These rules apply to tournaments on our platform.
The Tournament Rules as listed here are intended to complement the Terms of Service, not replace them. In the event of a discrepancy between the Tournament Rules and Terms of Service, the Terms of Service shall take precedence.
Note: Rules 1.5, 2.4 and 2.5 are relevant only to tournaments which use blinds and/or a dealer button.
We will, at all times, consider the best interests of the game and fairness as the top priority in the decision-making process. Unusual circumstances can, on occasion, dictate that decisions in the interest of fairness take priority over the technical rules.
All tournaments will begin promptly at the scheduled time stated in the Tournament Lobby. We reserve the right to delay or cancel a tournament without prior notice.
Important information about each tournament, including the blind structure, length of rounds, rebuy and break information, can be found by selecting the tournament in the lobby and double-clicking on it (desktop), and by clicking the tournament itself via the Lobby (mobile). We reserve the right to change the parameters of any tournament at any time without notice.
Seats are assigned at random. Seat changes are not permitted.
The button will be positioned at Seat 1 to start play.
A bet and three raises are permitted in Fixed Limit tournaments. There is no limit to the number of raises permitted in Pot Limit and No Limit tournaments.
Prizes will be awarded as stated in the Tournament Lobby, except when a deal is made (see Rule 8.1) or the tournament is cancelled (see our tournament cancellation policy below). The prize structure is not finalized until registration has closed and the rebuy and/or add-on period is over.
In order to be eligible to rebuy in a rebuy tournament, you must have the funds available in your account. Funds currently in play in other games, or held in a currency not matching the tournament currency, are not considered to be available.
Late Registration: Late registration is available in most tournaments. The length of the late registration period varies, but will always be shown in the tournament ticket in the Quick Seat lobby, in the details panel of the Tournaments tab, and in the header of the Tournament lobby for that tournament. Late registration time is measured in clock time (as opposed to tournament play time). For example, if a tournament starts at 09:00 and has 90 minutes of late registration, registration will close at 10:30. Late registration will close early if enough players are eliminated to begin payouts.
Please note that players are only allowed to participate in a tournament once, unless re-entry is permitted, as specified in the tournament lobby. One player using multiple accounts to enter multiple times into a single tournament is not permitted, and may result in penalties including a warning, disqualification from the tournament (with partial or full forfeiture of winnings), and barring from our platform.
Unregistration: Most tournaments allow unregistration until a time specified in the tournament lobby of each tournament, which may vary from event to event. Players who have won their seats through a satellite may unregister if the event allows it; however, they will receive tournament money (T-Money) or an entry ticket in exchange for their seat. T-Money can be used to buy in to our other tournaments. See here for more information.
Some satellites will end after the start of the target tournament, but during late registration. In such cases, the satellite winners will be seated directly into the target event at the conclusion of the satellite.
Please note: Registration and unregistration times may vary, and not all tournaments allow unregistration. Check the Tournament Lobby for the exact registration details for each tournament. We reserve the right to alter registration and unregistration times without prior notice.
Players who self-exclude during a Multi-Day Tournament will still be able to complete any tournaments already in progress in which they are playing. This also means that players who request to be self-excluded from playing on our platform after qualifying for Day 2 of a Multi-Day Tournament will still be able to play in that tournament on any subsequent day of that tournament, even after their period of self-exclusion begins. Players who choose not to play on subsequent days will receive no compensation.
Players who request to be self-excluded during a Phased Tournament will not be able to complete the next phase of the tournament. Please consider whether you will be able to play the tournament in its entirety before entering the first phase.
The tournament ends when one player accumulates all the chips in play, or when all remaining players will receive the same prize (for example, if the tournament awards five identical prizes, the tournament may end when there are five players left).
If two or more players are eliminated on the same hand, a player with more chips at the start of the hand finishes higher than a player with fewer chips. If all players started the hand with an identical number of chips, all players tie for that rank, and any prizes due to those players will be equally distributed between them. During hand-for-hand play (as described in Rule 2.3), two or more players eliminated during a single 'synchronized' hand are treated as having been eliminated simultaneously, even if they are at different tables. Finishing order is then based on comparing stack sizes.
At certain stages of the tournament (for example, where the prize money jumps significantly with the next few players eliminated) and when there is more than one table remaining, the tournament may be played ‘hand for hand’. This means that if one table finishes its hand before the other table(s), that table waits for the other table(s) to finish before the next hand is dealt.
We use a ‘forward-moving button’ rule in tournaments. According to this rule, no player ever receives the button twice in a row; at the completion of every hand, the button is moved clockwise. The implication of this rule is that when players are eliminated, there may be players who get a reprieve from one or both blinds. Since these are basically random occurrences, no player will receive any long-term advantage.
