A Detailed Look At The Poker Tournaments Best Suited To Beginners And Recreational Players
You have to be careful where you play online poker tournaments in 2016 – while some games are still very easy to beat, others are full of small stakes ‘pro grinders’ waiting to take your bankroll!
This article highlights my picks of the best games for beginning players who are looking to build their experience at the same time as making some money. This was one of the original articles here at Sit and Go Planet, and has evolved over the years as the poker landscape has changed, sites closed and other sites become easier or more difficult to profit from.
Note: US Players now have their own article – US Online Poker Tournaments – and this one focused on the rest of the world.
Instead of a list of 10 possible games, you will find more details on the top 3 in this latest update, followed by a quick run-down on the remaining 7. The idea is that, by giving more information on the top picks, I can better highlight the type of player who should be playing in each game – you can see more clearly which is the right game for you!
Planet Mark’s List Of The Best Beginner Poker Tournaments – The Top 3
888 Poker Daily 'Blowfish' Tourneys - $1500 Guaranteed
888 Poker have built their brand as the go-to site for recreational and amateur players. Their 'fish' tournaments are great examples of how easy to beat their games are in comparison to many other sites. These are regular games (with the lower buy-ins running several times daily). I have chosen the $5 buy-in 'Blowfish' games as my top rec for beginners. There are $1, $12, $30 and up games too - each named after different fish. For me the blowfish hits a sweet spot of low buy-in and decent prize pool often guaranteed at $1500+. You'll find enough players to make winning one worthwhile, though the sharks and grinders are definitely not around...
This is just one of a long list of tournaments at 888, which is fast becoming the go-to site for players learning to play poker tournaments. They focus on people who play recreationally, rather than setting up their sites to suit the 'grinders' like some other rooms do. I recommend you check out the games, you will see the difference in the standard of play as soon as you join. I also recommend you look out for the regular 'Super Series' events - and the satellite qualifiers to live tournaments too.
Get up to $88 Free to try the games (no deposit or credit card info needed)
New players at 888 get up to $88 free bonus to check out the games, with no deposit or credit card information needed.
You'll get $8 right away (as tournament tokens + cash game buy-ins) and then 10 more installments of $8 as you collect points by playing the games. You can still claim your 100% welcome bonus at any time.
888 are the big success story in online poker at the moment, they now the 2nd biggest site and still growing. If you enjoy tournaments, and love making profits - there is no better place to play. Check out www.888poker.com for yourself now!
Titan Poker Nightly €5 Rebuy + $20 Extra Free Cash Offer
Titan have moved their tournaments over to Euros... This makes great sense for the majority of their player base. In fact this site / network have not been available to US players since the UIGEA of 2006 - so using Dollars was more a legacy thing than anything. You can still deposit in whatever currency you wish. Titan are super-soft, thanks to the big sports-betting x-over traffic on the iPoker Network. In fact, I could have picked from a large number of tournaments, here are the key reasons for checking out the MTTs here:
1) The Super-Soft iPoker Network, and
2) The 'Steps' Qualifiers
The €5 Rebuy kicks off at 20:30 GMT each night, and has a €5000 guaranteed prize pool.,This is part of a schedule packed with lower to mid buy-in games, most with guaranteed prizes and all with guaranteed fish!
Key to the easy tournaments on iPoker are the big name betting site brands who are the backbone of the network. Brands like William Hill, PaddyPower and Betfair combine their players on a shared poker software back-end. This allows them to offer a huge poker site and big prizes, and also means they do not need to develop their own poker software. Combined with the killer rewards of Titan, and you end up with a combination which is hard to beat.
The great news is that every day, new players are crossing over from the sports betting parts of the site, so instead of hordes of ‘small stakes poker pros’ – you end up playing a mix of new and recreational players. More fun, more profit and less abuse in the chat box!
Steps are 1-table tournaments, where you can win tickets to tournaments or the next level Step game. For example, you can play a €3 game and win a €5 entry which can be used for any tournament of that price.
You can grab and extra $20 on top of your first deposit bonus (already a 200% match). Just register with bonus code SNGPLANET and make your first deposit, and I will ensure that the $20 is added to your player account within 48 hours – simple. After that there are ton of promos and the amazing Titan Treasures loyalty scheme to keep your bankroll topped up.
I strongly recommend the iPoker Network for all beginning tournament players – check out the awesome Titan Poker for yourself now, because you will not find easier to beat poker tournaments anywhere else online.
PokerStars.com 180 Player Sit N Go Tournaments
The biggest online poker site has created the ultimate training ground for poker tournament fans, in the shape of their massively popular 180 Player (20 Table) Sit N Go tournaments.
These games start every few minutes (as soon as they fill up with 180 players) and last for between 2 and 4 hours. You can start at the micro buy-ins and work your way up. If you are new to the poker tournaments I’d suggest getting your feet wet with a $2.50c or $8 Turbo games, and moving on up from there. 27 players get paid, up from 18 paying places previously. This evens out some of the swings - so you'll get more small cashes to keep your bankroll moving while you wait for those final table spots.
You’ll gain experience in these games so fast that it will soon be time to move to bigger challenges. You wiz through the stages, and will be able to fine-tune your strategy for the early, mid, bubble and final table quickly and easily.
