Editors’ Picks – Best Tournament Poker Sites
Since the WSOP hit the big time in the mid-2000s, poker players have been drawn to poker tournaments like bored housewives to reality TV.
The invention of online poker made poker tournaments even more accessible as you could play massive events with real-money prizes without waiting in lines or even leaving your own home.
The biggest poker tournaments now exist online with regular tournaments that draw tens of thousands of players every week. Single table Sit & Go tournaments also exploded online and are available 24/7 every day of the year.
Not all online poker sites are created equal when it comes to online tournaments so if you’re a huge online tournament lover you’ll want to pick the best site to hone your craft.
When it comes to tournaments you’ll likely want to focus on at least three different attributes: volume, variety and rewards. If you play a ton of tournaments you’re going to want to want a huge player base so that a tournament is always starting.
Variety is also important if you like to play tournaments in games outside of standard No-Limit Hold’em freezeout events. Some sites give you plenty of options with bounty, shootout and even fast-fold tournaments.
Below is a collection of the best tournament poker sites online. Check our list of exclusive PokerListings freerolls here.
About Poker Tournaments
Poker has become a world wide phenomenon in recent years and everyone seems to play the game - whether it's five-card draw poker for pennies or No-Limit Hold'em for bracelets.
A great deal of today's poker fans became interested in the game thanks to the thrilling nature of tournaments. When TV networks started broadcasting popular poker tournaments like the WSOP they started receiving millions of viewers.
The allure of paying a small buy-in to potentially win thousands of dollars is hard to resist.
Tournaments are a far cry from cash games where you have to play high stakes to win big money. Anyone who plays high stakes cash games is going to need a considerable bankroll.
The variance in cash games is huge and players who want to avoid that stress can play numerous smaller stakes tournaments.
If you don’t want to risk a fortune, poker tournaments are a great starting point.
It’s possible to even win a small satellite tournament online and go on to win the World Series of Poker Main Event – just ask Chris Moneymaker who won the WSOP Main Event for $2.5m after qualifying in a $39 satellite.
Above, our editors have listed the best online poker tournament sites. These top poker rooms offer a wide range of multi-table and sit-and-go tournaments.
Below is a guide to some of the most popular types of tournaments you’ll find online.
Multi-Table Tournaments (MTTs)
Multi-table tournaments are the standard in online poker.
As with all tournaments, you pay a buy-in fee and you get a stack of chips.
When those chips are gone you are out of the tournament (unless of course it's a rebuy tournament, in which case you can buy another stack of chips if you bust within a certain time period from the beginning).
MTTs, as you might assume, take place over multiple tables with a specified number of players per table and have a designated starting time.
When players start to bust out from the tournament and the number of players at a table becomes uneven to the rest of the field, that table is "broken" and players are randomly distributed to other tables with empty seats.
It's hard to win MTTs but when you do it's usually a big score.
Sit & Go's (SNGs)
Sit & Go's were pioneered online and are still incredibly popular.
A Sit & Go is usually only one or two tables and begins as soon as every seat is filled. Most poker sites have Sit & Go's starting every couple minutes or even seconds.
Payouts typically go to the top three players, depending on the number of tables.
On some of the bigger poker sites online, sit-and-gos start up so quickly it's almost difficult to select and open seat in time.
Sit & Go's are an excellent format for new poker players as they get to experience tournament poker without having to compete with hundreds of other players.
Shootouts are a combination of MTTs and Sit & Go's. The overall tournament will have a huge field, but you will only play at one table at a time until there is just one person left at each table.
The winner of each table will move on to the next round and the action will repeat until there is a winner.
The number of rounds depends on the field size but if you just keep winning each Sit & Go-style table, you’ll win the tournament.
Online poker already moves faster than live poker, but if you really want to crank up the action you might want to try a turbo tournament.
Turbo tournaments are just standard MTT or Sit & Go's where the blind levels increase quickly, making fast play and quick decisions a necessity.
If you only have a limited amount of time than turbo tournaments are a fantastic way to get a ton of action in a short time span.
Bounty tournaments are simply MTTs where there is a prize for knocking out a player.
Sometimes there are bounties placed on certain players, like celebrities and poker pros while in other tournaments you get a bounty every time you bust a player.
There's a certain strategy to bounty tournaments and some players love them.
Satellite tournaments are just tournaments where the prize you're playing for is the buy-in to another bigger prize pool poker tournament.
Chris Moneymaker won his $10,000 seat into the 2003 WSOP Main Event through a $40 satellite, for example.
In some satellites you're not just qualifying for a poker tournament but an all-expenses paid vacation to an exotic location AND a poker tournament.
Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments
Almost every online poker site has a massive weekly poker tournament with a huge guaranteed prize pool. These tournaments are incredibly popular because players know they are getting a huge prize pool.
Perhaps the most famous is the PokerStars Sunday Million, which originally offered a guaranteed prize pool of over $1 million but is now considerably bigger because of the amount of players willing to put up the $200 buy-in.
If you’re willing to pay a fairly large buy-in, you could potentially win hundreds of thousands in these events.
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