A poker tournament is a tournament where players compete by playing poker. It can feature as few as two players playing on a single table, as many as tens of thousands of players playing on thousands of tables; the winner of the tournament is the person who wins every poker chip in the game and the others are awarded places based on the time of their elimination. To facilitate this, in most tournaments, blinds rise over the duration of the tournament. Unlike in a ring game, a player's chips in a tournament cannot be cashed out for money and serve only to determine the player's placing. To enter a typical tournament, a player pays a fixed buy-in and at the start of play is given a certain quantity of tournament poker chips. Commercial venues may charge a separate fee, or withhold a small portion of the buy-in, as the cost of running the event. Tournament chips have only notional value; the amount of each entrant's starting tournament chips is an integer multiple of the buy-in. Some tournaments offer the option of a buy-back.
In some cases, re-buys are conditional but in others they are available to all players. When a player has no chips remaining he or she is eliminated from the tournament. In most tournaments, the number of players at each table is kept by moving players, either by switching one player or taking an entire table out of play and distributing its players amongst the remaining tables. A few tournaments, called shoot-outs, do not do this; the prizes for winning are derived from the buy-ins, though outside funds may be entered as well. For example, some invitational tournaments do not have buy-ins and fund their prize pools with sponsorship revenue and/or gate receipts from spectators. Tournaments without a buy-in are referred to as freerolls. A freeroll tournament is free to enter and the player is given one chance in the tournament. A variation on a freeroll tournament is called a "freebuy". In a freebuy event, a player can enter with a free entry, but if the player loses their chips during the registration period they are able to buy themselves back into the event.
Play continues, in most tournaments, until all but one player is eliminated, though in some tournament situations informal ones, players have the option of ending by consensus. Players are ranked in reverse chronological order — the last person in the game earns 1st place, the second-to-last earns 2nd, so on; this ranking of players by elimination is unique amongst games, precludes the possibility of a tie for first place, since one player alone must have all the chips to end the tournament. Sometimes tournaments end by mutual consensus of the remaining players. For example, in a ten-person, $5 game, there may be two players remaining with $29 and $21 worth of chips. Rather than risk losing their winnings, as one of them would if the game were continued, these two players may be allowed to split the prize proportional to their in-game currency. Certain tournaments, known as bounty tournaments, place a bounty on all of the players. If a player knocks an opponent out, the player earns the opponent's bounty.
Individual bounties or total bounties collected by the end of a tournament may be used to award prizes. Bounties work in combination with a regular prize pool, where a small portion of each player's buy-in goes towards his or her bounty. Other tournaments allow players to exchange some or all of their chips in the middle of a tournament for prize money, giving the chips cash value. Separate portions of each player's buy-in go towards a "cash out" pool; the cash out rate is fixed, a time when players may not cash out is established. The remaining cash out pool is either paid out to the remaining field or added to the regular prize pool. Prizes are awarded to the winning players in one of two ways: Fixed: Each placing corresponds to a certain payoff. For example, a ten-person, $20 buy-in tournament might award $100 to the first-place player, $60 for second-place, $40 for third, nothing for lower places. Proportional: Payouts are determined according to a percentage-based scale; the percentages are determined based upon the number of participants and will increase payout positions as participation increases.
As a rule one player in ten will'cash', or make a high enough place to earn money. These scales are top-heavy, with the top three players winning more than the rest of the paid players combined. Tournaments can be invitational; the World Series of Poker, whose Main Event is considered the most prestigious of all poker tournaments, is open. Multi-table tournaments involve many players playing at dozens or hundreds of tables. Satellite tournaments to high-profile, expensive poker tournaments are the means of entering a major event without posti
World Series of Poker
The World Series of Poker is a series of poker tournaments held annually in Las Vegas and, since 2004, sponsored by Caesars Entertainment Corporation. It dates its origins to 1970, when Benny Binion invited seven of the best-known poker players to the Horseshoe Casino for a single tournament, with a set start and stop time, a winner determined by a secret ballot of the seven players; as of 2017, the WSOP consists of 74 events. However, in recent years, over half of the events have been variants of Texas hold'em. Events traditionally take place during one day or over several consecutive days during the series in June and July. However, starting in 2008, the Main Event final table was delayed until November; the 2012 and 2016 Main Event final tables commenced in October because of the United States presidential election. As of May 2017, the World Series of Poker has done away with the November Nine concept and instead gone back to the old format of crowning the Main Event winner in July; the idea of a World Series of Poker began in 1969 with an event called the Texas Gambling Reunion.
