Back when the poker boom hit there was no shortage in tournament players and huge fields. If you think back then, the casinos didn’t give much in terms of chips and the structures were pretty bad compared to todays tournaments. There were limits to the number of entries because they would fill up so fast and not have enough tables or dealers to run anything any bigger. This also meant that you could only enter once. As the poker boom wore off and coincidently the economy took a downturn, poker tournament fields were devastated.
Re-buys were standard in quite a few tournaments as a way to add more chips and add to the prize pool, but only for existing tournament players. As the casinos struggled to get even medium size fields they had the brilliant idea to allow re-entries. What also helped this was that the structures slowed down to a crawl, so that if you did re-enter you would still have a decent stack for the blind structure. Whether it was allowing re-entries until level 3 or level 10, the players had another shot to play again. And of course the prize pools swelled along with the number of “entries”. The reason I put entries in quotes, is that it’s the number of paid entries, not the number of people in the tournament.
People immediately loved this. Some loved it because they got a second, third or fourth chance at cashing. Most players loved it because now the prize pools got up to poker boom levels. We as dealers loved it because most tournaments have some sort of add-on or dealer tip included in each buy in. We were getting our share. With more levels and chips and more dealer downs to split up between the now bigger prize pools it helped our bottom line.
Of course with new changes come negativity. You start to hear people complain about the guy that buys in 5 times, and cashes. They complain that during the early levels, players play more loosely, they try and double up or re-enter. When I looked at who was complaining it was the guys that will never buy in more than once. It was the players that played so squeaky tight, everyone, even the waitress knew what you had when you raised. In an effort to try and “please” everyone the casinos and tournament organizers adjusted some rules, only allowing 1 re-entry, or even having some tournaments that have no re-entries.
This is entirely my opinion, as I have always done, but why would you ever limit re-entries? First the casino should never do it, as they get a fee for every paid entry. They also don’t have to staff more because you aren’t increasing the number of players, you are just increasing the prize pool. If they usually get 100-130 players for a regular tournament and 50-60 re-entries. This will mean that they will only ever have to have 10-13 tables, but they will have 150-190 paid entries. As they fill the open seats with re-entries they never increase the number of tables needed. The tourney will not break down as fast which may be the only minimal cost, but your staff is scheduled 8 hours, its shouldn’t be a problem. The tourney will last a little longer because there is more chips in play. Wow you had a bunch of entry fees and you have people in the room longer, how is this a bad thing? One thing I’ve heard from casinos is that the tourney players will blow their money with re-entries in the tournament instead of playing cash games. How is this a problem? First they are paying a fee, from 10-50% juice on an entry, every entry. If they go to a cash game, who is to say that they will sit there paying rake at a rate of 10-12/hr? If they bust a tourney, their entry is paid in full, again and again. If they bust in cash, they will be gone and pay no more rake.
As for the player complaints. The first thing is that our tourney, which had 100 players and 50 re-entries. You still only had to beat 99 players to win, not 149. You still only had to beat 90 players to cash and not 140. The prize pool is now increase by 50%. You still only had to get through the same field. There are 50% more chips in play, so the tourney lasts longer. You’ve always asked for longer tourneys so the “best players” cash.
The players that re-enter still have the exact same odds of winning as the previous entries. They still start with the exact same stack that everyone started with. In fact they are getting less for their money. They are now paying 2, 3, 4 even 5 times as much to try and cash. So the guy that re-entered 4 times payed 5 times as much as you did to get to the final table. Even though he is still only playing for the same prize pool. You paid once to get a shot at the 150 player prize pool, so you are getting a 150-1 on your money. He is getting 30-1 on his money, in fact he paid 1/30 of that prize pool. He probably has to get 4th or higher just to get his money back. So if you min-cash you make money guaranteed.
Do you complain if someone buys 10000 lottery tickets to your one? Who are you to deny someone the ability to buy in as much as they want, within the timeframe of course. It’s their money, they can do with it what they want. Yet the tournament benefits with all the extra prize money. If someone cashes say 20% of the time. They play 5 tournaments and cash 1 time on average. If they buy into a tournament 5 times, they can still only cash once, and probably at a loss. Does this mean they will cash? They have the same odds with the last entry as the first, same starting stack, already at a disadvantage because the blinds are higher and the players at the table have a higher average chip count. Why do they do it? They just love to play. Do you criticize a bad cash game player for re-buying over and over every time they get felted? NEVER. Why do they keep re-buying? Because they want to play, will they get their money back? Probably not, since they are stuck so much now, as opposed to one buy in.
They complain that these guys shove early and often and gamble, because they can just re-enter. Just think about what you are saying. Tournaments are tough, even tougher now that a lot of bad players are gone forever and we are left with players with lots of experience. You are complaining that they are willing to give you chips with bad hands? They are over betting bad hands? When is this a bad thing for a good tournament player? Isn’t this what you want? Or do you want to sit there and grind against other grinders. Plus its only for the first few levels.
They complain because the “good” players are giving themselves more chances to win. So? You can re-enter as well.
The world isn’t fair. People have more money, success and fame than you. Why be jealous? Just take advantage of the benefits they are giving you, bigger prize pools, longer tourneys and bad play. Plus you have the exact same rules and odds. And who are you to EVER criticize how someone spends their money? You would never do it in a cash game. I don’t know how most players feel about re-entries, but this is my opinion and if anyone wants to debate just leave your reasons in the comments and I will gladly reply.Brought to you by Your Poker Dealer