Many players will prefer to play in real money poker tournaments as opposed to ring games.
With often hundreds or thousands of players taking part, poker tournaments are where the real money is, with millions of dollars being paid out each week to online players who have made it through to the final stages of a tournament.
While it’s true that the biggest poker sites pay out the largest cash prizes, being successful there can be very difficult unless you’re an excellent poker player. The appeal of the large cash prizes lures a huge number of professional players, so competition is fierce.
Rather than wasting your money trying to beat some of the best players in the world, we would suggest having a look at the other tournaments which we’ve listed below. The cash on offer is still very much worth winning and the competition isn’t as tough, which means you have a better chance of coming away from the table with a healthy profit as opposed to an empty bankroll.
Every poker site out there has a major tournament: the one that attracts the most players and pays out the most cash. Due to the size of them, these flagship tournaments generally tend to run on a weekly or even monthly basis, but they’re well worth the wait.
Below, we’ve highlighted some of the best value tournaments out there.
$200k Guaranteed – Bet365
The flagship event at Bet365 is their weekly $200k GTD, which rolls every Sunday evening.
The exact details of the prize money obviously varies depending on how many people have entered, but generally speaking the top 150 players will each get paid with the overall winner picking up $42,000 and the runners up being awarded $22k, $16k and $12k for finishing second, third and fourth respectively.
Bet365 is always looking to add extra value though, and the way they run their Flagship tournament is a great example of this.
Firstly, while players can buy-in to the tournament directly (at a cost of $215), it’s the fact that the price of qualifiers begin at $0.04 + $0.01 that has to be seen to be believed.
There are only three rounds of qualifiers, so confident players can get themselves amazing value at Bet365. We can’t think of any other places where you can play for your share of $200k for the price of a few penny sweets.
The second example of Bet365’s commitment to their players is that anyone who enters the $200k Guaranteed will automatically be given entry into a $5k freeroll – they’re basically giving you a second chance to win a nice cash prize, which is a really cool touch.
Unfortunately Bet365 doesn’t accept American players, so if you’re based in the US, then we suggest playing somewhere like Bodog.com.
However, for everyone else, we’d seriously suggest you check out Bet365. They may be better known for their sports book, but their poker offering is really something special.
You can open an account for free at www.bet365.com and all players depositing for the first time will get a 100% match bonus up to $500.
$100k Guaranteed – Bodog
When it comes to big money tournaments, you’d expect someone like Bodog to come up with something special … and the good news is that they don’t disappoint.
Their $100k Guaranteed runs every Sunday afternoon with players able to book their seat at the table for as little as $1. Those players who want to skip the qualifiers can buy into the tournament directly for $150+ $12 – which seems very good value considering buy-in levels at some other poker sites.
$50k Guaranteed – Sportsbook.com
The main event at Sportsbook.com is the weekly $75k Guaranteed that runs every Sunday at 15.00 ET.
The size of the prize pool might not be the largest out there, but any guaranteed tournament at Sportsbook.com has got to be worth a look, as the site has some of the worst players we’ve seen in a long time.
With the level of competition as low as it is, anyone with a basic understanding of poker and a bit of patience should be able to run pretty deep.
Players buying in direct will need to pay $100 + $9 or use their VIP loyalty points (10,000 + 900). Alternatively, players can work their way through a couple of qualifiers and find themselves competing for the big prizes for as little as $2.50 + $0.50
To register your place in the next $50k GTD, log into your account at www.sportsbook.com and select the tournaments tab. The $50k GTD will be found there along with all upcoming qualifiers.
$15k Guaranteed – Bookmaker.com
Considering that Bookmaker.com tends to focus on taking sports bets, we’re pleasantly surprised by the Guaranteed tournament schedule that they offer to their poker players.
A daily $2k Guaranteed runs every night during the week and on Saturdays, the stakes get a little higher with a $7.5K Guaranteed tournament.