It was an invitational event sponsored by Tom Moore of San Antonio and held at the Holiday Hotel and Casino in Reno. This inaugural event was won by Crandell Addington; the set of tournaments that the World Series of Poker would evolve into was the brainchild of Las Vegas casino owner and poker player Benny Binion. In 1970, the first WSOP at Binion's Horseshoe took place as a series of cash games that included five-card stud, deuce to seven low-ball draw, seven-card stud, Texas hold'em; the format for the Main Event as a freeze-out Texas hold'em game came the next year. The winner in 1970, Johnny Moss, was elected by his peers as the first "World Champion of Poker" and received a silver cup as a prize. In 2004, Harrah's Entertainment purchased Binion's Horseshoe, retained the rights to the Horseshoe and World Series of Poker brands, sold the hotel and casino to MTR Gaming Group, announced that the 2005 Series events would be held at the Harrah's-owned Rio Hotel and Casino, located just off the Las Vegas Strip.
The final two days of the main event in 2005 were held downtown at what is now the MTR-operated "Binion's" in celebration of the centennial of the founding of Las Vegas. The WSOP added a made-for-television $2 million "freeroll" invitational Tournament of Champions event first won by Annie Duke as a "winner-take-all" event; the winner of each event receives a World Series of Poker bracelet and a monetary prize based on the number of entrants and buy-in amounts. Over the years, the tournament has grown in both the number of events and in the number of participants; each year, the WSOP culminates with the $10,000 no-limit hold'em "Main Event," which, since 2004, has attracted entrants numbering in the thousands. The victor receives a multi-million dollar cash prize and a bracelet, which has become the most coveted award a poker player can win; the winner of the World Series of Poker Main Event is considered to be the World Champion of Poker. Since 1971, all WSOP events have been tournaments with cash prizes.
In 1973, a five-card stud event was added. Since new events have been added and removed. Since 1976, a bracelet has been awarded to the winner of every event at the annual WSOP; the tournament grew for over a decade, reaching 52 participants in 1982. In the early 1980s, satellite tournaments were introduced, allowing people to win their way into the various events. By 1987, there were over 2,100 entrants in the entire series. At the 2006 World Series of Poker, there were 45 events. Participation in the Main Event peaked that year, with 8,773 players; the number of participants in the WSOP grew every year from 2000 until 2006. Following 2006, new online gambling legislation restricted the number of online qualifiers to the event. 2007 was the first dip in numbers in the 21st century while in 2008 more people participated than the previous year. In 2000, there were 4,780 entrants in the various events, but in 2005, the number rose to over 23,000 players. In the main event alone, the number of participants grew from 839 in 2003 to 8,773 in 2006, has hovered between 6,300 and 7,200 entrants in the eleven years since.
Phil Hellmuth has won the most bracelets with 15 followed by Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Phil Ivey with ten bracelets each. Crandell Addington is the only player to place in the top ten of the World Series of Poker Main Event eight times, albeit in earlier years with small fields compared to modern times. Four players have won the Main Event multiple times: Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar and Johnny Chan. Bracelet winners who first achieved fame in other fields include French actor/singer Patrick Bruel, Danish soccer player Jan Vang Sørensen, American actress Jennifer Tilly, American musician/record producer Steve Albini. In recent years, there have been non-bracelet events at the WSOP. Texas hold'em, Omaha hold'em and Seven-card stud and their lowball variants are played. H. O. R. S. E. has been played in the past and returned in 2006. S. H. O. E. has been played in the past, returned in 2007. Other events played in the past include Chinese poker, Five card stud, many others. Like most tournaments, the sponsoring casino takes an entry fee and distributes the rest, hence the prize money
Phillip Jerome Hellmuth Jr. is an American professional poker player who has won a record fifteen World Series of Poker bracelets. He is the winner of the Main Event of the 1989 World Series of Poker and the Main Event of the 2012 World Series of Poker Europe, he is a 2007 inductee of the WSOP's Poker Hall of Fame. Hellmuth is known for his temperamental "poker brat" personality. Hellmuth was born in Madison and attended Madison West High School, his adolescence was troublesome, issues with grades and friends were tough on Phil, who said he was at that time the "ugly duckling" of his family. He moved on to the University of Wisconsin–Madison for three years, where he dropped out to become a full-time poker player. Since 1992, he has lived in Palo Alto, California with his wife, Katherine Sanborn, a psychiatrist at Stanford University, their two sons, Phillip III and Nicholas; as of 2019, his total live tournament winnings exceed $22,850,000. He is ranked 17th on the all-time money list. Hellmuth is known for taking his seat at poker tournaments long after they begin.
