Tournaments seem to be an inevitable part of any online casino. They allow players to make bets at a minimum rate and compete with other players, which is much more entertaining than playing on one’s own. Thus, the majority of online casinos offer a great variety of tournaments giving its gamblers complete freedom of choice. Anyone is free to choose from any option that is considered to be convenient particularly for them. Most of the tournaments have a guaranteed prize fund, which is eventually distributed among the winners.

By paying for a place in a poker tournament or a satellite, gamblers usually pay for a buy-in of an entrance fee. The total number of buy-ins form a prize fund that is distributed among players who took the medal places. The entrance fee is collected and withheld as rake or a separate fee charged by the gambling house. Rakes are charged both in land-based casinos and online poker rooms. Land-based casinos bear higher expenses compared to online poker rooms and therefore charge higher entrance fees than the latter, moreover, land-based casinos usually charge a certain percentage from the prize fund to cover expenses on various events held in the premises of a land-based casino and salaries of the casino personnel. It means that it’s way more expensive for a player to gamble at a conventional casino, than in an online one. In order for a gambler to benefit from a tournament, he/she should look for a possibility to avoid paying the entrance fee or to win enough money to cover expenses on buy-ins.

Read also: Types of tournaments in online poker

Freeroll Tournaments

Free money is available in almost every online poker room. Sometimes it is quite easy to find them, for instance, in a form of tournaments with an added prize fund when each gambling house that hosts a tournament adds a certain amount of money to an already fixed prize fund. At times, free money come in a form of freerolls and competitions for points that can be traded for money of other valuable prizes and do not require buy-in payments. Tournaments that announce availability of an added prize fund are rare to find, however, if found, such tournaments are considered to be a real bargain. On contrary, freerolls and competitions for points are available almost in every online casino.

The majority of websites provide freerolls on the daily basis, while the most popular online gambling websites sites offer freerolls up to several times a day. In order to participate in such tournaments you simply need to create an account on the site, log on to the resource by using a login, and sign up for the tournament. One of the pitfalls you may come across while participating in an online tournament is that gamblers compete for a pitiful money prize against thousands of competitors. It seems less disappointing if gamblers play more for fun than for money.

“Hidden” free money

Secret free money can be spotted both in tournaments and satellites and are available at any buy-in rate. In order to find free money in tournaments with higher buy-ins, we recommend choosing events with guaranteed prizes. Such tournaments are usually allocated in poker room lobby in the section of tournaments with guaranteed prizes. However, not every tournament with guaranteed prizes contains free money. This depends on whether the casino can cover the expenses on the guaranteed prize fund. The prize fund is considered to be "covered" when there is a sufficient number of registered participants of the tournament, which means that the sum of the guaranteed prize fund will be definitely covered or even exceeds the sum of money made up by mere buy-ins.

If a gambling facility covers expenses on the guaranteed prize fund, it means that it can charge an entrance fee in a form of a rake. If there are not enough registered gamblers for the tournament, casinos are forced to cover the difference between the sum of buy-ins and the sum of the stated prize fund at their own expense. This kind situation is called "overlay". Sometimes overlays might account for incredibly big sums of money exceeding by several times the fees charged from gamblers. In order to get free money, players should to learn to identify instances when the gambling facility was made to add its own funds to the guaranteed prize fund due to lack of participants and participate in particularly these tournaments, as long as there are more chances to become a winner. However, it’s not that easy to tell if the guaranteed prize fund wasn’t initially covered by its participants. Online tournaments often allow late registration at several levels, that’s why tournaments that lack participants at first can benefit from those who joined and registered a bit later. Under such circumstances it’s hard to predict the potential possibility of an overlay.

Read also: Importance of poker bankroll management

Overlay in online tournaments

The best option for a gambler is to try to predict the overlay just before the tournament begins. It’s also better to look for an overlay in tournaments with no re-buys. The majority of gamblers are constantly asking why casinos keep hosting tournaments that turn out to be financially counterproductive. The answer is plain to see: in such a manner casinos compile user databases that contain names and contacts of regular tournament participants which means that in a short time there will be enough players to cover the sum of the guaranteed prize fund. Therefore, sponsors of the tournament have no objection to losing money on overlays now in order to form a solid base of players in the near future. Another reason why a casino puts up with losing money in a tournament is that the latter are instrumental in attracting new gamblers who will gamble for money.

This is especially true for weekly and monthly special offers with high-rate buy-ins. A player who has reached a website to participate in a tournament with a buy-in that ranges from $200 to $1000 can also participate in several other games at the same time, either before or after the main tournament. The overlay formula is quite easy: just calculate the total amount of all buy-ins and compare it to the amount of the guaranteed prize fund. If a player aims at never paying the rake, he/she should calculate the total amount of buy-ins and then compare it to the amount of the prize fund. If a sponsor still lacks funds it means that the total amount of buy-ins and all entrance fees will be added to the prize fund in order to form the guaranteed prize fund. Taking into account all the said above, it seems more than reasonable for a gambler to be looking for free money in casinos and tournaments. As a result, more and more players opt for online tournaments.

Read also: Slot Tournaments at Online Casinos: How to Attract Players. Piece of Advice for Operators