PokerStars Launches Phased Tournaments

PokerStarsPokerStars has added a new format called “phased tournaments” to their schedule. In live tournament circles they have been known as flighted events with a number of flights that take place on the first day, but the site has taken this concept and converted it into PokerStars Phased Tournaments for the benefit of their players.

So what are PokerStars Phased Tournaments all about? In short, phased tournaments will be two day events that span over a week, with the first phase of the tournament taking place three times daily on Monday-Saturday at 10:25 ET, 13:25 ET, and 19:25 ET, and culminates with the finale of the tournament on Sunday every week.

This unique tournament format offers more convenience since it allows players to pick their own time they would like to play, with a number of scheduled events throughout the week to suit everyone. It is a format that is expected to gain a lot of interest on PokerStars since more players will be able to participate in them, which in turn will create bigger prize pools. Also, because players are competing against players who entered in the same phase, they won’t be stuck grinding for hours with entrants in the tournament when they don’t necessarily have the time to do this.

For the time being, they will be $11 buy-in events, which should be easy to find in the tournament tab of the PokerStars lobby. These smaller buy-in tourneys should be affordable for just about everyone but the good news is that satellites will also be available to players on a daily basis, and start from as little as $2.20 or 5 FFPs.

Players will be permitted to enter as many “Phase 1” tournaments as they would like to, assuming they haven’t entered previous phases of the tournament and have yet to bust out of the tournament.

So, if you were to survive through to “Phase 2” of the tournament and happen to be really low on chips, you wouldn’t be permitted to play another Phase 1 tournament to try and improve your stack and chances of winning the tournament.

As Brad Willis alludes to on the PokerStars Blog, the best strategy to adopt for playing these Phased Tournaments on PokerStars is to “Go big or go home, Blue Beard!” in order to give yourself every chance if you are lucky enough to reach Phase 2 of the tournament.

The first of the phases will start on Monday, and there will be several additional phase 1 tournaments scheduled throughout the week for any players to participate in. Phase 1 tournaments will go for nine levels, and it is a very friendly tournament structure – the game will start with players receiving 5,000 chips with the blinds at 5/10 and each level will be 8-minutes long.

The players who have survived the first phase will return for phase 2 on the Sunday to complete the tournament and determine a winner. PokerStars normal payout structures apply and these tourneys will have a $5,000 guaranteed prize pool. Although the first phased tournament on PokerStars created a prize pool that was significantly more than the guaranteed prize pool.

This format plays in a similar manner to PokerStars re-buy tournaments, which allow you to buy-in again during the re-buy period, after having lost your starting stack. But there is no denying the convenience and great value that this new format offers. Being a recent addition to PokerStars tournament schedule, you can probably expect there will be changes to Phased Tournaments over the coming months.