However, the big event over Bookmaker.com is the Sunday night $15,000 GTD. Scheduled to run at 20.00 ET, the buy-in level is set at $150+$12 with the cost of qualifiers starting from $4.40.
The prize money may be a little on the low side, but he competition here is low again and the field generally only runs to a hundred players, so there is a good opportunity for gains here.
To register for this Sunday’s tournament, you’ll need to register for a free account at www.bookmaker.com and then select the ‘Tournament’ tab from the from the in-game lobby.
$3k Guaranteed – Intertops
The largest games at Intertops tend to be found at the heads up tables, and this is reflected in the fact that Intertops don’t have a flagship poker tournament. When it comes to Guaranteed prizes, they tend to run daily events where the prize pool is generally around $3k.
While the size of the prize may not be too attractive to seasoned poker players, we would suggest that the Guaranteed games at Intertops game are the perfect place for new players to hone their skills while attempting to win a reasonable cash prize: the competition is fairly weak (the players are predominantly sports betters after all) and the field is fairly small – not usually more than 100 players, and normally a lot less.
Buy-in to these events tends to be $10, although satellites are set up for several of the daily MTT’s and the price of entry into these is around the $1.00 mark.
For more information, we would suggest you check out the tournament schedule at www.intertops.com.
Other Notable Tournaments
The poker rooms listed above all have full and active tournament schedules.
However, if you find that you can’t wait until the end of the week to fight it out for the big money, then you may well be interested in the other types of tournaments which are run on these sites on a more regular basis.
Bet365 SnG Tournaments
If you’re a fan of the Sit & Go tournament structure, then the chances are you’ll be interested in the number of Jackpot SnGs that run throughout the day on Bet365.
They’re just like any normal SnG tourney with the exception that if you manage to get on a run and win a series of tournaments consecutively, you’ll be awarded additional cash prizes worth up to $50,000.
This ‘jackpot’ will be paid to you on top what you’ll already have won in the individual tournaments, so it’s a great way of adding more value to your play … especially when you consider that it can cost as little as $2 +$0.40 to buy into these sort of games!
Bet365 runs four different types of Jackpot Sit & Go:
- Dirty Dozen – As the name suggests, Dirty Dozen SnGs get underway as soon as 12 players are sat at the table. If you’re able to win four of these games in succession, you’ll be awarded a jackpot prize of $2,000 … which isn’t bad at all considering you can buy in for less than $10.
Last year, Bet365 handed out over $250,000 in Dirty Dozen jackpots and they’re not showing any signs of slowing down!
- Maui – The Maui tourneys are limited to 10 players at a table and are arguably the most popular SnG jackpot tourneys on Bet365.
That’s perhaps not surprising though when you consider that a minimum jackpot of $15,000 is paid out to any player who can win 5 tourneys in a row – and that sum of money increases every week that it isn’t claimed so there’s really no limit to how big this additional prize could be.
There’s one last twist though, which really goes to show how generous Bet365 are with their bonuses. Winning five Maui tables isn’t going to be easy … and for that reason, any player who finishes in first or second place for five consecutive tourneys will be awarded a consolation prize of $200.
- Rio – We’re starting to get into the serious money now. Rio Sit & Go tourneys offer any player who is able to achieve six consecutive victories a very impressive jackpot of at least $30,000.
As with the Maui jackpot though, this prize will increase with every week that it isn’t claimed, so the final amount you end up with could be a seriously large amount of cash.
Rio tournaments consist of six players at each table with a consolation prize of $300 being awarded to any player who can finish in the top positions for six consecutive tournaments.
- Fort Knox – The real High Rollers amongst you will want to check out the Fort Knox SnG Jackpot. Bet365 claims that it is the biggest and best Sit & Go in the world, and to be honest, we haven’t found any evidence to disprove this claim.
The Fort Knox will pay out a minimum jackpot of $50,000 to any player who is able to win six consecutive tournaments. As with the Rio and Maui tournaments, this prize will continue to increase with every week that it isn’t claimed.
