When you’re looking into tournaments to play, be it around town or around the internet, one of the most important thing to consider is the structure. The structure of a tournament are the groudrules, as in: starting chips, blinds levels, how often the blinds increase, number of players at a table, % paid out, etc.
A 6-handed tournament will force much more aggressive play. A turbo tournament with blinds going up every 5 minutes likewise will push action. On the other end of the spectrum come the ‘deep stack’ tournaments, a favorite for very tight players and people who just like to play. Deep stacks offer almost 4x the starting chip amount with half-speed blind levels. Pokerstars hosts a variety of deep stack tournaments that I know of.
As far as online play goes the most reputed online site for tournament structure has been UltimateBet for a long time running, with Pokerstars near behind. Sites like PartyPoker and NoblePoker have long been considered poor tournament sites with less starting chips and faster blind levels, but things may have changed.
Partypoker has just announced a huge change in their tournament structure, about time! They now offer even more starting chips, slower blinds, more levels, resizable windows (sick of overlap when mutlti-tabling?), and even an ingame deal option. Instead of waiting for support or trusting an opponent players can make their own deals and support them or not.
I think the move partypoker is making is a great leap for them. I’ve been avoiding partypoker for a long time but I think it might be about time for me to check it out again.
Oh yeah, and be wary of live tournaments given by charity events around your town. The structures are usually terrible and force action very quickly (they don’t have unlimited time and resources), though if you can get to a quick start you probably have a good chance of doing well, the average player in those games are well below average. So watch out for new structures and don’t be afraid to try different kinds of tournaments to see where you fit best, and if you haven’t done so yet, check out Partypoker’s new system!