Late Registration: What are the pros and cons?

Late registration often comes up as a point of feedback on the forum. Some think we shouldn’t have it, while others think it’s a benefit. I’ve just posted an article over on our blog by @Chasetheriver who highlights a few pros and cons, but wanted to bring the discussion over here. What do you think? Are there advantages or disadvantages to registering late in MTTs?

ipersonally like the site but hate the late registration other day i was ina game 39 players and with late registration it was up to 79 players i like the site but that late registration totally turb=ns me off i feel that it should have 5 minute max for late registration as as an idea


If it’s a bounty tournament, there’s huge downside to registering late. All players who have already been knocked out no longer have bounties that you can collect. Since the players that get knocked out very early tend to be weaker than those who stick around, that means the remaining player pool will be harder to face.

As for non-bounty tournaments, as the thread title mentions, there are pros and cons. On the “pro” side, by registering late you can avoid some of the goofiness that weak players introduce - 3-betting all-in 100BB with low offsuit aces, calling down triple-barrel bluffs with a medium pocket pair and no blockers - by waiting a few minutes until those players have either been removed from the player pool, or no longer have significant stacks. Also, if I log in five minutes after the hour, I won’t have to wait for another ten minutes until the next tournament start. It increases the likelihood that when I log in at a random time, there will be a tournament that I can join that is a reasonable buy-in given my bankroll, while minimizing the downtime on the site.

On the “con” side, there are quite a few:

  • Too few players may register in advance for a tournament I’d like to play, and it could be cancelled as a result.
  • If players have been eliminated from the tournament, I’ll be starting with a stack that is less than the current average.
  • Similar to the previous bullet, weaker players will likely have fewer chips for me to win, while stronger players will likely have collected some of those chips, giving them more ammunition to come after my stack.
  • Less time to observe competitor tendencies while blinds are low and risk is more limited.

All in all, I try to register right around when a tournament starts, but don’t mind if I’m a few minutes late. What I would mind is if the site were to remove late registration as an option, as it would possibly significantly increase my “downtime” while I’m logged in but not sitting at a table.


One of the biggest problems with late registration is that we all think it is OK to be a bit late! I went three minutes late to join Replay Challenge only to find it had again been cancelled as only two were sitting at the correct time! I do know that if four had been registered, then we would have had our usual quota of regular players there. Memo to self, get there two minutes before start time!


I think this suggests a larger issue. If a tournament cannot attract 4 players to get started, something is off. Whether its timing or buy-in or format or whatever, this degree of lack of interest would alarm me as a host.

There are pros and cons to late registration. IMO, once satellites are calibrated for variable payouts, there shouldn’t be any late registration for them. For regular tournaments, I think it should be a function of the blind levels and the depth of stacks. A 15 minute late registration period for an MTT with 6 minute levels and starting stacks of 50BB seems too long. That same period for an MTT with 200BB starting stacks and 10 minute levels seems too short.

Maybe set late registration periods based on the blind levels? Say late registration is open until level 3 or something instead of having it fixed at x-minutes regardless of the underlying structure? Just a thought.


to please both sides , half tournaments have late registration, the other half no late registration. if I had my way late registration would be done with.


I am in favor of late registration, if only for one reason.

There is a player (whose identify is irrelevant), but whose entire approach to ANY tournament is Bingo (regardless of game type or format). There is one tourney we both play regularly and this player is usually within the first five to sign up, if not the first. It is a small tourney, often starting with less than three or four tables which means if you sign up before “late” registration there is a good chance you will be seated at the same table as Mr Free Space.

I can avoid getting seated at a table with Mr. FS (at least initially), by waiting until “late” registration begins and he/she is already seated. I’ve noticed I am not the only player to do this. Other than this instance I don’t care about late registration, the clock is a clock, just set a deadline and call it whatever you want, pre-registration, registration, early, late, conditional, unconditional, retroactive,spontaneous, delayed, postponed and/or TARDY registration.


main pro for late registration is: the player waiting till the 15th minute to join has guaranteed full starting stack as to maybe getting knocked out or losing much of their stack early on by their bad plays or bad beats and there are less players left in the game so less competition for them to start… that favors the less experienced players to have a lesser range of players for competition, however the downside is they must battle most often better players who also have higher stacks now main pro for registering on time and joining table on time is that you start out with the smallest early blinds to be able to see more flops early on which gives you a better chance at increasing your stack early on to get a nice jump start in the tourney…that favors the more experienced/advanced player that doesnt care about the full range of players left in the tourney for competition. there are more pros and cons but not enough differences to matter that much. most advanced players dont care whether they join in the 1st minute or the last minute because either way they will hold their own as far as their confidence and their play. i do think 10 minutes would be more fair to everyone because of this. you do need some type of late reg. so people that are late can join and it allows for a larger tourney as far as number of entrants.


