Hand for Hand is a stage in poker tournaments where every table must finish their current hand before the tournament moves on to the next hand. 

This is done close to the bubble to keep things fair and to avoid any form of angle shooting (such as taking a long time to act in the hopes of passing the bubble). 

Without hand for hand it would be difficult to accurately determine which position players finish in if they bust out at roughly the same time. 

In this guide we’ll learn the following - 

Why is there Hand for Hand in Poker Tournaments?

Hand for hand helps to accurately determine the order of finishers in a poker tournament. It also discourages some forms of angle shooting. In tournaments without hand for hand play players might consider letting their time bank run out in the hopes of sneaking past the bubble without risking chips. 

How Are Finishes Awarded in Hand for Hand Poker?

If two players bust out during the same ‘hand’ (even if they are at different tables), the player with the shortest stack before busting is considered to have busted out first. The exact timing of going broke has no impact since all tables are playing the same ‘hand’. In regular (non hand-for-hand) play it’s the timing that determines the order of the finishers.

When Does Hand for Hand Occur in Poker Tournaments?

Hand to hand occurs specifically when approaching big jumps in payout or on the bubble itself. This is because ordering finishers accurately is very important at these tournament milestones. At other points in the tournament it wouldn’t make a difference to the payout if the order of finishers was not 100% accurate. Hand for hand is only needed when there are still multiple tables remaining. Hand for hand would be pointless on the final table because the table can only play one hand at a time anyway. 


Hand for hand play is exclusive to poker tournaments and helps to determine the order of finishers accurately when there are big jumps in payout. It might be a good idea to consult the current tournament standings at these points and make sure that our strategy is appropriate for the bubble or whichever pay jump we are approaching. 

With over 10 million registered members worldwide, 888poker is the fastest growing online poker room, with a new player signing up every 12 seconds. 888 has been a forerunner in the online gaming industry and a pioneer of safe and responsible gaming since 1997. We are one of the biggest and most trusted brands in the world, providing one of the largest selections of games, high value tournaments and exciting live events for poker players around the globe.