With the advent of the Internet and the ability to watch competitions on television, poker tournaments have become more and more popular with the American people. Competitive card matches are one of the top ten most-watched sports programs on television. One of the most popular apps available on smartphones and tablets in 2014 allowed users to play Vegas-style card games against other players. So, here is a brief rundown of its basic aspects and history.
Poker tournaments have been going on since the game was founded in New Orleans in 1829. However, it did not reach the structured format seen today until the first World Series was held in Las Vegas in 1970. The next big step was achieved with the advent of online gambling, which allowed users from all across the world to play one another. Playing over the computer also allowed gamblers to play more frequently than ever before. In 2003, Chris Moneymaker revolutionized the world of poker when he won the World Series after qualifying through an online tournament. The publicity that Moneymaker received, along with his $1,000,000 grand prize, helped spread knowledge about the competitions throughout the world. Today there are multiple events held in casinos everywhere in the world. The two biggest competitions are still the World Series and the World Tour.
When entering into organized competitions, many card players have specific formats that they prefer. The freeze-out format, where a competitor is eliminated when they lose all of their chips, is the most common. As players are eliminated from their initial table, the tables are slowly consolidated. The end result is a single table, and finally a winner. A re-buy format allows competitors who are eliminated early on to purchase a second chance at play. The third most common format is known as the shootout. In this scenario, every table plays until there is only a single person left. The remaining members from each table then play each other at the final table. During these different formats, the two most common variants of play seen are stud and Texas-hold-em.
Another important aspect of poker tournaments is the betting structure. This dictates how much players can bet on each hand. In “fixed limit,” competitors can only bet a certain amount, which increases as the game goes on. In “pot or spread limit,” players have a minimum and maximum that they can bet. In “no limit,” players can bet as little or as much as they want. The betting structure greatly affects the style in which players approach the competition.