I've currently been a witness to the following scenario in a MTT:

Bubble play - 26 players still in play, 24 places paid.

  • Player A gets eliminated on table 1.
  • Player B gets eliminated on table 2
  • Player C notices that there are only 24 players left in the tournament and doesn't hesitate to go all-in... and gets eliminated.
  • Player B finishes in a paid position.

Is it the pre-play amount of chips that determines the final position? This is a simplified example, but in huge tournaments with thousands of players playing at the bubble, it must be quite common.

2 Answers 2


Whomever had the most chips at the beginning of the hand places best in the tournament.

The number of players or tables does not matter, it just the same as three people going all in on a single table and two bust out. Whomever had the most chips at the beginning of the hand places highest.

On the bubble the same thing, if there are 101 players left and it is hand by hand, two people go busted, the one with the least number of chips has finished out of the money at 101th place, the other guy with the most starting chips finishes at 100th in the money.

If it is discovered that they both started with exactly the same number of chips, rare but it happens, they split the prize money for the places they placed in. In my example they would just split whatever in 100th place. If they were a little better, like say 88 and 89th place the prizes for the two spots would be added together then split between them.

  • In an online tournament in a hand-for-hand state, it seems totally reasonable to use each player's pre-hand chip count to determine position. But is that really feasible in a larger live tournament where there are dozens of tables running simultaneously? 568 places paid in the 2014 WSOP main event, so that's at least 64 tables going through the first money bubble. How is that handled logistically? Do the dealers just have to keep explicit track of stacks better in hand-for-hand? Or do they just do the averaging more aggressively? Oct 1, 2014 at 21:24
  • Of course, it is actually quite simple. The tournament announces hand per hand, the floor people watch to make sure all the hands are complete before the next hand proceeds. There are never many players going broke, usually only one, maybe two, simple task to count them down.
    – Jon
    Oct 1, 2014 at 21:35
  • When you deal no limit you don't pull the bets in if people are all in and there is to be no more action. (Its a waste of time). At any rate the bets will be out there to count if a player busts out.
    – Jon
    Oct 1, 2014 at 21:39
  • 1
    But people don't always go all in right away. There's the possibility of several people in the pot and even several side pots. Of course it's possible to reconstruct the hand from the betting, but it's not necessarily a "quite simple" process. It's heavily dependent on the action. If it's a heads-up pot and the all-in player loses, then that's a trivial exercise, but it's not the general case. Oct 2, 2014 at 1:16
  • Everyone is on the same hand you see. That is what hand per hand is, just because they make the play after another player they are both on the same hand.
    – Jon
    Oct 2, 2014 at 4:22

As Jon said, in online tournaments starting chip stack is usually used to determine ranking. This usually isn't the rule in live tournaments (for the reasons Chris Farmer raised).

In a live tournament generally all the players eliminated in the same hand would split the prizes. So in the scenario you described in a live tournament generally players A, B, and C would split the money for 24th place.

  • In live play the players prize is precisely determined by chip count, just as in online play. People who are not experienced with this are making a bad assumption that this is to complicated to do. It is not, it is a drop dead simple process. It is a process as easy as determining side pots. Just because one does not understand how something is possible, does not mean it is impossible or even complicated.
    – Jon
    Oct 19, 2014 at 21:03
  • 1
    Well, I'm not confident for smaller tournaments, but the WSOP specifically has players from differnet tables eliminated in the same hand tie (if they're at the same table chip values count). Check the rules at: wsop.com/2013/2013_WSOP_Rules.pdf. Rule 117 lays it out.
    – Julian
    Oct 20, 2014 at 21:49

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