In poker tournaments, you need to first understand the rules of the game if you’re going to come out on top. For Texas Hold’Em tournaments, you’ll start with two cards in your hand, aka “hole cards,” that aren’t shown to other players. If you ante up, you’ll then go to the next round of play, known as the “flop.” The flop is three community cards that you and the other players still in the game can use to make your best poker hands. There will be a round of betting, then another community card called the “turn,” another round of betting, and then the final “river” card will be dealt. One last exciting round of betting takes place, and then there’s a showdown if two players are still active. Hand rankings are the same in Texas Hold’Em as a standard game of five-card draw, with the royal flush at the top – that’s a straight from ten to ace, all of the same suit.
Generally, you’ll be betting with poker chips. In a cash game, these chips are worth real money. In a poker tournament, however, chips are not related to a cash amount. Instead, each player buys in for a certain amount at the beginning and the winnings are determined by the tournament payout structure. The lion’s share generally goes to the last player standing – the overall winner – but smaller prizes may go to second place, third place, and a variety of other players, depending on how the tournament is organized.
Betting is fairly straightforward. Each player has a stack of chips, and in the center of the table is the community pot each player is fighting for. Ante up your chips to get into the hand, and cards will be dealt. In No-Limit Hold’Em, as you go around the table, players can fold weak cards (i.e. quit the hand), ante the amount of the “big blind,” or raise to indicate strong cards. Other players can then fold, call this amount (bet the same into the pot), or even re-raise. At the end of a hand, the pot goes to the last player standing, if all but that player have folded, or to the player with the highest ranking hand, if two or more have made it to a showdown. Then the next hand begins.