There is a growing popularity on many online poker sites to allow late registration after a multi table poker tournament has commenced. Sometimes this late registration can be up until the first break, and enables players to join a game when half of the original entrants may have already been eliminated. Inasmuch as this is good for the early chip leaders who now get a bigger pot to play for, is it so good for those joining the game at a later stage?
Largely, this is going to depend on the type of tournament you are considering entering. Turbo tournaments and re-buy/add-on tournaments should generally be avoided, because either the blinds have already risen to a point where you may quickly become short-stacked, or you are going to be too far behind the chip leaders to make an impact. Freezeout tournaments, especially those with guaranteed prize money, may well be worth a second look.
When some freezeout tournaments begin you may find (say) 40 players involved with just the top 6 places getting paid, and not a great deal of prize money to tempt you into entering. However, after the late registration period, that figure could have trebled to 120 entrants, and now offers prize money to the top 20 finishers. Even though the prize money may still not be significant until you reach the final table, 30 of the original players may have already been knocked out, so you are entering a multi table tournament with 90 players remaining and a good chance of finishing in the money.
How good your chances of finishing in the money are can be determined by looking in the tournament lobby. As well as discovering just how many players have already left the game, you can tell what position you were to hold if you were to buy-in at this moment. In a game with 90 players still involved, you may be as high as fiftieth, and although you have a chip disadvantage against those at the top of the leaderboard, it might only take one reasonable hand to take you into a challenging position.
Furthermore, consider what you have missed. A typical Texas Hold´em No Limit multi table poker tournament may only play fifty hands an hour. If you are thinking of joining a game after 30 minutes you have only missed 25 hands, and a typically tight player would have only participated in five of these – all at low blinds. Consequently, there can be a significant amount of value to a good MTT player by allowing the early maniacs to have their fun, and joining a table when the blinds have just increased to a point where one hand take you into a good position within a multi table poker tournament that allows late registration.