In the 1988 World Series of Poker, Hellmuth had his first in the money finish at the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Split, the 6th event. In the 1988 WSOP he came 33rd after being eliminated by eventual champion Johnny Chan. In 1989, the 24-year-old Hellmuth became the youngest player to win the Main Event of the WSOP by defeating the two-time defending champion Johnny Chan in heads up play. Hellmuth holds the records for most WSOP cashes and most WSOP final tables, overtaking T. J. Cloutier; as of August 2017, Hellmuth has won over $14,000,000 at the WSOP and ranks fifth on the WSOP All Time Money List, behind Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Colman, Daniel Negreanu, Jonathan Duhamel. Hellmuth is tied for fifth all time in number of times cashed in the WSOP Main Event, he has eight Main Event cashes, placing him behind Berry Johnston, Humberto Brenes, Doyle Brunson, Bobby Baldwin. Thirteen of Hellmuth's fifteen bracelets have been in Texas hold'em, though he has had quite a bit of success in non-hold'em events.
As of the start of the 2015 World Series, 22 of his 52 final tables are for a variety of games, including 2-7 Lowball, Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo, Seven Card Razz, Omaha hold'em, as well as mixed games like H. O. R. S. E and the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship. Of those 22 events, Hellmuth has finished runner-up six times. At the 1993 World Series of Poker, Hellmuth became the second player in WSOP history to win three bracelets in one WSOP. Hellmuth's three victories came in three consecutive days. At the 1997 World Series of Poker, Hellmuth won his 5th bracelet of the decade. At the conclusion of the 1999 World Series of Poker, his five bracelets would stand to lead the decade for most WSOP bracelets won by one player in the 1990s. At the 2006 World Series of Poker, Hellmuth captured his 10th World Series of Poker bracelet in the $1,000 No Limit Hold'em with rebuys event. At the time, it tied him with Johnny Chan for most bracelets. At the 2007 World Series of Poker, Hellmuth won his record-breaking 11th bracelet in the $1,500 No Limit Hold'em Event.
Hellmuth's sponsor arranged. Hellmuth lost control of the car in the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino parking lot and hit a light fixture, he gave up the car for a limo. At the 2008 WSOP Main Event, Hellmuth verbally abused another player and received a one-round penalty. After a private meeting with WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack the penalty was overruled and Hellmuth finished the tournament in 45th place. In the 2011 World Series of Poker, Phil finished second in three tournaments, in the 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship, the Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better Championship, The Poker Player's Championship eight-game mix. On June 11, 2012, Hellmuth won his 12th World Series of Poker bracelet in the $2,500 Seven-Card Razz event, defeating Don Zewin and earning $182,793. Zewin had finished third to Chan and Hellmuth when Hellmuth won his first bracelet in 1989; this is the first bracelet Hellmuth has won in a non-hold'em event, made him the first player to win at least one bracelet in each of the last four decades, only the third player in WSOP history to win a bracelet in four different decades.