I thought we discussed this to death like 3 times in the last 2 years.

Late reg is good for Replay, to help keep tournaments fulller. The bigger question is … is it an advantage or disadvantage for the player.

While I can debate both sides of this, the concensus… so I thought, was that while it can be used strategically, overall its a disadvantage to the player. I remember reading no less than 4-5 threads on this topic.

After trying it both ways in many different situations, I can say … Its not an advantage for the player. I also agree with @1Warlock , in saying Late reg shud be standardized ( based on blindsd ) and to before level 3. That also makes sure anyone comming in late somehow, isn’t ejected right away cause its too close to the level 3 auto-boot.

I still thought this topic had been discussed to death already, and now its brought up yet again. That itself makes me wonder about the policy itself.

Back when the other 50% rule exsisted, where you didn’t get T-pts unless you were in the top 50%… One hedge for that was to reg as late as possible, even tho it put the player at a disadvantage. I also think that because so many ppl here have ( apparent
) problems with very aggressive players ( bingo players ) , by allowing Late reg, those players can avoid those playews if they so choose. Now, just because it may be strategic to Late reg, its still not an advantage for the player.

Being a MTT player, 1 reason when I joined ReplayPoker that I liked… was that I never had to wait really to jump into a MTT, unlike a SnG that you wait to get started, specifically because of Late reg. As that MTT player, I also like bigger tournaments… So Late reg helps there by keeping the MTTs fuller.

There is no possible way to pro-rate a Late reg player’s starting stack fairly, other than some arbitrary amount which cannot be fair… since speed of play on any given table, means all tables are NOT paying blinds equally anyway. Therefore for all those players that cry " but I been paying blinds all this time, now they come in with a fresh stack ", I say the following… Then just Late Reg yourself !!!

Late registration is chip-wise a disadvantage. So eliminating a players Choice to register at a disadvantage… ie- late, seems to be stupid. I’m pretty sure if Replay eliminated Late reg, then the overall participation in MTTs will decrease, and the complaining about so called Bingo players will increase.

Keeping MTTs fuller, and giving players flexibility time wise, outweighs any of the so called stategic reasons players might use Late reg for. Keep it , I say.



It’s free poker. With very few exceptions, I don’t organize my life around free poker.

When I feel like pokering, i join any tourney that’s currently running. Eliminating late reg would mean there are less tourneys I can join and play right away, so I would just go do something else. I doubt I’m the only one who thinks this way.

Late reg aides customer retention because people want to play at their convenience. Make it inconvenient and you lose customers. Lose enough customers and you turn out your lights and lock the doors… game over.


I’m not exactly sure how anyone could think having late registered for a tournament would provide any sort of inherent advantage over the field who registered on time. I play very few tournaments on Replay or live, I know that number would significantly decrease (relative to what I already play) if late reg went away. Since I’m here replying though, I’ll throw this one out there. I’d like to see unlimited re-entry on all tournaments with late reg to be open throughout the late reg period, whatever that might be. Cheers!

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So we don’t want to play with the guy who’s chips are on fire? :fire::fire::fire:

that would be nice daymen however…that would create even more bingo players than there are already. mostly on low stake tourneys but on medium too. we are talking about free chips here and there will always be a good amount of pre flop all inners that dont care or respect the game like others do. we already have that with B roll builder tourneys that do that for the 1st 30 minutes on re buys. it ends up being a huge bingo fest where the luckiest ( not best ) players end up with more then trippling their stack and even building it to 10 or more times their stack before the more serious play starts. this skews the whole balance of chip stacks for all the wrong reasons that have nothing to do with skill. do we really want this type of play spreading to all low stake tourneys and even spilling into the medium stake games? i know i dont, and i dont even play those stakes anymore. this wouldnt happen much on high stakes because more advanced players just dont play like that ( as much at least, even with free chips ) even though the payouts increase as more players rebuy.i dont think any advanced player wants to see that type of play on any table. i am just talking about unlimited rebuys as u mentioned but i think 1 rebuy like many live cash tourneys have in casinos would be fine but unlimited with fake chips…thats much different, they do already have 1 rebuy tourneys here, not many tho and none on high stakes. just my opinion and experience… cheers

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Ring tables are already defacto uinlim rebuy already, so FloridaJetSki is correct… Allowing unlim rebuys ( for MTTs ) during Late reg, only encourages Bingo play, AND ( I say ) those who have the means, now have the same advantage they have now on ring tables. ( bankroll bullies ). Plus, its my opinion that most players here don’t know how to use rebuys correctly… SPG is correct, Late reg aides customer retention. I say it also aides in keeping MTTs fuller.