When two players remain at the final table, the button will post the small blind, and act first on the opening round.
As players are eliminated from the tournament, the software will 'break' tables to fill available empty seats or balance tables to ensure all tables have an equal (or as close to equal as possible) number of active players. The re-seating of players at broken tables is performed randomly and, although rare, may result in a player having to post multiple big blinds in a row. Players moved individually to balance tables will, when possible, be moved to similar positions relative to the blinds. When enough players have been eliminated, all players are brought together at the ‘final table’.
The break schedule for a tournament can be found in the ‘Tournament Information’ section of the ‘Structure’ tab in the Tournament lobby. Break length and timing may vary from one event to the next. We offer two varieties of breaks:
In all cases, the tournament will wait for hands at all tables to complete before the break period begins. This means that at some tables, the break will last slightly longer than at other tables.
Note that not all tournaments offer breaks (for example, Hyper-Turbo and some Heads-Up or Shootout-style events).
By participating in a tournament, a player accepts the risk of Internet disconnection, due to problems with the connection between their device and the servers, lag or freeze, or some other problem with the player's device or connection.
For regular multi-table tournaments, the DET is available only at the final table. The DET is as follows:
For Sit & Go tournaments with fewer than 45 players, the DET is available when the tournament is down to the number of players that will be paid plus one. The DET is as follows:
For Heads-Up tournaments, the DET is available throughout the tournament. The DET is as follows:
For all actions above, the player will remain in 'sitting-in' state after being folded, and will therefore be given the indicated amount of time when an action returns to them.
Note that for all tournaments, the DET is reset each time the user reconnects. So, if a player is at the final table of a multi-table event, disconnects, and is down to 30 seconds per action, then reconnects, if they disconnect again they'll start with 240 seconds for their next action.
During any time that the system is waiting on a disconnected player, the tournament clock (that raises blind levels) is stopped.
Please note: The rules described above may vary between tournaments. DET may not be provided for each tournament; we reserve the right to change these rules without prior notification.
Players, whether in the hand or not, may not discuss the hand or their cards until the action is complete. Players are obligated to protect the other players in the tournament at all times. Discussing cards discarded or hand possibilities is not allowed. A penalty may be given for discussion of hands during play.
Poker is an individual (not a team) game. Any action or chat intended to help another player is unethical and is prohibited. Unethical play, such as soft-play (playing less aggressively against a partner) and chip dumping (intentionally losing chips to a partner), may result in penalties, including seizure of funds from the offender's account and/or termination of the account. We routinely review game play to look for violations of our rules and to ensure the integrity of our games. It may be necessary to withhold player winnings until the completion of game play reviews.
With some exceptions (described below), a player may play on only one account during a tournament and may not ‘hand off’ his seat in mid-event to a different player. Violation of this rule may result in penalties including a warning, disqualification from the tournament (with partial or full forfeiture of winnings), and barring from our platform.
The examples of permissible exceptions that we give below are intended to describe examples of unplanned but serious events which are beyond your control.
Examples of things which are not beyond your control and are therefore prohibited include:
Examples of things which are beyond your control and are therefore allowed, subject to us being able to corroborate with evidence, include:
In the event of a server crash, the hands in progress at every table will be restored by rolling back those hands. Each player's chip count will be reset to the amount at the beginning of the hand. In special circumstances, when a tournament needs to be cancelled because of a crash or some other reason, players will be compensated according to the tournament cancellation policy (see below).
Deal making is allowed in tournaments, unless otherwise specified in the tournament lobby.
All deal numbers provided by our staff are not final until clearly agreed to by all players in the Chat Box. Players may discuss variations on those numbers if they want; our staff will then repeat the agreed deal in the Chat Box and ask the remaining players to all confirm their agreement.
Dealing for Tournament Leader Board or Sit & Go Leader Board points is not allowed. Doing so may result in the revocation of all awarded Leader Board points for the deal-making players in the tournament.
In some specially designated tournaments, a cash ‘bounty’ will be placed on some or all of the tournament participants. A player who eliminates such an opponent wins the cash bounty.
There are three types of bounty tournaments:
Knockout: A bounty is placed on every player. You win a cash prize for each player you eliminate. There are also Progressive Knockouts, where your bonus increases as you eliminate players.
Team Pro Bounty: A bounty is placed on every member of Team PokerStars who enters the tournament.
Fixed Bounty: A bounty is placed on a specific player in the tournament.
