Online poker tournaments come in all shapes and sizes, each with its own distinct advantages to certain types of players. There is one particular tournament that can be beneficial to any and all poker players, if they ‘play their cards right’, so to speak. We’re talking about guaranteed poker tournaments with overlays.
A guaranteed poker tournament (GTD) is one that comes with a pre-determined, minimum prize pool. For an example, a $100,000 Guarantee that cost $200 to buy-in would pay a $100,000 prize pool even if only 200 players registered. In normal poker tournaments, $200 paid by 200 people would only work up a $40,000 prize pool.
The GTD nature of the tourney ensures the prize will be at least its guaranteed amount. When not enough players post the buy-in to reach the guaranteed prize, this is called an “overlay”.
Note: We should also point out that a guaranteed tournament that takes in more entries than required – the opposite of an overlay – will exceed its expected prize pool.
Taking advantage of overlays is a great way to increase your positive expectations. By competing against a smaller field of opponents with a larger prize pool, your expected value rises as it becomes more likely that you will finish in the money bubble.
Of course nothing is guaranteed, outside of the prize pool itself. You’ll still need to apply a strong poker strategy, surviving the first wave of loose all-in bettors, and then besting the remainder of the field with positional strategy and the usual psychological warfare. But all in all, the mission is a lot easier when there are fewer combatants to contend with.
Where to Find Overlay Tournaments
Finding a good overlay poker tournament won’t be that easy, but they do occur frequently enough to play in at least one, if not a few of them, each week. Your best bet is to sign up at moderately large online poker sites. Full Tilt Poker was once a great place to find overlays, but after Black Friday not so much, but there are still Full Tilt alternatives out there. Also, make sure to look at the different kinds of US, European or UK poker bonuses that these sites offer.
In the world of online poker, finding any edge, no matter how slight, is a great way to increase your profit margin and minimize losses on the virtual felt. Taking advantage of overlays is just another way to accomplish that goal.