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“Hand-for-hand” play is instituted in multi-table tournaments, often just before the money bubble bursts and payouts begin, or after the tournament is in the money and just before another pay jump occurs. Hand-for-hand play means each remaining table much complete a single hand before the next one is dealt, thereby ensuring all tables play the same number of hands before the next elimination occurs.

Hand-for-hand play helps prevent players from stalling in order to slow down their table in the hopes an elimination occurs at another, faster-playing table.