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Complete Guide to Flip & Go Poker Tournaments

Jordan C

Apr 21, 2023

Complete Guide to Flip & Go Poker

If you like a lot of action in your MTTs, you’ll love the Flip & Go poker tournaments offered by GG Poker and Natural8. These tournaments skip right past the boring early stages and catapult you straight into the money. All you have to do is win a flip against your tablemates to get there. Sounds fun? Read on to find out everything you need to know about Flip & Go tournaments.

What is a Flip & Go Tournament?

A Flip & Go tournament is a format introduced by GGPoker Network and Natural8 that does away with the early stages of MTTs, replacing them with a nine-handed poker flip. This eliminates the most boring part of a poker tournament, replacing it with something much more exciting. Gone are the days of playing two and half hours just to miss out on the money; with Flip & Go tournaments, you know within a matter of seconds whether you’re in the money or out of the tournament.

They’ve become so popular that they’ve even found a home at the World Series of Poker! For the past two years, the WSOP has run Flip & Go tournaments thanks to the involvement of GG Poker and Daniel Negreanu, and they’ve been a tremendous success. We’re sure that the popularity of this tournament will continue to grow over the coming years.

How Do Flip & Go Tournaments Work?

When buying into a Flip & Go tournament, you have the option to buy up to five stacks to play with. Doing so increases the cost of entry but makes it more likely you survive the Flip Stage, as you have a bigger stack to work with and are more likely to survive losing one flip. You can buy in for as little as one entry or as many as five entries.

The Flip Stage

Once the Flip & Go tournament begins, you’re taken to a 9-handed table and dealt a hand. However, this isn’t your standard Texas Hold’em hand, as each player is dealt three cards. After all your chips are put in the middle, you need to discard one card and play the other two. This adds a level of skill to what would otherwise be a totally luck based round. Deciding which card to throw away requires a level of poker knowledge about what hands perform best multi-way.

Flip Bonus

A cool feature of the Flip Stage of Flip & Go tournaments is the special Flip Bonuses awarded to players who are dealt certain hands. These bonuses can multiply your starting stack by up to 4x, giving you a huge advantage in the flip round. The Flip Bonuses are awarded as follows.

Flip Bonus for Flip & GoFor example, let’s say you bought in for five stacks, giving you a 5000 chip starting stack. You’re dealt the following hand: A97, giving you a three-card flush. Thanks to the Flip Bonus, your starting stack of 5000 has now become 10,000! This means you have a much better chance of making it through the Flip Stage, as you have more chips to survive with.

The Flip

After the cards have been dealt and all the players have discarded a card, everyone flips to see who will make it through to the next stage of the tournament. If players tie or there are two or more players with chips remaining, another hand is dealt, and all remaining players are put all-in again. This continues until there is just one player remaining.

The Go Stage

After the Flip Stage is complete and each table has a winner, you are randomly seated to begin the second stage of the tournament, called the Go Stage. While there are flights that run multiple times every hour, the Go Stage begins at five past the hour.

From this point forward, everything plays like a regular tournament. Everyone who makes it to this stage of the tournament is automatically in the money, so you can play with the freedom that comes with knowing you already have a prize locked up.

Flip & Go Leaderboards

As well as great prizes to be won playing these exciting tournaments, you can also win additional cash by placing on one of the Flip & Go Leaderboards. These leaderboards are running throughout February, with over $6500 given away every single day.

Players earn one point for each buy-in they start with, plus you can earn extra points by hitting one of the Flip Bonuses. The points multipliers work exactly the same way as the Flip Bonuses, so you can win an extra 2x, 3x, or 4x points depending on your hand.

For example, if you buy in for five starting stacks, you’ll receive five points towards the leaderboard. If you are then dealt three of a kind, your points bonus will be your starting points (5) multiplied by your Flip Bonus (3x), giving you an additional 15 points, bringing your total points earned to 20 points for that flight!

However, this Flip Bonus only applies to your first hand and will not apply to any subsequent hands. There are leaderboards for every stake level and great cash prizes to be won, so be sure to check it out.

Are Flip & Go Tournaments Just Gambling?

It may sound like Flip & Go tournaments are just gambling based on the description of the first round, but there’s a lot more nuance to these tournaments than there may seem.

A Coin TossFirst of all, the only gambling round is right at the start; once you make it through that, you’re going to have to play proper poker if you want to win. This isn’t one of those tournaments where you’re put all in every hand until there’s a winner; you actually get to play some poker.

Secondly, the flip isn’t entirely luck-based, as you need to decide which of the three cards you’ve been dealt will make up your poker hand for the flip. A player with a strong knowledge of how poker works and the equities hands have against each other, particularly in multi-way pots, will have an advantage over someone who doesn’t.

