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General Tournament Rules and Policies
To join a tournament, players must pay the buy-in and an entry fee before a tournament starts. There is no rake for tournaments. Instead, players pay a small fee on top of the buy-in. Winnings are awarded to the top finishers in the tournament using a predetermined prize structure.
Players do not choose a seat at a table and then buy in. Instead they register in a tournament and wait to be assigned a seat. The players are seated at random around the table and each player is given a predetermined number of chips.
Most tournaments are freeze-out style where players cannot buy more chips during the tournament. Once a player loses all of their chips, they are out of the tournament.
Some tournaments offer re-buys and add-ons. A re-buy tournament allows a player to buy back in to the tournament during the re-buy period if they are eliminated. Add-on tournaments allow players to purchase additional chips during a designated add-on period.
A tournament finishes when one player has won all of the chips.
Play is the same as for Cash Games with the following exceptions:
- Chips have no cash value. They are simply used to determine prizing in each tournament as outlined in the tournament lobby. When a player pays the buy-in and tournament fee, the player is allocated a specific number of chips to play with. A player cannot leave the tournament and exchange the remaining chips for cash. Each player must play all his/her chips to determine his/her rank in the tournament and claim the corresponding prize.
- Players must always post blinds on their turn. They may not leave the table. If they are disconnected or stop playing, the blinds are posted automatically from their stacks, and the hands are automatically folded.
- Every player must post a big blind followed by a small blind once around the table. In some situations (when either the player currently on the small blind or the big blind is knocked out) there may be a "dead dealer button". This means that the dealer button does not move to the next player, but instead stays where it is. This is because the big blind and the small blind must not miss any player at the table on its way around. Another consequence of this is that sometimes a small blind is not posted.
- Once a player has lost all his/her chips he/she cannot buy any more and is automatically removed from the table, unless the tournament allows re-buys and add-ons.
There are never more than the minimum number of tables required to seat all players. As the number of players reduces, the number of tables is also reduced. A table is removed as soon as the remaining players can all be seated around the remaining tables.
Example: When there are 41 players there are five tables, four with 8 players and one with 9. When a player is eliminated and there are 40 players remaining, one table is closed and the players are moved to the remaining four tables which are then full (10 players).
The table that is closed is the one with the least number of players seated. If more than one table has the smallest number of players, the table to be closed is randomly chosen from the two. Players from the closed table are randomly seated in the available seats at the remaining tables.
Hand for Hand Play Mode
In Hand for Hand play mode, all hands are dealt at the same time at all tables. This occurs whenever there is more than one table, and there is a significant change in prize money between two places. For example, in a standard tournament with a 10% payout and 350 players, the tournament changes to hand for hand play when there are 41 players, 31 players, 21 players and 11 players remaining. It stays hand for hand until one player has been knocked out in each situation.
Re-buys and Add-ons
A multi table tournament may allow re-buys and/or add-ons. A re-buy gives the players the opportunity to buy more chips if they have run out of chips. If a player chooses not to re-buy any chips, the player is eliminated from the tournament.
An add-on gives players the opportunity to buy additional chips no matter how many chips they have left.
Re-buy and add-on details can be found in the tournament lobby.
A multi table tournament may offer both re-buys and add-ons or only re-buys. It is clearly displayed which is allowed in the tournament lobby.
Timeouts and Disconnections
If a player times out during a hand in a tournament, the hand is folded if a bet has been made, or checked if no-one has bet (regardless of whether the player is connected or disconnected).
If a player wishes to cancel his/her tournament registration, he/she is able to unregister at any time during the registration period. The player will then receive a full refund of his/her tournament buy-in and entry fee costs.
Cancellation or Failure
If the tournament is cancelled by PlayNow.com, the buy-in and entry fee costs will be automatically refunded or at a failure manually refunded within 48 hours. PlayNow.com reserves the right to cancel tournaments at its sole discretion.
|Register||The tournament is open for registration.|
|Waiting||Registration to the tournament has not yet opened.|
|Running||The tournament has started.|
|Finished||The tournament has finished.|
|Cancelled||The tournament has been cancelled by PlayNow.com.|
ICM Tournament Deals
Tournaments deals at final tables now use the Independent Chip Model (ICM) for calculating payouts.
