Playing in any type of cash prize tournament can be great fun and potentially lucrative if you can end up among the winners, but as we’ve seen before it’s poker tournaments that are arguably the best among them.
If you want to get engaged in poker contests there’s a lot to consider – either as a beginner or even an experienced player.
As a beginner clearly you’ll need to understand poker rules and have a strong understanding of strategy (basic strategy at least but to do well you’ll need to understand more advanced principles too).
But whether beginner or experienced, you’re going to need at some point to choose where to play, and for that you’ll need to be aware of which poker rooms have the best tournaments.
Identifying Rooms With The Best Poker Tournaments
Virtually all of the online poker rooms run tournament schedules (and of course there are plenty of events held at live venues too), so the choice is a wide one.
Determining the best ones to play at calls for consideration of a number of aspects.
Finding the best poker sites for tournaments is definitely more complex than just seeing who has the biggest bonus offers, and very much depends on what type of player you are and where you are in your development of poker skills.
Depending on your experience level, you may be keen to play where the opposition is as soft (and arguably low in numbers) as possible. You might want to aim for the biggest prize pools, play a particular game variant, limit how much it costs to buy-in, or just want to ensure you’re in fair and safe contests.
It may be that you’re restricted in where you can play because of local regulations where you live. Or it may in fact come down to bonuses if it’s a good level bankroll you’re aiming to start with.
In addition you might be focusing on software quality or ease of use, or whether there are events running at sensible times for the time zone you’re in. Maybe it’s a good balance of big cash prize tourneys and smaller prize pool free-rolls that would get your interest.
At high level though, just understanding which poker rooms have the widest number of tournaments is a good place to start. Once you have that starting point, it’ll help pinpoint which of the rooms are likely to meet your own specific needs in an ideal world.
So let’s have a look at a small but select list of 5 poker rooms with a wide range of contests on offer.
Any one of these (or maybe all of them) are going to cover a number of the aspects involved in finding a tournament experience that’s right, simply because that wide range on offer is going to naturally meet many different requirements. The more the merrier, you might say, although there are some benefits in looking for smaller operators too.
Before we start on the list though, I should mention Americas Cardroom. They don’t make this list of 5, but certainly are worth considering because of their high value Venom tournaments.
Bet365 offers full daily and weekly schedules of poker tournaments. It is a popular poker site on the iPoker network, and it offers a pretty good cash game, high tournament volume, and regular promotions. The poker site attracts players from all over the world and offers a good selection of poker games, making it an ideal choice for both new and experienced players.
Bet365 Twister Sit & Go’s
This tournament is a version of the popular jackpot turbo sit & go’s you see at many sites. The key aspect of this three-person tournament is that the prize pool is significantly bigger than your buy-in. Once all three players are seated, a wheel is spun and a random multiplier is applied to your buy-in to determine the tournament prize.
The prize is at least double the buy-in, and it can go much higher.
Poker Premium Steps Sit & Go Tournaments
Premium steps are played at high speed. Three players start with stacks of 500 chips each. Winners move up the ranks, while runners-up remain at the current level and hope to win the next game so they can progress.
You don’t have to win every game to earn prizes at these progressive tournaments. Just keep climbing the ladder toward the finals and the top prize.
Impatient? You can skip a step and buy a spot on a higher rung. But beware – the higher you go, the stiffer the competition.
If you like lots of action and playing as many hands as possible, then you should consider Bet365’s fast-fold poker variant. With these tournaments, every time you fold your hand you’re rushed to a new table to play a new hand immediately.
6+ Hold ’em
Bet365 is one of the few sites where you can play 6+ hold ’em. The game is very similar to Texas hold ’em, but you remove the deuces, treys, fours, and fives from the deck. That leaves a deck of just 36 cards, which means every player is dealt a premium hand more often.
You can play classic poker games and some unique variations at the GGPoker website.
Among the most popular are cash games and multi-table tournaments featuring no-limit Texas hold ’em and pot-limit Omaha. For those seeking more action, there’s always All-In or Fold. The site also offers a game called Rush and Cash, which is its version of fast-fold poker.
Freezeouts and Rebuys
At the beginning of a tournament, players receive an equal amount of chips. In rebuy tournaments, players can replenish their stock of chips when they run out. In freezeouts, once your stake drops to zero you’re out of the game.
At GG’s progressive bounty tournaments, every player has a bounty on their head. When a player is bounced out of the tournament, half of the player’s bounty is awarded to the player who won the hand. The other half is added to that player’s bounty.
These tournaments are qualifying events where players can win seats at main events with a higher buy-in. Currently, you can play satellite tournaments for the GGPoker Main Event and Bounty Hunter tournaments in turbo and normal speeds.
