February 2nd, 2013
Freeze out poker tournaments are the most conventional style of poker tournament and remain the most popular style.
A straight freeze out tournament is one where you pay you buy in for this example $50 + $5, where the $5 is a fee that the online poker rooms charge every player for taking part in the tournament. Every bodies $50 get put into the prize pool. You start with anywhere between 1000 and 2000 chips normally and the industry standard is between 12-15 minutes when the blind level is kept constant.
Blinds increase consistently. Once the tournaments starts no new player can be admitted except for some where late buy-ins are allowed. Once you are eliminated you are gone for good the tournament is played until there is only one player remaining with all of the other players chips. If it is a small tournament then this player will usually gain the whole prize pool but on larger multi table tournaments there can be hundreds of players who get a slice of the prize pool.
A lot of poker rooms nowadays like to run guaranteed prize pool tournaments which basically means if say Betfair Poker announced it was going to have a $50,000 Texas Holdem guaranteed prize pool tournament that has to be the minimum amount that will be given away as prizes. This is of course a marketing technique to attract players, and poker rooms have to get their math right to offer such guarantees.
This guaranteed number can increase if the entrance money to the tournament is higher that the stated prize pool but this number can never decrease. So if the buy in is say $100 and there are only 200 players instead of playing for a prize pool of $20,000 which would be the case in a standard freeze out tournament, you would instead be playing for a prize pool of $50,000.
This means that Betfair Poker would have to put in $30,000 of their own money. These tournaments are becoming very popular so check out the big guaranteed prize pool tournaments from the best poker rooms.
Freeze out tourneys can be played in any poker variation but the most popular variant is no-limit Texas Holdem. There are also some fixed limited Holdem and pot-limit Omaha tournaments, but these are far in between.
By opposition to the standard freeze out tournaments, other forms include rebuy tournaments, satellite tournaments and step tournaments, all popular contests on the felt as well.