In order to attract players to their online poker sites, many of the best online casinos and poker rooms offer multi table poker tournaments with guaranteed prize pools. When the number of buy-ins fails to reach the guarantee, this is known as an overlay and these games represent excellent value to players who reach the bubble and cash out.
An example would be a $1.000.00 guaranteed tournament with a $10.00+ $1.00 buy which is only entered by 80 players. Although the tournament may now pay fewer places than if it had been fully subscribed to, those who get into the money will win 25% more than what they would have done if the game had not been guaranteed.
It is always worth looking out for games that offer this value to players. Some sites have a reputation for offering tournaments with overlays, and they are prepared to continue adding prize money to the pots for a while because, as word gets around, more players will register on their site and what the site loses in one game it can make up with the fees players pay to join other tournaments.
Also, out of peak poker hours (particularly on sites which accept players from the US) there may be scheduled tournaments which cannot attract the required number of players, and these can prove quite lucrative if you are a UK poker player who can play online at irregular times. There are however, two factors you should be aware of when searching through poker site lobbies for undersubscribed tournaments.
Re-buy and Add-on tournaments are often advertised with a guaranteed prize fund, and although these may initially be undersubscribed by as much as 50%, once players start restocking their stacks, or increasing them with an add-on during the first break, the value could well have disappeared. Learn to identify the symbols alongside the games in the tournament lobbies so you do not inadvertently stumble into one of these games (unless you want to!).
Late registration allows players to enter a game well after it has started – sometimes up to an hour later! Some players prefer to get involved in freeze-out tournaments several levels into the blinds, and rather than sit out from the beginning of the tournament (and subsequently lose their early blinds) they will join half an hour into the game – making up the shortfall in the numbers and removing any value that was present.
Of course, you may have started exceptionally well in either the R/A or late registration tournament and be grateful for the additional money that you will win should you go on to finish in the prize money, but looking out for overlays in multi table poker tournaments will provide extra value to your poker playing experience and more money in your poker bankroll.
When you log-in to your favorite poker room it’s always worth a troll through the GTD tournaments, you may just find some exceptional value in the form of a tournament overlay.