Hellmuth collected $2,645,333 for his fourth-place finish in the $1,000,000 buy-in "Big One for One Drop" tournament, by far the largest single tournament cash of his career. On October 4, 2012, Hellmuth won his 13th World Series of Poker bracelet in the €10,450 WSOPE No Limit Hold'em Main Event, earning €1,022,376 and becoming the first player to win both the WSOP and WSOPE Main Events; this win made Hellmuth the first player in WSOP history to win multiple bracelets in three different years. He
Men "The Master" Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American professional poker player. In 1967, he became a bus driver to help support his family. In early 1978, a staunch anti-Communist, he escaped from the Communist regime of Vietnam by boat and sailed with 87 compatriots to Pulau Besar in Malaysia. In 1978, he settled in Los Angeles, California. In 1986, he became an American citizen. In 1984 he played poker for the first time in his life, he continued to go every weekend and lose hundreds of dollars, earning him the nickname "Money Machine". However, he mastered the game, winning his first tournament in 1987. With his poker earnings, he opened a dry cleaning business and furniture store, but sold them in 1990 because they took too much of his time and didn't make enough money. Through these businesses he would, however and work with many Vietnamese people who would fall under his tutelage. Nguyen met Van, in Vietnam, he brought her to the United States, where they settled in Bell Gardens, California. Men and Van have three children.
Van Nguyen learned poker from her husband. She won the World Poker Tour Celebrity Invitational in March 2008, becoming the first woman to win a WPT mixed event. Nguyen has over 475 finishes in the money, has won more than 95 tournaments. Nguyen is known for tutoring players, many of whom go on to be successful in their own right, including his cousins David Pham, Minh Nguyen, his wife Van Nguyen. Men receives a portion of some of his students' winnings. In 1991 one of his students gave him the nickname "The Master," and now he is known as "Men the Master." He donates a portion of the money he earns through tournaments and tutoring to charities in Vietnam, in 1996, with the earnings from his final-table finish in the World Series of Poker, built a kindergarten in Vietnam. Nguyen won the Card Player Magazine Player of the Year award in 1997, 2001, 2003 and 2005 and is regarded as one of the most accomplished tournament players in the world. While allegations have been made regarding Nguyen's possible involvement with tournament cheating, nothing has been proven and Nguyen has denied any such actions.
As of 2018, his total live tournament winnings exceed $10,500,000. His cashes at the WSOP account for over $3,200,000 of those winnings
Chau Tu Giang is a Vietnamese-born American professional poker player of Chinese descent, a three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and a three-time final tablist of the World Poker Tour with over $3 million in live tournament winnings alone. Giang fled Vietnam in a small boat in the late 1970s and arrived in Denver, working minimum wage jobs, it was that he began to learn poker. He moved to Florida, his poker success led him to move to Las Vegas, where he made more than $100,000 in his first year as a professional player. He first had success at the World Series of Poker in 1993, where he finished 2nd in the $1,500 Pot Limit Hold'em event to John Bonetti, winning his first bracelet in the $1,500 Ace to Five Draw event the same year, he first cashed in the WSOP Main Event in 1996. He won a second bracelet in the $2,000 Omaha 8 or Better event in 1998, a third bracelet in the $2,000 Pot Limit Omaha event in 2004, finishing ahead of Robert Williamson III, Dave Colclough and Chris Ferguson.
Giang used to play online at Full Tilt Poker under the user name "La Key U" and was signed as a Pro in January 2009. He earned 2.1 million playing online in 2008. As of 2009, his total live tournament winnings exceed $3,500,000, his 51 cashes as the WSOP account for $1,767,062 of those winnings. He is in 8th for most all time cashes at the WSOP. Giang avoided playing tournaments other than the WSOP for many years, as he preferred to concentrate on his cash game play, where he plays $4,000/$8,000 limit regularly. Giang is a regular in "The Big Game" in Las Vegas, alongside his next-door neighbor Doyle Brunson, he returned to tournaments. His first World Poker Tour cash was 9th place in the first WPT Championship, he would cash in the second WPT Championship. However, his largest tournament prize to date was 2nd place in the 2005 $10,000 World Poker Open, which earned him $773,448. Giang has stated that poker is not a game of chance. In a 1994 interview, he said, "At the table I hear people say, ‘Poker is luck.’ That is 100 percent wrong.