Finally, there are decisions to be made even before you’re bought in to a Flip & Go tournament. Deciding how much you’re going to buy in for is an important step, as buying in for a larger stack means it’s more likely you’ll make it through the Flip Stage but requires a much deeper finish to get a positive return on investment.

While there’s no denying that the first round of a Flip & Go tournament is a gamble (after all, you can’t control what cards are going to come), we think it serves a purpose. One of the worst things about playing MTTs is putting in a substantial time investment just to fall short of the money. However, with Flip & Go tournaments, you know where you stand right away - you’re either in the money or you’re out. We think that’s a worthwhile trade-off, and we’re sure that once you try them out for yourself, you will too.

What are the Benefits of Flip & Go Tournaments?

We’ve spoken a lot about how Flip & Go tournaments work, but why should you choose to play them over a conventional MTT? Well, let’s take a look at the benefits of playing Flip & Gos.

More Exciting Gameplay

Let’s face it, the early rounds of MTTs are boring. The blinds are insignificant compared to the chip stacks, and you can spend hours playing them only to bubble the tournament and not win a thing. Flip & Gos skip right to the exciting part, putting you in the money or eliminating you within seconds of starting the event.

Flip & Go Exciting Poker Tournaments

There Are Edges To Be Gained 

This type of fast-paced, exciting gameplay is sure to attract many recreational players to Flip & Go, meaning there are plenty of edges to be had. Knowing which cards to pick during the Flip Stage and buying in for the maximum gives you the best chance of making it through to the Go Stage and earning some serious cash.

There Are Big Prizes To Be Won

Most Flip & Go tournaments smash the guarantee thanks to the eight flights that run every hour. This means there are big prizes up for grabs if you can make it through to the late stages of the tournament.

What are the Buy-Ins for Flip & Go Tournaments?

If you want to try out Flip & Go tournaments for yourself, there are four buy-in levels to choose from. This means that no matter your bankroll, you can experience the excitement of Flip & Go tournaments for yourself. As well as a range of buy-in amounts, each tournament has a guarantee, so you can be sure that you’re going to be playing for some serious cash. Let’s take a closer look at the entry fee for these tournaments.

  • $0.05-$0.25 : $100GTD

  • $0.50 – $2.50 : $500GTD

  • $3.00 – $15.00 : $1,500GTD

  • $20.00 – $100.00 : $2,500GTD

Eight flights run every hour for each Flip & Go tournament, and you are free to buy in to all eight. If you win more than one Flip Stage, your stacks are combined for the Go Stage, which will give you a monster chip stack compared to the other players at the table.

Flip & Go Tournament Strategy

While it’s tempting to just dive right into these tournaments and start splashing around, it’s important to remember that these are still poker tournaments and require strategy if you want to do well. As well as being a competent tournament player, you need to know how to navigate the unique aspects of Flip & Go tournaments if you want the best chance of coming out on top. To help you out, we’ve created a handy list of tips for each of the key points of a Flip & Go tournament.

  • The Buyin – There are eight preliminary stages to each Flip & Go tournament where you can buy in for a maximum of five stacks. If you want to give yourself the best chance of making it through to the tournament round, you should buy in for the maximum. Having five stacks at this stage helps you survive all ins and gives you even more chips if you hit one of the bonus hands. Once you’ve made it through, it’s up to you if you want to play other stages to help boost your stack even further.

  • The Flip Stage – When choosing your hand for the Flip Stage of the tournament, it’s important to remember that you’re up against eight other players, so you want to pick hands that have the best chance of making a strong hand. For example, if you have a hand such as A76, it’s better to pick the cards that are suited and connected over the high card. This is because your high card will likely be dominated, and the 76 hand has a better chance of making straights and flushes, which are more likely to win.

  • The Go Stage – Once you’ve made it through the Flip Stage and you’re into the Go Stage, this is where you can start playing some poker. On average, you’ll have around 40bb to play with, giving you a healthy stack where you can start making some moves. This stage plays out exactly like a regular tournament, so remember to be aggressive to accumulate chips. If you’re able to keep accumulating, you’ll be able to navigate your stack to the final table, where the big prizes can be won.

Summary

Flip & Go tournaments are perfect for players who love action and hate long tournament times. You get to skip over the most boring parts of a tournament by playing a fun and exciting Flip Stage, and if you’re lucky enough to win, you’re immediately in the money and in the running for a big payday. It’s the perfect mix of gambling and poker that will be sure to have you on the edge of your seat.