The bounty is awarded to the player who wins the ‘relevant pot’ for the hand in question, which may be the main pot or one of several side pots. ‘Relevant pot’ means the pot in which the bounty player was all-in for their final chips.
Daniel (100 chips), Barry (200 chips), Vanessa (400 chips), and Jake (1000 chips), are playing a hand in a No-Limit tournament.
Daniel moves all-in, and Barry, Vanessa and Jake call. The pot which Daniel is eligible for is known as the ‘main pot’. Betting continues ‘on the side’, in side pot 1.
Barry moves all-in, and Vanessa and Jake call. Betting continues between Vanessa and Jake in side pot 2.
Vanessa moves all-in, and Jake calls.
Barry shows the best hand. He wins side pot 1 and the main pot, eliminating Daniel. He receives the bounty for Daniel.
Jake shows the next best hand, and wins side pot 2, eliminating Vanessa. Jake wins the bounty for Vanessa.
Note that although Barry had the best hand overall, he didn’t have as many chips as Vanessa and therefore could not eliminate her. Jake however did have enough chips, and therefore wins Vanessa’s bounty.
In a split pot poker variant, such as Omaha Hi/Lo or Stud Hi/Lo, the bounty will always be awarded to the high hand. This is because a player cannot be eliminated by a low hand only.
In the event that two players show identical winning hands and therefore split the ‘relevant pot’ (or, in the case of a split pot poker variant as described in Rule 9.2, split the high half of the ‘relevant pot’), any bounty awarded will be divided equally between the winners. Odd cents will be awarded in turn to the players in the earliest positions.
If a bounty player wins the tournament:
If a tournament advertises a bounty on a particular player, but that player does not register for the tournament, no bounty will be paid for that player.
Players may not make any agreement amongst themselves to eliminate a particular player in order to claim their bounty award. Such agreements are considered collusion and are grounds for disqualification from the tournament or other penalties. For more information, see Rules 6.1 and 6.2 above.
If we have to cancel a tournament for any reason, we try to compensate players in the fairest and most equitable way possible. There are three different possible compensation methods, depending on the exact circumstances and timing of the cancellation. Which method is applied is at the sole discretion of the tournament management.
Rollback: In this case, we 'roll back' the tournament as if it never happened. If you were registered for the tournament, you'll get your buy-in and fees (including rebuys, add-ons, and knockout entry if any) refunded. Also, the buy-in is refunded in exactly the same format with which you bought in. For instance, if you bought into a tournament using T$10 and $15 cash, then you would get back T$10 and $15 cash.
Roll Forward (No Players in the Money): If a tournament is cancelled and we do a 'roll forward' before the players are in the money, we refund each remaining player his tournament fee (and knockout bounty if appropriate), and then divide up the prize pool based on the following formula: 50% of the award pool is distributed evenly among all remaining players, and 50% of the award pool is distributed proportionally according to the chip count.
Roll Forward (Players are in the Money): When a tournament is cancelled, and players have already reached the money, we refund each remaining player his tournament fee (and knockout bounty if appropriate), and then divide up the prize pool based on the following formula: each player receives the minimum prize not yet awarded at the time of cancellation, and the remainder of the award pool distributed is distributed proportionally according to the chip count.
Heads-up Sit & Go tournaments (HU S&Gs) are handled differently because of their special nature. For example, if one player stays connected while the other player does not, the first player can effectively win the tournament while the second player is disconnected. For that reason, we reserve the right to do a chip count distribution of any HU S&G that we believe was substantially affected by our site's downtime.
If a tournament with a guaranteed prize pool is cancelled, we will refund only the total buy-ins, not the guaranteed amount.
If a tournament with fixed or Team Pro bounties is cancelled, we will refund only the regular prize pool (and knockout pool if applicable), not the fixed or Team Pro bounties.
Tournaments which award tickets, satellite entries or material prizes, in addition to cash, will only include the cash in the refund amount. Non-cash prizes will not be included in the roll forward or rollback equation.
We reserve the right to alter cancellation payouts or to alter this policy
In a Heads-Up tourney, players compete in a multi-round event against a series of opponents until they are eliminated, or defeat the last player standing. Exact details of tournament structure and prize pool can be found in the tournament lobby.
Unless a tournament starts with exactly 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 or 128 players, some players in the heads-up tournament will have byes past the first round. Other players will play an extra first-round match, and the tournament will play down to 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 or 64 players before progressing to the second round. No players will have byes past the first round, and all byes are randomly selected from the field of entrants.
Early payout tournaments work the same way as regular tournaments with one important exception:
By making that initial tournament prize immediately available, players will have more options at their disposal to use their winnings.