Definition of Hand for Hand
Hand for hand is a multi-table situation that occurs during the latter stages of a poker tournament. During hand-for-hand play, each table must wait for all other tables to complete their hands before starting play on another hand.
Hand for hand is necessary because as a poker tournament draws closer to the next tier of prize payouts, it becomes vital to have a precise and definitive ranking of players in order to pay eliminated players accurately.
Poker tournaments also use hand for hand to prevent stalling. If tournaments allowed stalling, players near elimination would tarry. By delaying, other players might bust out first, and they would move up the prize structure.
Typically, the hand-for-hand play begins when the next player to be eliminated will be the final spot at that payout tier. Once into the next tier, play resume as normal because hand for hand slows down play significantly.
Hand-for-hand play attempts to eliminate ties. It does for the most part, but there are all-in situations during hand for hand that can tie. In that case, the tournament combines the payouts, and splits them among the tied players.
Some large tournaments, including the World Series of Poker, sometimes use round for round as an alternative to hand for hand. A round means once around the table or nine hands, and this mode generally plays much faster.
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