Tournament poker has always been one of the most popular ways of playing, with the
renowned World Series of Poker has taken place since 1970. The internet poker boom brought the game to mass audiences and introduced the concept of free-roll tournaments with prizes being entries to major events.
Tournament poker allows players to enter for low stakes, but have a chance of winning a large return on the cost of playing. This is because they usually involve a high number of players which can span numerous tables. Over the course of a tournament, the number is whittled down until only one player is left. With the recent rise of mobile as the number one gaming platform, poker has also transitioned to the smaller device. This has brought about a number of new tournament formats and ways of playing.
Is There Such Thing as a Classic Poker Tournament?
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When the WSOP first started 49 years ago, it was a lot different from how it is now. At that time, the seven players involved competed across a range of variants including five-card stud, razz, seven-card stud, and Texas Hold’em. In the inaugural competition, the Grand Old Man of Poker, Johnny Moss, was voted the winner by the other players. Since 1972, the competition has been a no-limit knockout Hold’em tournament with the last player standing taking down the jackpot. Texas Hold’em is regarded as the standard way of playing nowadays, as it is arguably the easiest variant to get the hang of.
The WSOP is considered to be the classic poker tournament and the one that every
professional player dreams of winning. With it taking place over a number of days with entrants now into their thousands, everyone involved has a fair shot at the major prize. To begin with, amateurs and experts alike are randomly distributed across the bustling poker room in Las Vegas. As losers are knocked out, there is a regular shuffle and other players are moved to different tables until only the final table remains.
The WSOP has made a number of players over the years, who had been previously unknown until they went on to take down the ultimate prize. Chris Moneymaker is the most famous example of a poker amateur who went all the way, and the man who qualified through an online satellite to walk away with $2.5 million in 2003 is credited with sparking the poker boom.
More recently, the 2017 champion Scott Blumstein was a complete unknown until he bested 7,221 other players to bag a staggering $8.15 million. While a lot of televised poker events such as Late Night Poker and Poker After Dark normally take place in a high-stakes cash game format, tournament poker is considered to be the best way to determine who the greatest players in the world are. Aside from the WSOP, other massive events on the annual poker calendar include the World Poker Tour and the European Poker Tour.
The Rise of Mobile Tournaments – Why Did Poker Go Mobile?
Tournament poker existed before the internet age, but it was online poker rooms which helped it gain worldwide notoriety. Signing up to the WSOP had usually only been reserved for the best in the business, as the buy-in to the event was considered too high for most amateurs. The internet changed this, though, and made people realize that there were other ways to qualify. Because of the fierce competition between operators, there have always been great promotions to take advantage of those playing online.
As noted above, Moneymaker earned his seat at the paramount competition after winning a special tournament online. A lot of online poker sites run offers like this, and hundreds of players take part each year thanks to these promotions. American is the most famous case because he made it all the way to the end and inspired others to do the same.
Tournament play online has also enabled players to enter competitions for low stakes with an opportunity to win much higher amounts. This usually occurs when there are over 100 players competing, and their accumulated buy-ins have added up to a significant prize pool. Online poker was thriving before the smartphone era, but it has grown even more through the mobile platform.
It made sense that poker would always move to mobile after conquering the internet, as this was the next natural step in its progression and evolution. The mobile gaming market is booming and is expected to exceed $180 billion in revenue in 2021. Poker apps and games are among the most popular titles to play from portable devices. Playing poker from a mobile allows players to walk around while playing, and can eliminate some of the boredom between hands.
Mobile Poker Seems to Offer the Most Variety
Since poker moved to mobile, there have been some changes to the traditional game. The mobile games market has a heavy focus on titles which are easy to pick up and put down at a moment’s notice. This is because mobile gamers tend to play in short bursts between doing other things. For these types of players, a traditional tournament which can sometimes take hours is simply not feasible. This has led developers to come up with new ideas and ways to play which suit the fast-paced mobile market.
One of the best examples of this shift towards a different style of poker is Snap poker. This form of Texas Hold’em tournament is a high-octane way of playing in which as soon as a player folds, they are dealt into a new hand against different players. The tables are constantly shifting, and players need to quickly adapt their play in order to succeed.
Blast poker is another way of speeding up the action to an astonishing rate. At the start of the game, a timer begins at the top of the screen. As soon as the clock runs down to zero, the players are forced to go all-in. This keeps going until one person is left with all the chips, and they win a randomly selected jackpot.
With poker now being played by a significant amount of people from mobile, it is likely that even more new and innovative ways of playing will crop up. Fast-paced tournaments are in fashion at the moment, but traditionalists still have access to standard-rules tournaments at almost every poker site.