Tournaments Game Guide

Prizes at Poker Tournaments


Prizes at Poker Tournaments Poker Tournament Payout Structure

The payout structure of a tournament varies between events, taking into account the number of players and the buy-in amount.

What is a Poker Tournament Payout?

A poker tournament payout is the prize awarded to the top player or players at the end of a poker tournament. Different tournaments have different payout structures and you need to read the terms from the casino or house game that you are playing in order to find out the payout structure for that particular tournament.

Some tournaments award a winner-takes-all prize, however it is more common for a number of the final positions to be awarded with part of the prize pool. In most tournaments (besides for freeroll tournaments), the buy-in fee that players are required to pay in order to enter the tournament, will go directly towards the prize pool. In this way, the total size of the prize pool will be dependant on the size of the buy-in and on the number of players who enter the tournament.

A Typical Tournament Payout Structure

Prizes can be awarded as a fixed amount or as a proportional amount. If it is a fixed amount, the exact amounts to be awarded to each player will be published at the beginning of the tournament.

For proportional-based payout structures, the amount awarded will depend on the number of entrants.

In tournaments with up to five entrants, typically the first player only will be awarded and will receive 100% of the prize pool.

In tournaments with six to eight entrants, typically the top two players will be awarded in proportions of 70% and 30%.

In tournaments with nine to fifteen entrants, typically the top three players will be awarded in proportions of 50%, 30%, 20%.

In tournaments with 16 to 25 entrants, typically the top four players will be awarded prizes in proportions of 50%, 25%, 20%, 10%.

In tournaments with five players being awarded prizes from the pool, the proportions of the prizes will typically be divided as 40%, 25%, 20%, 10%, 5%.

In tournaments with large numbers of players, typically one in ten players will receive some sort of monetary prize. These divisions are generally top heavy with the top three players winning more than the rest of the players combined.

Players can also change the payout structure by making a deal among themselves before the beginning of the tournament. All the players need to agree for this to occur.

Strategy depending on Payout Structure

You may want to alter your tournament strategy depending on the payout structure of the tournament. In other words, if it is a winner-takes-all payout structure, you need to win the tournament in order to come away with anything. On the other hand, if multiple players win, you may be satisfied to simply fall within the top number of players who are paid out, particularly if they are fixed payouts and the top number of players all receive similar prize money amounts. However, at the same time, do not focus too heavily on the type of payout structure a tournament has or you will find it difficult to play the tournament with optimum strategy.

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