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Tournament Poker
by Mike Sexton

Tournament poker has grown throughout the world over the past couple of years. And with the widespread acceptance of poker around the world, more media and television exposure, and the growth of poker "online", the future of poker looks bright.

There are numerous reasons that players love to play tournaments. First, most people love to compete. They enjoy the challenge and the competition. And since poker is a game of equality, it is a game everyone can participate in. Perhaps just as important, especially in tournament play, they can win.

A great thing about poker is that it doesn't matter who you are, where you are from, if you're rich or poor, old or young, a world champion or average Joe. Once you slide your feet under the green felt, you are equal with everyone else. Yes, the more skillful players will win out in the long run, but due to the luck factor in poker, anyone can catch cards and win on a given day. That's the beauty of poker.

Another positive thing about tournament poker is the entertainment value. Tournaments are fun to play. They are also challenging. And they can be rewarding. In 2000, three players, Chris Ferguson, John Duthie, and T.J. Cloutier, each won over $1,000,000 playing tournament poker!

People like to go for the "pot-of-gold" at the end of the rainbow. To a degree, tournament poker provides that. You can take a little and win a lot. People dream about winning the lottery. The difference between the lottery and poker tournaments is that in poker tournaments, you get to "see" someone win every day. Somebody has to win - why not you?

Certainly, ego and recognition also play an important part of why people play tournaments. Most people love to be acknowledged and recognized for success. In poker, this comes with winning. Players love to see their picture in Gambling Times, Card Player, Poker Digest, Poker Europa, and/or other media. When they win, they feel a sense of achievement and accomplishment and rightfully so. They are congratulated and patted on the back for a job well done. Who doesn't like that?

Tournament buy-ins vary in size to meet all bankrolls. The opportunity is there for everyone who wants to play a tournament of some sort. Many casinos offer free-roll tournaments and/or add prize money to certain events to attract customers. In some of the major tournaments, the prize money is huge.

There are many players who don't care about playing cash games, but they love to play tournaments. They like them because they know what it's going to cost them before they sit down. Those who enter are on a level playing field. It also gives the "little" guy the opportunity to play with poker "champions". And everyone loves to beat the best.

Now, you can also play tournaments on the Internet. One-table tournaments have become extremely popular "online". These are great learning experiences for the novice player. They are also affordable. Buy-ins start as low as $5.00. If you enjoy poker, try a tournament "online". I'm sure you will enjoy it.

And now for some "real" poker winners. Let's congratulate the "major" championship event winners so far in 2001.

Tournament veteran Mike Laing captured the $5,000 buy-in No Limit Hold'em championship event at the Reno Hilton's first-ever World Poker Challenge in January. That win put a cool $331,000 in his pockets! Well done, Mike.

Across the ocean, Alan Betson of Ireland won the title of "European Texas Hold'em Champion for 2001" by winning the championship event at the Euro Finals of Poker (EFOP) at the Aviation Club in Paris. (He took my title as I won this event last year.) That win netted Alan $140,000. "Magnifique!" Alan.

Congratulations also must go to Young Phan of Garden Grove, California for winning the Commerce Club's L.A. Poker Classic $5,000 buy-in No Limit Hold'em championship held on Feb. 25th. That win was worth $186,850 first prize out of total prize money of $505.000. Not bad, huh? Nice going, Young Phan!

As you can see, tournament poker can be worth playing! Good luck!

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