With such prize money at stake, you’d expect this to be a pretty difficult assignment and it most definitely is. However, for players who just miss out on the big prize, Bet365 will give you $750 in cash if you manage to finish in the top two positions for six tournaments running.
That’s a pretty hefty consolation bonus considering the prize money that you’ll already have won for doing so well in the individual tourneys!
Bodog SnG Tournaments
While Bodog doesn’t offer the same sort of jackpot structures that Bet365 does, players who are new to the game of poker may very well benefit from checking out the Beginner Sit and Go tournaments that run throughout the day.
These special tourneys involve 10 players and have buy-ins ranging from as little as $2.20 to a maximum of $17.60 – so there’s something for everyone.
What makes these games special though is that while the standard Bodog SnG’s only payout 30% of the players, these Beginner tournaments will pay out 50% which means that you have a much better chance of finishing in the money.
To find these special tournaments, simply log into your Bodog account (or open one for free at the Bodog website) and click on the “Sit and Go Tournaments” tab in the poker software.
Bookmaker.com SnG Tournaments
Bookmaker offers its poker players a solid if not spectacular tournament schedule when it comes to SnG’s. Players will generally be able to find a tourney to play in at most times of the day and night with tables ranging from two to twelve players in size.
Equally, buy-in levels start from as little as $2.00 + $0.20 and go as high as $250 +$30 so there is something there for players of all abilities and bankroll sizes.
There are no flagship SnG tourney on Bookmaker.com or any unique features that make their Sit & Go’s stand out from the rest, but what Bookmaker do, they do well and their players won’t be disappointed.
Intertops SnG Tournaments
For a website that is primarily focused on sports betting, Intertops provides its players with a surprisingly in-depth Sit and Go schedule. A large number of games are run through out the day, ranging from heads up play to tables of up to 30 players.
They also offer something for all types of player too. Noobies (or those with smaller bankrolls) will be pleased to see that they can enter a tournament for as little as $1.00 where as the high rollers will be delighted to see buy-in levels reaching as much as $5,500 – larger than most of the more recognised poker room.
Regular players will also find exceptional value in using their loyalty points (or Gold Chips) as part payment of their tournament fees.
Bet365 Bounty Tournaments
Bet365 haven’t yet taken the decision to form a team of poker professionals, and as such it’s very hard for them to run a Bounty tournament. After all, who are you going to go after if it’s not one of the flagship players on the site?
Bet365 does an awful lot of things very well when it comes to its poker product, but if regular Bounty Tournaments are an essential part of poker for you, we would suggest that you’ll be a lot happier at somewhere like UB.com rather than at Bet365.
Bodog Bounty Tournaments
Unfortunately, Bodog are yet to fully embrace Bounty Tournaments. That’s not to say that they don’t run them (because they do), it’s just that these kind of tourneys aren’t run as regularly as they are on somewhere like UB.com.
When Bodog does organise a Bounty tourney, players will be notified by email, along with full details relating to the cost of getting involved in the game and the size of the bounties that are on offer.
Bookmaker.com Bounty Tournaments
Up until the beginning of 2011, Bookmaker.com did not offer their players any sort of Bounty Tournament. That changed though with Doyles Room switching their software to the same network that Bookmaker resides on.
The result is that all Bookmaker.com poker players can now get involved in a weekly Bounty tourney that features some of the biggest names in poker, including The Texas Dolly himself, Doyle Brunson.
This special bounty runs every Wednesday at 20.00 ET and comes with a buy-in fee of $25 + $2.50. The size of the bounties depends on how many players have entered the tournament, but generally they tend to be around the $250 mark.
However, for precise details, we would suggest checking the Tournament Schedule (found on the Bookmaker website) on a Wednesday morning when all details relating to that evening’s tournament will have been posted.
Live Event Qualifiers
Live Events are the pinnacle of tournament poker. The likes of the Aussie Millions and WSOP drawn thousands of players every year who compete for some of the biggest cash payouts in the game.
