Tourneys with late registration + guaranteed prize pool don't seem fair or realistic

Let’s give an example. A tourney has a 1K buy-in and a 100K guaranteed prize pool. So regardless of the number of players who buy in, the prizes will be 100K total.

First off, this doesn’t seem very realistic to me, if chips were real money the house would lose money if there were less than 100 players who bought in in this tourney. If there was only 1 player buying in, he’d automatically win 99K chips from the house. The concept of guaranteed prize pool with unlimited number of participants is pretty unrealistic to me, either you have a guaranteed prize pool with a fixed number of participants, or if participants are unlimited the prize pool isn’t the sum of the buy-ins of all participants (minus the rake in real life).

Second, the late registration is completely unfair to the players who register in time. Let’s say I register in time when there are 50 participants. But when the late registration is over, there are 200 participants. Then my odds are horrible, I basically paid 1K to gain an average of 1/200 of 100K! So the only way to play these tourneys is to wait until the last minute, and check there aren’t too many people for the odds to be positive. This encourages an obnoxious way to play.

I think guaranteed prize pools are the minimum. If more players enter, the prize pool will be more than the guarantee. So if 200 people enter a 1k tourney with a 100k guarantee, the prize pool will be 200k minus the tournament fees.


SunPowerGuru is right, the guaranteed prize pool is the minimum paid out, meaning if the sum of all buy-ins goes over that minimum the prize pool will be higher.

Guaranteed prize pools are common on all poker sites, including real-money ones, and mostly they don’t have a problem with losing once in a while… There’s enough rake and fees to go around, so across the board they are more likely to win… And in many cases the buy-ins cover the guaranteed prize pool as they tend to attract quite a lot of players :sunglasses:

Late registration is just as common, and the time Replay allows is a lot shorter than on real-money sites already - 1 or even 2 hours are normal on other sites - and in some live games as well. There are reasons to buy in late, and for many players it’s part of their strategy. It can be good or bad, depending on how you play. If you come late, you don’t lose that many blinds/chips, but you also miss the chance to win some decent pots.


Look at the super blind starter here.

Registration is closed. 55 participants. 2K buy-in. 100K guaranteed prize pool.
Sum of prizes is 100K.
But sum of buy-ins is 110K.

A portion of the entry fees goes towards the prize pool. A portion also goes to tournament fees.


In this example, only 18,500 of each entry fee goes into the prize pool, the rest goes towards tournament fees. This is roughly the same idea as rakes at ring tables, and is the way MTTs are run in the real world as well.

MTTs with a guaranteed prize pool are the best odds you will get, because the guarantee will often offset the fees. For example, if the entry is 1k and the guarantee is 100k, if 100 people enter, they are, in effect, waiving the tournament fee.

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Oh I see. So the prize pool does go up eventually if enough players join, but there is a rake which made it look like it didn’t. Thanks for the answers.


Also, all the tourneys have a minimum number of entrants posted. If there are not that many registered the tourney is cancelled and any who have entered are refunded their entry fee. There is no onstance where one person could enter and be the only entrant and win the gaurantee.

I think of the guaranteed prize pool as a bonus. If enough players join the prize pool increases, so I don’t see a downside. Imagine this same tournament with only 30 players, more chips will be paid out than the sum of the buy-ins. If there were no guarantee, only 60K minus the tournament fees, would be paid out. The guarantee attracts more players to the tournaments.