What are Poker Tournament Overlays?
Online multi-table tournaments (MTTs) are available in a wide assortment of structures and styles. It is up to each player to find the MTT that is most profitable to him. Some players may prefer the deep stack tourneys, while other players will be more suited to the turbo variety, and still, others may favor six-handed tables.
One tournament which all players will find beneficial is overlays. Poker tournaments that have a pre-determined, guaranteed prize pool in which the number of entrants does not match the anticipated total of buy-ins by the poker room hosting the event.
It’s Like Bonus Money
Taking advantage of tournament overlays is akin to receiving bonus money, as a smaller number of opponents with an increased prize pool is good value for your money. Your chances of finishing in-the-money in correlation with the total amount of the prize pool and the number players involved are higher.
Of course, there is no guarantee that the tourney will be profitable for you. Much will depend on your skill and strategy. However, it should be an easier task with fewer opponents in your way.
Why Sites have Overlays
They Attract Players
You may be wondering why poker rooms offer guaranteed tournaments. Most are of the belief that its good business, and it is. Guaranteed prize pools tend to attract players, which translates into profits for the poker site.
Scour any relatively large site and it’s quite evident that players flock to the dollar signs affixed to prize pools of guaranteed tourneys. Most players who play several tournaments simultaneously tend to favor the guaranteed choices.
Overlays Benefit Everyone
Smaller poker sites offer guaranteed events in hopes of word spreading among online players that overlays can be found there, which will typically lead to more players signing up.
So the poker site spends extra in adding funds to the guaranteed prize pool but gains some new players that may have otherwise not signed up and deposited money at the poker room. In that regard, overlays benefit everybody.
Finding overlays is not always an easy task, especially with some sites that allow players to enter the tournament has begun. Some poker rooms permit players to join the action one hour or more after the tourney has started.
Wait to Start
If you’re one of those players who likes to be entered prior to the first hand being dealt so as not to miss any hands or blinds, then you may be at a disadvantage in not knowing how many players will eventually compete in the tourney. But if you don’t mind missing the first few rounds of action, then you can monitor the tournament and see if there is an overlay prior to the cut-off for players to buy-in.
Large poker sites will naturally have more tournaments available to choose from, thus the chances of finding overlays tend to be greater. Full Tilt used to be a good site to spot some overlays, but since the site has been dormant for more than a year now, sharp players have had to look elsewhere.
Off Peak Hours
I can offer a few tips on finding overlays. Tournaments scheduled at off-peak hours or during times that a majority of the site’s players may be sleeping are good spots to find overlays. There are a number of poker networks that cater to European players. As such, you can sometimes calculate the slower times or less player traffic at these sites.
Small Player Bases
Also, although I mentioned that your odds are greater at finding overlays at larger sites, this doesn’t mean you should avoid checking smaller poker rooms. Some of the tinier sites don’t have the substantial player base required to balance their schedule of guaranteed tournaments. So it is often worthwhile to be searching some of the smaller online poker sites for overlay possibilities.
While playing online poker, any edge or advantage that you can find, no matter how small, can increase your profit potential and success. Finding and entering guaranteed tournament overlays is one of the ways crafty players can maximize value and use the additional prize pool money to their advantage.
So whether you actively seek out overlays or just happen to find one every now and then, you should take advantage of the situation to the fullest by entering a tournament with a guaranteed prize pool that’s greater than the number of entrants. If you play your cards right in the tournament, your bankroll will certainly benefit.
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