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Tournament Structure



In this section you will learn how to host your own poker tournament.
At work, your local garage poker club or amongs friends.

These are the most basic informatiom you need to host a tournament.

There are several different structures that may be used for poker tournaments. Most of the tournaments that you see on television, such as the WSOP, EPT or WPT, use a freeze-out structure - you receive 10,000 in chips and are eliminated from the tournament as soon as you lose all your chips. You cannot rebuy or add-on more chips, once you lose your chips, you're gone! This type of structure is fine for professionals but may be a bit too harsh for a friendly home poker tournament.


You are eliminated from the tournament when you lose all your chips. You cannot rebuy.


You can buy more chips when you go broke or when you are close to going broke. Some tournaments allow only one rebuy while some tournaments allow multiple rebuys. The rebuy period only lasts for the first several blinds levels.


Each table plays down to one winner. All the table winners are seated at the final table.

Free Roll

A tournament that costs nothing to enter. There is no buyin fee.
Guaranteed Payout

A tournament with a guaranteed minimum payout.

Mixed (HORSE, HOSE, etc.)

A tournament where different variations of poker are played. Hold'em is played for the first blinds level, then Omaha is played for the next blinds level, then Stud is played for the next blinds level, etc..


A tournament where all matches are one-vs-one. There is a playoff bracket system where the winners keep advancing until there is one final winner.


A tournament that will win you a seat at a higher buyin tournament.


Add-ons are a good way to increase the size of the purse (the money to be won) and help to even out the playing field. Purchasing an add-on allows a player to buy an additional amount of chips to add to their existing stack of chips. For instance, a player that is below 500 chips may be allowed to add-on an additional 500 chips.

Payout structure

The payout structure will have an effect on your game. If you only pay out the winner, players will try to win at all costs. If you pay out the top 5 finishers, the players will still try to win, but might also settle for third or fourth place. They might play a certain style until they get to the final five players and then totally change their strategy. Make sure you have an established rule for dealing with players who tie for a money position.


Buy in: From $10 to $100
Level lenght: 20 min
Lenght: 3-4 hours
Starting chips: 1000


Buy in: From $10 to $100
Level lenght: 30 min
Lenght: 5-6 hours
Starting chips: 1500