Poker ring games are also known as cash games or live action games in poker parlance. Poker ring game tables normally operate round the clock. Many poker casinos have a minimum and maximum number of players requirement. When a player wants to play a ring game he approaches a table that has a vacant seat and buys in. When he wants to stop playing he simply cashes out. Ring games are played with chips that are exchanged with real money. Ring games have certain established practices that are inviolate and novice poker players should take care to follow them. If a player removes his poker chips from the table he will have to cash out and vacate his seat. Also a player cannot add to his chips while the poker deal is in progress.
On the other hand poker tournaments are more structured. They usually begin at a time that has been previously announced and are played over a fixed time period at the end of which one poker player is declared the winner. Each player pays an entry fee called a buy in. All players start with an identical amount of poker chips, which cannot be exchanged for real money. At the end of the poker tournament the player with the most chips is the winner. If a player loses all his chips he is usually out of the tournament. There are re-buy poker tournaments in which a player who has lost all his chips can buy more chips to continue playing. There are also progressive poker tournaments in which a pre-decided number of poker players advance to the next round.
The prize in poker tournaments is usually independent of the value of chips with the winner. The prize is announced before the poker tournament commences. In most poker tournaments the prize is the total collection of entry fees less house costs. Invitational poker tournaments, also known as free rolls, are special tournaments. These are open only to invitees who are either poker professionals or winners of satellite poker tournaments. Invitational poker tournaments have sponsored prizes and are grand affairs. Another special type of poker tournament is the Sit-and-Go tournament. Such poker tournaments do not commence at designated times but as soon as the table is full. They are usually single round tournaments.