Rules for the World Poker Tour
The World Poker Tour plays no limit Texas Holdem, which is a far different
poker game than the Texas Holdem games you see in most casino and home
games, which limit the amount of bets and raises to pre-determined amounts.
In no limit, any player can bet any amount on any turn. As such, “Going
all in,” (Betting a players entire bankroll on one bet) is a common
occurrence, which makes for a game of exciting and unpredictable aggression.
The game play of no limit Texas Holdem is identical to limit games, which
you can read about in our page on Texas
Holdem rules. Here, we’ll detail the distinguishing factors
of the no limit game you’ll see in tournaments such as the World
Poker Tour (WPT) and the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
As the game play is the same, the betting is what differentiates the
no limit game. There are four primary differentiating factors, as follows:
To create a sense of urgency, the blinds in a no limit tournament increase
steadily at pre-determined time intervals. This means that players who
sit back and watch too frequently risk getting their bankrolls slowly
eaten by the increasing blinds.
The All-in Factor
Knowing that any opponent can go all-in on any turn definitely amplifies
the decision of whether to play a hand or not, especially if one or more
players has already actively moved money into the pot. In a limit game,
especially low limit games, it’s not uncommon to see four or five
players playing a hand. In no limit, usually only two or three players
will contend any given pot, and there’s a lot of head to head play.
The option to go all in on any turn makes it a lot easier to run others
out of a given hand. On one side of the coin, players with the best hand
can make it extremely costly for others to play drawing hands. On the
other side, bluffs tend to carry substantially more weight when elimination
is put on the line.
Fewer Players in Each Hand
Partially because of the all-in factor, but also because of the nature
of a tournament, there tend to be fewer players contending for each pot
in a game like those played on the World Poker Tour. By definition, in
tournament play, there is a natural attrition of players at the table.
As each player runs out of money, the number of players sitting at the
table shrinks by one. In contrast to a typical Texas Holdem game in a
casino where there are usually seven to nine players sitting at the table
at all times, the number of players sitting at the table in a no limit
tournament starts at eight and slowly approaches the final two. As such,
fewer players are involved in the average hand. Additionally, as the number
of players at the table decreases, the relative strength of poker hands
Knowing how to play the cards is only half the battle in no limit games
like the World Poker Tour. The other half of the battle is knowing how
to use your bankroll, and how your strategy should change given how your
bankroll compares your opponents.