If they are losing, it is. Poker is skill, it isn't luck. In the long run, day after day after day, you cannot get lucky all the time." In the book Deal Me In, Giang said "Poker is a game of skill with an element of luck, not a game of luck with an element of skill." He discusses how he lost a game of luck. He says nowadays he gets a physical revulsion when he goes near a game of craps, or any game of dice, he believes. Giang has three children. World Poker Tour profile Chau MySpace page
Ted Forrest is an American professional poker player residing in Las Vegas, Nevada. Forrest won three bracelets at the 1993 World Series of Poker. After the mid-1990s, Forrest turned his attention full-time to cash games, he made a triumphant return to the WSOP by winning 2 bracelets at the 2004 World Series of Poker. Since he has moved his focus from seven card stud to hold'em with some success, including reaching 5 final tables on the World Poker Tour and winning a championship on the Professional Poker Tour. Forrest competed in the second season of Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament, where he advanced to the quarter-final stage, he did not fare as well in season three. He played in the first two seasons of the GSN series High Stakes Poker. In March 2006, Forrest won the annual National Heads-Up Poker Championship, defeating Erik Seidel, Chad Brown, Ernie Dureck, Sam Farha, Shahram Sheikhan and Chris Ferguson to win the $500,000 first prize. Continuing with his history of tournament success, in March 2007 Ted won the Bay 101 Shooting Stars Tournament, outlasting J. J. Liu in the longest heads up duel in World Poker Tour history.
For the victory, Forrest collected the first prize of $1,100,000. In June 2014 Ted defeated notable poker player Phil Hellmuth in the final table of the WSOP Razz event, bringing his total number of WSOP bracelets to 6; as of August 7, 2015, his total live tournament winnings exceed $6,200,000. His 31 cashes as the WSOP account for $1,922,990 of those winnings. Forrest's no-limit Texas hold'em strategy vastly differs from that of many other established pros who believe that pre-flop one should always raise or fold, Forrest has stated and demonstrated in his play, that limping, or calling a raise, is not a bad play and should be employed. Forrest is well known as a competitive high-stakes gambler, he has been a key part of a consortium of poker players who pooled their money together to play Texas billionaire Andy Beal in a series of high limit, heads-up, Texas hold'em games, with limits ranging anywhere from $20,000/$40,000 to $100,000/$200,000. Forrest's first three bracelets were stolen, he gave one of the remaining two to his daughter.
Ted owns one WSOP championship bracelet that belonged to Hamid Dastmalchi, which he purchased from Dastmalchi after the 1992 World Series of Poker world champion complained that the bracelet wasn't worth what the Binion family claimed. Hamid told him, “They say it’s worth $5,000, but I’d take $1,500 for it” to which Forrest replied "Sold" and tossed him three $500 chips. In September 2016, Forrest was charged in the Las Vegas Justice Court with two felonies: drawing and passing a check without sufficient funds with the intent to defraud, theft
Lyle Arnold Berman is a professional poker player and business executive. Berman grew up in Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota where he was graduated in 1964 with a degree in business administration, he went to work for his father's leather business, Berman Buckskin. When the business was sold to W. R. Grace in 1979, he stayed on as president and CEO; the company was later sold to the Melville Corporation where it became Wilsons Leather. From 1994 to 2000 he was the chairman and CEO of the Rainforest Cafe chain of restaurants and retail stores. Berman played an important role in gaming companies. In 1990 he was a co-founder of Grand Casinos, a company that sought to create gambling establishments outside of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Grand Casinos' Native American casino holdings were spun off into a new company, Lakes Entertainment, Berman was named CEO. Additionally, Berman is the chairman of the board of the World Poker Pokertek, he won the B'nai B'rith Great American Traditions award in 1995 and the Gaming Executive of the Year award in 1996.
Berman was one of the many investors victimized by the massive Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff, though his actual losses are unknown. Berman is a member of the Poker Hall of Fame. In 2005, Lyle Berman competed in the National Heads Up Championship, he finished in fifth place losing to eventual champion Phil Hellmuth Jr. in the quarterfinals. Although he prefers high-stakes cash games, he has as of 2009 won over $2,500,000 in live poker tournaments, his 16 cashes at the WSOP account for $1,446,317 of those winnings. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002. According to the James McManus book Positively Fifth Street, Berman has bankrolled T. J. Cloutier in numerous poker tournaments, including the 2000 WSOP main event, where he finished 2nd; the book All-In is about Berman's life. Berman resides in Plymouth and has 4 children. Berman co-authored I'm All In: Lyle Berman and the Birth of the World Poker Tour with Marvin Karlins; the autobiography details Berman's life from his childhood to his life as an adult, covering his business ventures, his opinions on poker and Las Vegas, his experiences with designing and developing the World Poker Tour into what it is today.
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