Playing in these tournaments isn’t without its own risk though, with the biggest events charging a $10,000 buy-in for each individual seat.
That would normally put these events out of reach of most standard poker players, but with Live Event Satellites, players can win one of a number of different seats that poker sites give away for free every year.
We’ll look at some of the best ways for you to get your seats at some of the most prestigious tournaments around.
Bet365 Live Event Qualifiers
Bet365 might not send quite so many players to the world’s major events (when compared to the likes of UB.com), but they offer a comprehensive Live Events package which spans poker tournaments around the world.
As you would expect from a poker room of their stature, Bet365 also has a strong interest in WSOP. Their exact promotion changes from year to year so we’d advise you to check out their website for the latest information.
However, in 2010, Bet365 sent a dozen players to play in WSOP. These packages included seats to the Main Event and the Pot Limit Omaha Championship.
To win these seats, players were requested to play in either the weekly Freezeout Satellites (costing $500 + $0.15) or the $200 + $0.15 Rebuy Satellites.
Each winning player was awarded a package worth $13,000 consisting of the $10,000 WSOP buy-in and $3,00 for travelling and accommodation expenses.
Other major events that Bet365 send players to include The Irish Open, APT Philippines, Baltic Hold’em series, and the Austrian deep stack and once again this year, Bet365 are expected to send players down under to compete in the Aussie Millions.
Details are restricted until the qualifiers officially open, so we’d advise you to keep a close eye on Intense Gambling, where we’ll inform you of the relevant details just as soon as they are released.
Bodog Live Event Qualifiers
When it comes to Live Events, Bodog tends to focus on WSOP, The Aussie Millions and the Asian Poker Tour (APT).
As you might expect, the big qualifiers happen for WSOP, which Bodog usually hands out around 50 seats for. Winners will get their tournament entry fee paid for and also be given an additional $2,000 to take care of travel and accommodation expenses.
When it comes to winning one of these packages, players have two options. They can buy into the satellite final directly for $470 + $30 or alternatively they can go do the cheap route by entering one of the main qualifiers for as little as $1 with no tournament fee.
Both the APT and Aussie Millions qualifiers are a little cheaper, but still offer a $12,000 prize package which will include a seat at at the relevant tournament and accommodation expenses. Once again Bodog are very good at offering value qualifiers (starting at just $1) or there is the option to buy directly into the final table for $300 + $20
Sportsbook.com Live Event Qualifiers
Sportsbook.com’s Live Satellite offering may be fairly small when compared to a number of more established poker rooms, but fewer players means less competition and ultimately a better chance of success for you.
Unfortunately, the site is well known for not releasing details about about Live Satellites until they are due to roll. However, we can let you know that for the last four years, Sportsbook.com has sent players to WSOP, Aussie Millions, WPT and APT events.
The Live Qualifiers will generally cost players around $215 + $15 to enter, although players can also get involved in a number of satellites for as little as $4 or approximately 5 Gold Chips.
For the latest information though, we would recommend checking out www.sportsbook.com/poker or logging into your Sportsbook account. Both places will be updated with the latest information as soon as it’s available.
Bookmaker.com Live Event Qualifiers
While Bookmaker.com’s poker offering can’t really compare to the likes of Bodog and UB.com, it would seem that they’re making real progress when it comes to Live Event Qualifiers.
Currently they offer packages to the Punta Cana Poker Event as well as seats to the Pura Vida Poker cup in Costa Rica. Both of these packages are worth $3,500 and contain travel costs, six nights in a top hotel and a $1,500 buy in fee.
However, for the first time in 2011, Bookmaker.com will be looking to offer WSOP seats to their players.
These qualifiers are still being set up and specific details details regarding how many seats will be put up for grabs and the cost of the events have not yet been released.
Once we know though, we’ll be sure that you do too. So with that in mind, keep checking back with Intense Gambling for the latest news.
Intertops Live Event Qualifiers
Intertops is another example of a site that has its main focus on sportsbetting, but is slowly developing its poker product at the same time.