Deals are only allowed at the final table when the prize-winning positions have been reached. A tournament must be configured to allow deals to make this possible.
For a deal to take place, all remaining players must select the ‘Deal’ button from the table. When all players have opted in, the game is paused at the end of the hand, and players are shown the proposed payouts. The deal then only takes place if all players agree to these amounts, otherwise the tournament continues.
The ICM mathematical model estimates each player’s probability of finishing in each possible position based on their chip count. It then applies these probabilities to each of the possible tournament prizes to calculate their equity, or monetary value of their chip stack.
This general policy applies to all tournaments, subject to the application of specific tournament refund rules that may be accessed from the TOURNAMENT INFO section in the Poker Lobby.
Multi-table tournaments may be cancelled or interrupted for a variety of reasons. Here is how PlayNow.com will refund players? buy-in and tournament entry fees if play is not able to resume after an interruption:
- The tournament has not begun: In this case, buy-in and entry fees are refunded to all registered players.
- Fewer than 20% of players have been eliminated: buy-in and entry fees are refunded to all registered players.
Twenty percent or more of players have been eliminated, but prizes have not begun to be paid out:
- 50% of the prize pool is divided equally among remaining active players; then
- 50% of the purse is paid pro-rated to the number of chips these active players possess
The prize pool has begun to be paid out:
- all remaining active players receive the amount that would have been won by the next player to be eliminated; then
- 50% of the remaining prize pool is divided equally among remaining active players; then
- 50% is paid pro-rated to the number of chips these active players possess.
A tournament pays ten winners using the following formula:
- 1st place: 30% of the prize pool
- 2nd place: 20% of the prize pool
- 3rd place: 15% of the prize pool
- 4th to 10th place share 35% of the prize pool, but in our example, these players have already been paid.
A tournament with a $10,000 prize pool is interrupted and cancelled when only three players remain in the game.
Players who finished in 4th to 10th place have already been paid.
The remaining prize pool, $6500, is to be shared among the top three players.
Each one then receives 15% (the 3rd place prize) of the total prize pool:
$1,500 X 3 players = $4500 (of $6500)
Next, 50% of the remaining prize pool is divided equally among remaining active players:
$2000 remains, X 50% = $1000 ½ 3 = $333.33 each
The other 50% ($1,000) is then distributed in accordance with the proportion of chips held by each player.
For example, there are 100 chips on the table:
- Player 1 has fifty chips, 50% of $1000 = $500
- Player 2 has forty chips, 40% of $1000 = $400
- Player 3 has ten chips, 10% of $1000 = $100
In Re-buy/Add-on tournaments, buy-in and Re-buy/Add-on fees are refunded if the tournament is interrupted before the end of the Re-buy/Add-on period, regardless of the number of eliminated players (less than 20% or 20% and more).
In Headhunter tournaments, players keep their bonuses (bounty) and refunds are made according to one of the above four methods.
When a satellite tournament is cancelled or interrupted, the refund policy described above applies. However, because a satellite tournament is used to win a seat at another tournament, other tournaments may be offered. This decision depends on the number of seats offered and the buy-in and entry fee amount for the other tournament, as well as the number of active players remaining when the tournament was interrupted.
Flights are a type of satellite tournament where qualifying players carry their chip counts through to the next tournament. Players can also choose to buy directly into the final tournament (if the tournament is setup to allow this).
The final tournament can be configured to be Multi-Entry, which allows players to qualify or buy-in to the final more than once. In a Multi-Entry tournament, players can play several separate seats and stacks across different tables. They can never occupy two seats on the same table and if the number of tables is reduced whereby a player has more seats than there are tables, two of their stacks will be automatically merged (the same as other Multi-Entry tournaments).