How to Get Started Playing Online Poker Tournaments

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Whether you’ve played some poker with your friends and family or are a complete newbie, if you’re interested in online poker, you probably want to know what tournaments are all about. The reason that tournaments are the form of poker that gets the most attention in the media is that they have the highest payout.

Even if you’re not in a multi-million dollar tournament like the World Series of Poker, daily tournaments still offer the opportunity to win hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The other big reason why tournaments are so popular is it gives you the opportunity to win these prizes without gambling huge amounts of your own money. Unlike playing against the house, you’re not staking your own money on every hand.

Instead, you pay a flat amount to buy into a tournament. This buy-in can be as little as $5 or $10 for a daily tournament. Additionally, it’s possible to earn a free buy-in to larger tournaments by first winning or simply doing well in smaller “satellite” tournaments. However, before you start worrying about all those details, you likely just want to get the basics of online tournaments covered.

How Soon Can You Start Playing in Online Poker Tournaments?

Texas Hold’em is the most common type of online tournament poker. If you’ve never played Texas Hold’em, start with a free online tutorial that walks you through how the game works. Once you understand the flow of the game, it’s worth playing some hands through a fake money simulation.

Since the buy-ins for online tournaments are so reasonable, you don’t have to worry about logging tons of practice prior to jumping into a tournament. Although playing real money hands against the house without a deep understanding of the game is a bad idea, tournaments don’t present the same type of financial risk. Instead, they’re actually a very cheap way to put your Hold’em learning on the fast track.

What to Expect During a Tournament

Once you find a tournament that looks good and pay your entry fee, play will commence. One characteristic that sets tournament play apart from playing against the house is as the tournament goes along, the antes and blinds will increase. However, before you reach this point, you’ll have to make it through the early stages. The best way to do that is through patience and consistentcy. The biggest mistake players make (especially new ones) is getting anxious and deciding to make a huge move early on. While this can occasionally pay off, more often than not it leads to an early tournament exit.

If you ever start to feel frustrated, just remind yourself that like anything else, it takes time to improve your poker skills. Although you’ll get knocked out of plenty of tournaments, you’ll learn something new from every experience. And if you ever hit a point where playing stops being fun, it just means that you need to step away from your computer and take a little break.