What is more, these games are very profitable. As long as you have some basic poker strategy knowledge you should see your bankroll grow. I have published a detailed 3-part guide to the 180’s which you can find right here.
Many players miss the chance to claim up to 3 separate welcome bonuses at PokerStars (up to a max total of $600) This is a simple 2-stage process, first register your account - use Marketing Code PSP3108 from the drop down 'where did you hear about us' list. Next deposit with Bonus Code STARS600 (for all 3 bonuses). With the biggest choice of tournaments around, the sky is the limit once you have sharpened your game in the 180 SNGs.
Check out PokerStars.com for yourself now, because the180 Player Sit N Goes are a great way to build your bankroll in 2016!
Planet Mark’s 10 Best Beginners Poker Tournaments – 7 More Great Ideas!
#4 – Party Poker Lucky Dollar – Extra Easy Games For Brand New Players
These run several times a day, and have a $1 entry fee while being restricted to players in their first month at the site. A simple idea to combine a low buy-in with a chance to gain tournament experience without the sharks around! Party Poker have a well developed tournament schedule, which includes a lot of qualifier games to enable smaller bankroll players to play for big money by winning their seat in a low buy-in tournaments. I have a section of the site dedicated to Satellite Qualifiers or you can find out more on the infamous Party Poker here.
#5 – PokerStars Daily Big’s – Big Fields, Big Guarantees and Small Buy-Ins
PokerStars really do crush the other poker sites when it comes to the list of tournaments running each day. There are 13 games branded as the ‘Bigs’, which have high guarantees compared to the buy-in. There are several at $11 and under which appeal to new players including the Big $2.20 ($5k guarantee), Big $3.30c ($6k), Big $4.40c ($15k), Big $5.50c ($20k), Big $8.80c ($25k) and The Big $11 which has a huge $60k guarantee each night. A great opportunity to make significant cash from a small buy-in!
#6 888Poker – Super-Soft Tournaments + $88 Free Bonus To Try The Games
888 Are the fastest growing poker site around in 2016, and when you look at their games, you will see that they are focusing on creating a fun, recreational site – rather than catering to the multi-tabling small stakes pros which infest some other sites. There are tons of tournaments on offer, and I like that the fields are smaller (in the 100’s rather than 1000’s), so you will not need to sit up for half of the night to reach a final table. Players from most countries can grab $88 free bonus upfront to try the games – you’ll still get your deposit bonus after this if you like what you find. You can check out the cool tournaments at 888 Poker and grab your $88 via this link.
#7 – Full Tilt Poker – 90 Player Knockout Sit N Goes
Great for people who do not have hours to spend, 90 player Knockout Sit N Goes are like Mini Poker tournaments which are starting any time 90 players sign up. With 4 different buy-in levels to choose from starting at £3.30 these are fun games. Every time you knock an opponent out of the game you will get a bounty payment straight into your account, the rest of the entry fees make up prize pool for the last 9 players. You can read my strategy article on these cool games here.
Note: Full Tilt has now merged with PokerStars... you can still enjoy the software, though the player pools of the two sites are now combined.
#8 – Satellite Qualifiers At Titan Poker
Some players would like to emulate the famous Chris Moneymaker, and qualify for a live event where life-changing money is up for grabs. For beginners, I’m going to recommend Titan Poker once again. They have an established 3-tier system, where you win your way up to ‘SuperSatellites’ which award prizes to games around the world including the World Series Of Poker, Aussie Millions, Caribbean Poker Tour and many more. This article explains more of what is on offer.
#9 – Full Tilt Poker Mini-FTOPS / PokerStars Micro Millions
A dual entry for number 9.
FTOPS stands for ‘Full Tilt Online Poker Series’ and is an online tournament event with big buy-ins and equally big prizes. This runs 3 to 4 times each year and is followed by a ‘Mini-FTOPs’ which re-runs the big event with buy-ins at 10% of the original price. As you might expect, this attracts huge fields and some very large prize pools.
PokerStars MicroMillions is a similar event, a series of online tournaments over 10 days, with smaller buy-ins and big prizes. This is the small stakes equivalent of their big money ‘World Championship Of Online Poker’.
Note: Full Tilt has now merged with PokerStars... you can still enjoy the software, though the player pools of the two sites are now combined. I am not yet sure whether the FTOPs brand will continue, or whether Stars will focus on the MicroMillions instead.
#10 – Fishmarket at Red Kings (OnGame) – €10k Guarantee Which is Free to New Players
After a break, Red Kings have brought back the popular Fishmarket promo. With all new players getting a ticket, the field has (collectively) less experience than most of the other games. You can still buy-in as a regular player (many people do to take advantage of the soft fields). Red Kings also have a extra welcome bonus where you get €300 in bonus money the first time you are dealt the 2 red kings together in a cash game - see Red RedKings Poker for more.
Whew – What a list, If the choice of game is making your head spin then my top rec is the 180 Player Sit N Goes at PokerStars.com – there is no better place to combine profitable games and tournament experience, and they are starting every few minutes. Check out the awesome PokerStars.com for yourself now! Remember, Marketing Code = PSP3108 (registration screen) and Bonus Code = STARS600 (when you deposit) to grab yourself up to 3 separate welcome bonuses!