At shootout tournaments, tables are not balanced as players are knocked out. The game continues until there is only one player left at the table. Once each table has a winner, the winners are seated at new tables and a new round begins.
Dusk Till Dawn
Based in Nottingham, Dusk Till Dawn is probably the most famous and well-regarded brick-and-mortar card room in the UK. Opened in 2007, it offers cash games and tournaments with up to 450 players. It is especially well known for its superb selection of low- and high-stakes poker tournaments.
Single-table and multi-table tournaments regularly take place on the 45 tables of this casino. Players can test their skill playing in tournaments that feature no-limit Texas hold ’em, pot-limit Omaha, and dealer’s choice. You can play roulette or try your luck at slot machines between games.
The gambling activities at Dusk Till Dawn are monitored by the Nottingham City Council, and the casino holds a license issued by the UK Gambling Commission. Currently the poker rooms are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Wynn Las Vegas
The poker room at Wynn Las Vegas has 28 tables for cash games and tournaments. Wynn is a special favorite among high rollers, and you can find a wide range of game spreads – from no-limit Texas hold ’em tables with blinds as low as $1 to the Friday Noon tournament, which has a buy-in of more than $500.
Poker games at Wynn Las Vegas include limit Texas hold ’em, no-limit Texas hold ’em, and pot-limit Omaha.
Every summer, the Wynn Resort and Casino organizes the famous Wynn Summer Classic, which is a series of tournaments that attract the biggest names in the professional poker world, players like Chris Moorman, Ryan Van Sanford, and Antoine Saout.
In addition to the Summer Classic, Wynn Las Vegas hosts the Fall Classic, several Signature Weekends each year, and a handful of weekly tournaments with guaranteed big prizes.
PartyPoker is one of the biggest online poker sites, and you can play a wide range of cash games there, including several kinds of Texas hold ’em games, pot-limit Omaha, short deck, fixed-limit seven-card stud, and a fast-fold hold ’em variation called fastforward.
PartyPoker has fast-paced, three-handed sit & go tournaments called Spins. The prizes at these tournaments are randomly determined, so you could make a small buy-in and end up with a prize of $1 million. You can also play a double or nothing variation where half the players leave with a doubled buy-in and the other half leave with nothing.
PartyPoker hosts a substantial number of classic tournaments throughout the week, including Deepstack, Grind, Master, Phased, and High Roller tournaments. There are also bounty tournaments where players earn a cash prize for every player they knock out of the game. Bounty tournaments come in Turbo, Gladiator, and High Roller variations.
Ultimately, there is the Party Poker Million tournament, which awards $1 million in prizes every week. You can qualify for the tournament via satellite tournaments or freeroll tickets.
The Benefits Of Going Small – When To Play With The Smaller Poker Rooms
So there we have our list of 5 poker rooms that run multiple types of tournaments, and we’ve not even mentioned the big names of Pokerstars and 888Poker. Clearly you’ll find a great range of tourneys as well at either of those two.
But what about the benefits of trying out the smaller operators. They might still meet a number of specific requirements and have other plus points too.
In the smaller poker rooms there’s a chance you’ll encounter lesser skilled players naturally because opponents are coming from a smaller community, and some may even have a higher than usual number of bad players which will increase your prospects further still.
Those smaller sites may put up better sign up offers or loyalty promotions because they need to compete with the big boys for player numbers.
If you compare actually playing in tourneys between the bigger and smaller sites, you could take the likely time spent playing into account – at smaller sites with less players there’s not the likelihood you could be tied up in a contest for up to 10 hours, for example.
Some examples of the lesser known sites you’ll want to be aware of include Americas Card Room and Tiger Gaming.
On the negative side there are possible drawbacks you won’t get with the more well known names.
Banking – and especially withdrawals – might be a problem (although unlikely) and there’s a potential risk of not getting a game at the time you want it. Equally you might hit the situation you’re trying hard to avoid, and that’s the possibility that some very strong players may be in the opposition.
While there are some big benefits to playing your tourneys at the larger sites with the widest range of games, there are a few good ones why you could go the opposite way and play at smaller sites. That said, probably the bigger operators would edge it.
The reality is it might be prudent to aim for somewhere in the middle, and have accounts at multiple poker rooms. Spreading your bankroll like this might lessen the risks if anything goes wrong with one of the operators for example, or maybe if you inadvertently fall foul of a rule that gets you banned.
There might be times when you’re having problems or doing well in the contests at one site and not another, and need to switch parts of your bankrolls around but this shouldn’t be a big problem. And remember you don’t need to put all your intended cash for poker games into an account anyway, it’s the same cash whether it’s in your own bank account or a poker account.
Either way you decide, there are plenty of options and you have great chances of finding a solution which will work best in your specific circumstances.
Enjoy the tournaments!