Poker Tournaments

  • Avatar for the CardsChat Editorial TeamWritten by  the CardsChat Editorial Team

Find everything you need to know about the world’s most popular poker tournaments as we continue to build out our guides, covering everything from tournament logistics to overall tournament strategy.

Poker Tournament Strategy

Catch up on the latest poker tournament news as it happens.

How Do Poker Tournaments Work?

In poker tournaments, players must pay a fixed entry fee. This entry fee is exchanged for chips, which the players use throughout the tournament. If a player loses his entire stack, they must leave the tournament, and so on, until only the winner remains.

Though the winner gets the majority of the prize pool, which is typically made up of the combined entry fees, the other top players will receive a portion of the prize. This might be a fixed amount (e.g. 1st place receives $x, 2nd place receives $y, and 3rd place receives $z), or proportional, varying depending on the number of participants. Players can’t cash out during the tournament, so the aim of the game really is to last as long as possible and receive a portion of the prize pool.

Poker tournaments can be multi-table and single-table (also known as Sit & Go’s), however, the way they work remains more or less the same. The difference is that multi-table tournaments are larger and split across multiple tables. As people are eliminated on their table, the remaining players and distributed to other tables, leaving fewer but even tables. This happens until there is one final table left. Multi-table tournaments typically have more participants and therefore bigger prize pools.

Poker Tournament Rules

Let’s keep things simple. The key rules you need to know before entering a poker tournament are:

  • Players must pay a fixed entry fee to participate.
  • Players cannot cash out during a tournament.
  • The blind level increases at set intervals, encouraging players to make moves or risk losing their stack to rising blinds.
  • Any player with no chips remaining is eliminated from the tournament.
  • The last player standing is crowned the winner.
  • The top three players are typically awarded the lion’s share of the prize pool.

See what our community is saying about poker tournaments!

The World’s Biggest Poker Tournaments

The largest poker tournaments pay out millions of dollars to the world’s most talented poker players. Some of the most prestigious series in the US and around the world are listed below.

  1. World Series of Poker (WSOP)
    Most recent prize: $10,000,000
    Won by: Espen Jorstad
  2. Triton Super High Roller Series
    Most recent prize: $7,200,000
    Won by: Daniel Negreanu
  3. Macau High Stakes Challenge
    Most recent prize: $6,465,746
    Won by: Stanley Choi 
  4. World Poker Tour Championship
    Most recent prize: $4,136,000
    Won by: Eliot Hudon 
  5. Super High Roller Bowl
    Most recent prize: $3,312,000
    Won by: Daniel Negreanu


How much does it cost to enter a poker tournament?

Each event has its own buy-in, so the cost to enter a poker tournament will vary from as little as $1 to as much as $10,000 (which is how much it costs to enter the WSOP Main Event).

Where can I find free poker tournaments?

Poker tournaments without buy-ins are known as freerolls. Find out more about freerolls and try your luck at the tables! At CardsChat, we’ve worked hard to secure exclusive freerolls for our members – see what CardsChat freerolls you can take advantage of in your region.

Can you make a living playing poker tournaments?

Yes you can. In fact, you might have already heard of some of the most successful professional poker players, like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey, who earn millions playing in poker tournaments. Of course, to reach this level is no mean feat, and for the average poker player, making a living from it isn’t so realistic.

How do you win poker tournaments?

To win a poker tournament, you need to be the last man or woman left with chips. To be in with the best chance of winning, you’ll want to refine your poker tournament strategy. Read our strategy guides above, or check out this page about how to win online poker.