Poker: Tournament time

Well, the annual World Championship of Online Poker is just getting started, and the opportunity is upon you to put all you’ve learned to the test in one of the ultimate settings for poker experts, amateurs and newcomers throughout the world. The setup is similar to the supremely popular World Series of Poker conducted yearly in Las Vegas.

Here’s the lowdown for those interested in competing or just seeing what it’s all about. The buy-in for each tournament (there’s almost 50) runs from $100 to more than $10K, so there’s a level for everyone and every budget (pretty much).

The online poker tournaments, which run now through Sept. 20, are just crazy. And with a guaranteed total of $10M in prize money to be had, you can bet you’re entering the shark tank of online poker tournaments. It’s so popular because of the prize money, which has topped $100M including this year’s prizes. Also similar to the WSOP casino tournament is the awarding of a bracelet to the winning player. They come for the money and stay for the prestige, right?

When you hear people talk about these tournaments bringing together players from all over the world, it’s no exaggeration. We’re talking hopefuls from dozens of countries trying their hand and skill at some Hold ‘Em competition. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. So far in the tournament’s history, the United States holds a commanding prize lead with about $59.5M won. In a distant, distant second is Sweden with almost $6.8M. With the prizes so lucrative, you can bet this will continue in years to come to attract the interest of more foreign players, so America could be looking over it’s shoulder before we know it. You’ll even see players from countries you wouldn’t expect to see, such as Iran and Trinidad and Tobago, proving poker knows no geographical or political boundaries.

With such a huge pool of prize money, and such a large number of entrants, the best thing to do in these types of tournaments is to use a poker calculator and take the slow approach early – let others fight it out with some all-ins that jump the gun. Take a small chance here or there, don’t let yourself get bullied to the point where you’re just watching your blinds go away, but staying in the game to position yourself for the middle and later rounds should be your main focus.

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