When it comes to Live Event Qualifiers, the selection of games (and the number of seats up for grabs) at Intertops is slightly limited. However, so is the playing field, so you’ll come up against much fewer opponents in your quest for Live Event glory.
Perhaps the best example of this occurred in 2010 when, with less than a week to go before 6 WSOP seats were to be handed out, only 27 players had registered to play in the required event. No other poker room out there will give you a better chance of winning an all expenses trip to Vegas!
Buying in direct to the final stages of these qualifiers will cost players $400 + $40, although that price drops right down to just $5 + $0.50 for players who want to get involved in the daily satellites.
Aside from WSOP, Intertops also offers numerous qualifiers to WPT events and the Aussie Millions with the relevant details posted up on the Intertops poker site closer to the start of the event.
The freeroll schedule at Bet365 is fairly non-existent. However, this may have something to do with the site’s willingness to throw regular free money and bonuses at depositing players (even those with a small bankroll) – generosity that is hard to match at most other poker rooms.
However, all players registering for a new account with Bet365 Poker will be eligible to take part in a First Depositor Freeroll, as long as they make a deposit within their first week of signing up.
The size of that first deposit can be as little as $10 and that will also allow you to take advantage of the site’s standard 100% match bonus.
Once you’ve made your deposit, you’ll receive a freeroll token on the following Monday morning. This can then be used to purchase your seat in the New Depositors tournament that runs every Monday evening.
The prizes aren’t huge: the overall winner will take home €25 with second, third and fourth places being awarded €15, €8 and €6 respectively.
Aside from that, all of the other freerolls that are run on Bet365 tend to be private games, which are set up by the site as prizes for winning other tournaments or for taking part in other on-site promotions.
Sportsbook.com offers the best freeroll schedule out of all five poker rooms listed on this page. There are a number of tournaments that run on a daily basis with cash prizes ranging from $50 to $50,000 – that’s a lot of cash to win in any poker tournament, but it somehow seems even more when you haven’t had to pay any entry fees to play!
For the full freeroll schedule, we suggest that you check out the Sportsbook.com website. However, to give you an idea of what you can expect to find there, $50 freerolls start every couple of hours.
The larger $2k and $10k freerolls run once a week where as the massive $50k Flagship freeroll runs on a monthly basis.
On top of that, new depositors will automatically gain entry to the site’s daily freeroll (worth another $500) while regular players will be pleased to hear that the site’s VIP loyalty program incorporates a number of freeroll tournaments into its various tiers.
The higher up the VIP program you climb, the more freerolls you’re invited to and the larger the cash prizes you’ll find there! To check out which tier of the loyalty program you’re currently in, you simply need to login to your player account and click the “VIP Status” link.
Bookmaker.com doesn’t really offer freerolls to their players.
However, In a similar vein to Bet365, all players registering with the site for the first time will be eligible to take part in a series of Newbie freerolls worth $40.
When you open an account, Bookmaker.com will give you two weeks to participate in up to four different SnG freerolls with a prize of $10 being awarded to the overall winner in each of them.
This is quite a nice twist on what has become a rather standard theme. After all, not only does it allow new players to play for cash on four different occasions at no cost to themselves, but it also gives totally new players the opportunity to get a grip on what’s going on without sacrificing any of their bankroll.
Aside from that, there aren’t any other freeroll tournaments to be found on the Bookmaker website.
When you sign up to Intertops.com, you’ll find that they have a limited but functional selection of freeroll tournaments.
These are generally limited to two or three a day with amount of prize money on offer dependant on the number of players entering. For exact information regarding prize money, we would suggest logging into your Intertops account and checking the latest tournament details from the central lobby.
However, to give you a rough idea, the prizes on offer aren’t huge – anywhere from around $20 to $100 – so if you’re looking for a big win, you’re probably better off trying somewhere like Sportsbook.com.
Having said that though, with the competition being so low at Intertops, you may find yourself with a better chance of extending your bankroll there than at most other places.