The two largest and most well-known tournaments are the World Poker Tour championship event and the World Series of Poker, both held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 2005 World Series of Poker was the first held outside of Binion's Horseshoe Casino, though the final few days of the main event were held in the legendary Benny's Bullpen. Future tournaments have been held at one of the Harrah's Entertainment properties; since 2005, the Rio has served as the host venue.
Arguably the most publicized European tournament is the Poker Million, which began in 2000 on Sky Sports, following on from the success of the Late Night Poker television show.
In addition to these events, there are other major tournaments throughout the year. The World Poker Tour broadcasts a series of open tournaments throughout the U.S. and Caribbean with buy-ins from $5,000 to $25,000, as well as a European event.
The security features of casino chips are numerous. Artwork is of a very high resolution or of photographic quality. Custom color combinations on the chip edge (edge spots) are usually distinctive to a particular casino. UV markings can be made on the inlay. Certain chips incorporate RFID technology, such as those at the new Wynn Casino in Las Vegas. Maker's marks, such as Paulson's top hat and cane, are also difficult to reproduce.
Counterfeit chips are rare. High levels of surveillance, along with staff familiarity with chip design and coloring, make passing fake chips difficult. Casinos, though, are prepared for this situation. According to one report, a Canadian casino removed all chips from the gaming floor and replaced them with new sets with alternative markings, which resulted in the arrest of the attempted counterfeiters. All states require that casinos have a set of chips in reserve with alternate markings, though they may not be required to have exactly the same number of reserve chips as they do on the floor.
Casino chips used in tournaments are usually much cheaper and much simpler in design. Because the chips have no cash value, usually chips are designed with a single color (usually differing in shade or tone from the version on the casino floor), a smaller diameter, and a basic mark on the interior to distinguish denominations; however, at certain events (such as the World Series of Poker or other televised poker), chips approach quality levels of chips on the floor.
One or more players are required to make forced bets to create an initial stake for which the players will contest. The dealer shuffles the cards, cuts, and deals the appropriate number of cards to the players one at a time. Cards may be dealt either face-up or face-down, depending on the variant of poker being played. After the initial deal, the first of what may be several betting rounds begins. Between rounds, the players' hands develop in some way, often by being dealt additional cards or replacing cards previously dealt. At the end of each round, all bets are gathered into the central pot.
At any time during a betting round, if a player makes a bet, opponents are required to fold, call or raise. If one player bets and no opponents choose to call (match) the bet, the hand ends immediately, the bettor is awarded the pot, no cards are required to be shown, and the next hand begins. Players may choose to check, this is where no one makes a bet and the next card is dealt. This possibility of winning a pot without showing a hand makes bluffing possible. Bluffing is a primary feature of poker, one that distinguishes it from other vying games and from other games that make use of poker hand rankings.
At the end of the last betting round, if more than one player remains, there is a showdown, in which the players reveal their previously hidden cards and evaluate their hands. The player with the best hand according to the poker variant being played wins the pot.