No Limit Hold em Poker Tournaments

No Limit Hold em Tournaments

No Limit Hold em tournaments are the most commonly played poker tournaments with the biggest payouts. You can find more No Limit (NL) Hold'em tournaments online than in live poker rooms. NL Hold'em tournaments are run in many different ways but there are several basic types. You will come across re-buys, satellites, and regular one time buy-ins. Which do you play and why?

Re-buy Tournaments

Re-buy tournaments can work a few different ways. The initial buy in may be $50.00 with one re-buy allowed. Some re-buys are unlimited, which means that you can re-buy in as many times as you need to for the first hour, with an add-on period during the first break.

Say you enter a $10.00 re-buy at Poker Stars. You pay your initial buy-in at time of registration. After you have gone below your original 1500 chips (say you pay a blind and you now have 1,480 chips) you can re-buy 1,500 more chips for another $10.00. After this buy-in you should have about 3,000 chips and cannot re-buy again unless you lose them all. At the end of the first hour there is a 5 minute break and what they call an add-on period. If you are below a certain amount (I believe it is 10,000 chips) you can add-on 2,000 chips for another $10.00. After the break is over, re-buys and add-ons are not allowed and the payouts are posted in the lobby. At this point if you lose all your chips, you are out of the tournament.

I like re-buys because the pay (for the amount of players entered) is bigger and more spots pay out (with people re-buying left and right there is a ton more cash up for grabs than in 1 time buy-in tournaments). A small warning about re-buys - the first hour is a rat race! People play very loosely and go all-in on almost any 2 cards. As long as they have more money to re-buy in they don't care about losing a few buy-ins. They are just interested in making big pots, and a big stack for themselves early on.

Satellite Tournaments

Satellite tournaments are a very small buy-in to try to win your way into a bigger poker tournament. Different sites run many different satellites to many different events. I know that Poker Stars has satellites to the World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour, and into their weekly $200.00 buy-in No Limit Hold'em tournament. They also run a monthly $500.00 tournament - seats can be won to this event from satellite tournaments as well. I like their $3.00 re-buy satellites. I try to stick with one $3.00 buy-in and an add-on at the break - this way it stays cheap and fun. If I make the cut and win a seat, I can either play the tournament I have won my way into or I can unregister for it, have the tournament dollars put into my account, and use them to buy in to many different, smaller staked tournaments. The pay spots in a satellite work very simply. Say there is a prize pool of $10,000 and the tournament you are trying to win your way into is a $200.00 buy-in. That is 50 players who are going to qualify.

Buy-in Tournaments

One time Buy-in tournaments are just that. You buy in at time of registration. When you lose your chips you are out of the tournament. You must play this type of tournament a lot more tightly than you would a re-buy, seeing as how you only have one life in it. My motto (in any tournament) always is to get past the first hour. During the first hour of one time buy-in tournaments, about half of the playing field is eliminated and your chances of cashing (winning money) are much better.

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