money. Depending on the event, this ranges from trophies to bracelets to other types of SWAG or prizes.
On occasion, you’ll even play in tournaments that give special prizes to final table participants or certain other finishers. My favorite story regarding this come from the Bicycle Casino circa 2006.
Prior to the beginning of a $500 buy-in event, the floorman announced that the first person to bust out would get front row tickets to the Lakers game that day. At least 20 players went all-in the first hand and multiple people sprinted to try to be the first to report their bustout.
Special prizes may or may not have any real value, but they are a fun reminder of a win, deep run or just a fun occurrence in a particular tournament.