Large Overlay Poker Tournaments (MTTS)

Some online poker sites are notorious for holding large overlay poker tournaments. These hold incredible value for the players, as they have a better chance of cashing, with a higher prize on the table than should be warranted for such an event.


Best Overlay Poker Sites


  • What Is a Poker Overlay ?

An overlay occurs when a guaranteed poker tournament does not draw enough entrants to cover the guaranteed prize pool. The overlay is the amount that the poker room added in order to cover the prize. It may not seem like a big deal, but in reality, it presents a great opportunity for moderately skilled poker tournament players.

  • Overlay Mechanics

Let’s say you join an online poker tournament with a $200 buy-in, where 2,345 players participate, competing for a $300k GTD prize pool. Multiplying the players by the buy-in, we find that the tournaments prize will be hiked up to $469,000. Yes, the prize is larger, but you’re competing against so many players, your chances of claiming a slice of that pie decrease.

What if you joined the same online poker tournament, but only 1,190 players entered? That would only draw in $238,000 of the guaranteed $300,000 prize pool. A tournament of that size would require 1,500 players to fill the reward coffers. You essentially survived the first 310 players without lifting a poker chip.

  • Where to Find Large Overlay Poker Tournaments

Large overlay poker tournaments occur more often than you may think. You won’t find many at the most populated poker sites, like PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker, but the smaller, reputable poker rooms are the best place to find them. UB Poker, Absolute, and also Full Tilt has started offering these types of tournaments.

Bodog Poker is an excellent place to start. Bodog hosts a $150+$12, $100k GTD tourney every Sunday with frequently large overlays. A good example was the Sept 21st, 2009 $100k GTD, where only 405 entrants drew just $60,750 of the full $100k GTD. Bodog Poker sees large poker tournament overlays on a regular basis.

Party Poker is another one, hosting a $200+$15, $300k GTD each Sunday where participation levels average about $280k of the full $300k prize. UltimateBet also hosts a commonly overlayed poker tournament each Sunday; a $200+$15, $200k GTD averaging under 900 entries each week. Obviously, these overlays aren’t as large as those often found at Bodog, but they are still good value for strategic tournament players.

  • How to Win in an Overlay Poker Tournament

All you need to win a large overlay poker tournament is a great deal of patience, and the ability to strike like a cobra when the right opportunity comes along. You need to play an extremely tight poker game all the way through to the bubble, only risking chips with premium starting hands. Once you’ve made the bubble, you’ve already won.

When the tournament first starts, don’t put any chips into the pot unless forced. You’re going to have a brief wave of players that want to go all-in from the start. Loose players like these tend to get lucky now and again, and you don’t want to falter this early on, no matter how good your hand appeared to be. Simply fold and wait for the frivolous all-in bettors to eliminate themselves.

Once you’ve hit the bubble, you can adjust your strategy to whatever has worked best for you in the past. We would suggest a moderately tight game, taking advantage of late position and stealing blinds here and there to keep your stack level. Never risk it all on a single hand without the nuts. The longer you can hold your seat, the higher the profit you stand to make in your poker tournament.

Remember that as a large overlay poker tournament, you started out with a strong advantage. Play strategic poker and milk it for all you can. Good luck! When trying to make your first deposit, look no further than using instant echecks, which are the easiest and most convenient deposit method.

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