Types of Online Poker Tournaments

Find your way around online poker tournaments with this article. Depicting their main types, major guidelines and where to play them.

Sit ‘n’ Go

A Sit ‘n’ Go will have between 3-10 players on one table. Each player starts off with an equal set number of chips. People are eliminated with the last man standing winning the prize money. Often 2nd and 3rd places can win prize money as well. There are different varying versions of Sit ‘n’ Go, including double or nothing where the top half of finishers win an equal amount of prize money with the bottom half winning nothing. This is perhaps the most popular tournament. Full Tilt Poker is considered to offer the best Sit ‘n’ Gos with a wide range of high stakes and low stakes tables available. PartyPoker and PokerStars also have popular Sit ‘n’ Gos.


Multi-Tables are similar to Sit ‘n’ Go, except they are spread over several tables rather than just the one. The same process follows as in Sit ‘n’ Go tournaments where the players compete in a knockout format except it is more prolonged during Multi-Table play. The prize money is more lucrative but the competition is tougher. As with Sit ‘n’ Gos, the main sites such as PartyPoker, PokerStars and Titan Poker all offer great Multi-Table.


Freerolls are the tournaments that cost nothing to enter. Usually thousands of players enter and the prize money only becomes significant within the final 10 places but because they are free to enter a lot of people find them enjoyable because of their ‘nothing to lose’ nature. Read more about them in our Freerolls article.

Heads Up

This is when two players go head-to-head. Both players begin with an equal number of chips and the winner takes the prize money. It is a fairly simple idea and it is quicker to play. However, the prize money isn’t great because you are only taking the other person’s money. Although, if you want a quick and easy game, Heads Up might be the style that you would prefer. This is as common as Sit ‘n’ Go with all sites offering them.

Head Hunter

This is when a professional or a well known player enters a tournament and you win prize money for eliminating that particular individual. This is a very unique idea and allows for some fantastic banter. It also increases the excitement, particularly when the said player enters your table. The trouble is that players can sometimes become side tracked by the opportunity to eliminate the hunted player and get eliminated from the actual tournament itself. PokerStars do great Head Hunters usually involving one of the Team PokerStars Pro members.


Ladders are where instead of winning prize money you gain a ticket to enter the next stage of tournament. You have the option to buy into the next stage but winning the previous stage will gain you access for free. The end result being that you could qualify for a $100 tournament just by winning a few single table tournaments after putting an initial $5 payment in. The odds of making it all the way are tough but the amount of game time you could potentially get from an initial small fee is quite impressive. This format is widely used for satellite tournaments for big live tournaments such as events on the WSOP and the WPT where players can earn a ticket to the live events by qualifying through a couple of online tournaments. As with Sit ‘n’ GoS, Multi-Tables they are available everywhere. Titan Poker, Party Poker and PokerStars allow for qualification into some of the biggest WSOP, WPT and EPT events.

So these are the choices. There really is so much to get to grips with. On top of these, a large number of poker rooms also do novelty online tournaments to celebrate occasions or annual tournaments to get the players involved. It is worth trying them all and seeing which you prefer because all of them have their advantages and disadvantages, with each offering something different for everyone.

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