This subject was magnified all this time by the now defunct 50% rule, and players developed workarounds… that once learned, are hard to throw away. Do I like the fact that many MTTs start with 20 ppl then by the end of Late reg, there’s 60-80 ppl ??? Of course I don’t, but I don’t think eliminating Late reg is the answer. Limit it in the same way you limit rebuys… perhaps before the end of lvl 2 ( late reg ).

This topic now goes the way it always has… Advantage vs Disadvantage. Clearly its a disadvantage, but that doesn’t mean its not a tool, cause it is … just the same 1,2,3 rebuys are. You could say “to late reg or not to late reg, that is the question”, and if you do, its kinda no different than saying … If you have 1 rebuy, do you take it to start with and start dbbl stacked, or do you use it to give yourself 1 do-over.



The more the players the more tournament points you can win. I’m for late reg It gives you more of a time table to get in a tournament. I also like the old way where if you don’t make it half way through the tournament you should not get tournament points.



this is not a thing, we’ve covered this… haven’t we?

why is a field of 20 better than 60-80?

@floridajetski @Sassy_Sarah @anyone and everyone else
What I was suggesting is it would be nice if Replay offered unlimited re-entries throughout the late reg period. They do not have any tournaments that offer re-entry at this time, that I’m aware of. Re-entries are different than rebuys, no major casinos offer rebuy tournaments anymore because rebuys are in fact bad for the game. They are significantly more damaging to the eco system and it’s relationship to rec/amateur players. There seems to be a lot of concern on Replay with so called “bingo” players. I do not share in the opinions of people who thing bingo players are bad for the game. If you play well and within the means of which your bankroll can support your winning play then these players should not be a problem. They pad the prize pool and would hopefully on some level allow us to get to final tables playing a little deeper than 12-15 bb avg stacks. That is a luck fest and who wins those depends on who catches the cards… no skill in that at all.

Just my feelings on the subject… :slight_smile:
Happy hunting everyone!

Why do people talk about the “advantages” and “disadvantages” that one thing or another offers one player who does this thing over another player who does the other thing yada yada yada… if everyone has the same options, the same opportunities, the same limitations, and so on and so on… then it’s fair for everyone so can we stop talking about advantages or the lack there of that re-entries or rebuys offer any player. It’s just not real. Better players are better players and they win all the chippies, period dot bingo.

Fair for everyone, or unfair for everyone ??? I have heard the following 1 too many times… " well its unfair to everyone , so its ok " …my butt its ok.

@dayman , since re-entries =/= rebuys as you say, you might wanna give us context on exactly, not kinda, but Exactly what is re-entries… You kinda left that part out didn’t you… heh

@marklou ,
Not only does everyone in a MTT/SnG deserve points, the old way was completely flawed. This too was debated slightly more than Late reg was.

Why not debate new topics, like… Should t-pts and payout both only be awarded @ the end of a MTT/SnG , or as we go along. Perhaps, should ANY connection loss result in ejection from a table, or should players get same time a grey person gets to return. Should there be limits on # of tables/MTTs/SnGs played simultaniously.

Personally, the more restrictions or funky rules, a site uses, the more it becomes less “playing poker” and more “playing XXXXXXpoker poker”. While that can be a niche, most poker players want the poker part to be standardized across any site played on.

I want to play poker on XXXX not play XXXXpoker on XXXX.

Re-entries are the equivalent of a new player coming in to the tournament. You bust out and you are out of the tournament. You now have the option to go back through the registration process and “re-enter” the tournament.

Re-buy tournaments are just that, if you bust out of the tournament you can opt to re-buy where you will pay the tournament buy-in without entry fees added usually at a reduced price from the original buy in. You don’t move seats, you don’t move tables. You re-buy right into the seat you just busted in.

The best example of how re-buys do offer pros a significant advantage over rec/amateur players is… Daniel Negreanu played a $1K bracelet event in the WSOP that was a re-buy he ended up re-buying 27 times. The reason is he had a substantial advantage over the players at his table so he was able to flood his table with chips and effectively win them back in time which gave him a huge advantage not only over the amateurs at his table but the entire field including pros because he had an extremely large chip stack.

EDIT: For Daniel’s $28,000 investment he was able to take down 2nd place for a cool $97,000.