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Poker Shootout

Shootout Tournament - Shootouts

by Jesse Knight
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Shootout Tournament
Shootout - A tournament which is structured so that each table plays down to one winner, and then the table winners face off.


Poker is a game that can either be played as a ring game or a tournament. Tournaments can be structured and formatted in many different ways. For example, some tournaments allow for rebuys and others do not. Some tournaments are spread as limit tournaments and some are spread as either pot limit or no limit. Virtually any type of poker game can be played as a tournament.

In most poker tournaments, as the tournament progresses and players are eliminated, the tables are broken in a specific or random order, and the players from those tables fill in the empty seats at the remaining tables. This method keeps the tables relatively full at all times until the final table is reached. A shootout tournament is formatted differently. In a shootout, players are not moved and/or consolidated while the tournament is in progress. Instead, each table plays down to one winner, and then the table winners play off. At this point, the players are usually in the money, and the tournament reverts back to the traditional format where players are moved and consolidated.

If the casino is expecting a large number of players for their tournament, they may elect to hold a double shootout or a triple shootout. A double shootout requires all of the table winners to play a second shootout rather than reverting back to traditional tournament play. A triple shootout is designed to handle more players than a double shootout, which can be capped at 81 or 100 players, depending upon whether the tables are being spread 9 handed or 10 handed. A triple shootout requires players to play three rounds of shootouts.

Do not confuse a shootout tournament with a freezeout tournament, as they are not the same thing. A freezeout tournament is simply a no-rebuy tournament. The term “freezeout” simply indicates that when you lose all of your chips you will be frozen out from the tournament, and will not have a chance to rebuy or re-enter. The term freezeout is used only occasionally to describe tournaments, because it is often assumed. Unless it is otherwise stated, most tournaments are freezeouts by default. If rebuys or re-entry is an option for any given event, or if any exotic structure is in place, it will be specifically stated.

Many players like the shootout format because it gives the skilled players an advantage. As a shootout goes from a full table down to a heads up match, it requires a substantial amount of adjustments and changing gears from the players. Players who are able to make these adjustments skillfully are able to gain a significant advantage over those who cannot.

There are a great many types of tournament to choose from, and some players choose to play only the events which suit their particular set of skills. These players are sometimes referred to as “specialists.” If a shootout specialist chooses to play a different type of tournament, he may refer to it as his “road game.” There are also a large number of players who do not consider themselves specialists, but do prefer a specific type of tournament over other types. Casinos know that they have to spread a variety of different tournament games and formats if they want to appeal to a wide range of players. Since they want to get as many players as possible to come into the casino, many casinos will spread a variety of different types tournaments during a given tournament series.

Spreading a variety of different tournaments is done as a service to the players at some expense to the casino. All things being equal, most casinos would prefer to spread only No-Limit Hold’em Freezeouts. This is mainly because this specific type of tournament requires the minimum number of tournament staff, and returns the players to the casino and cash games relatively quickly. Casinos only occasionally spread shootouts, because of the extra headaches and expenses associate with running them. The main reason that casinos shy away from shootouts is that they require several extra dealers to work for many extra hours, as each table must be played down to one winner rather than being consolidated. Even if there are enough dealers available, this can add substantially to dealer payroll for the event. Shootouts can also take longer to complete than traditional tournaments, because the tournament cannot be restarted until all first round tables have played down to one winner and have taken a break. This can leave several of the early table winners out of action for hours, and extend the amount total time the tournament will take, adding payroll from the tournament staff and reducing the amount of live play from the players.

Usage: Shootout No Rebuys, Shoot Out table Winner

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