A gambling world joke phrase, cliché, or whatever you want to call it is “free money.” It’s usually used in reference to sports betting, when a line seems so off that it’s a no-brainer to place a bet. The sportsbook is giving you “free money.” A similar dream scenario came up on Sunday on partypoker when the poker room quite literally did give away free money with a massive overlay.
Phase 2 of the partypoker U.S. Network Online Series began on Sunday at 5:00pm ET on New Jersey’s partypoker client. The buy-in was $320 ($300 buy-in plus a $20 fee) and the No-Limit Hold’em tournament had a $75,000 guaranteed prize pool. Re-entries were allowed.
There was a problem, though. Not a problem for everyone who was playing in the tournament, but a problem for those who weren’t and wanted in. A software hiccup kept people from signing up during the late registration period. Because of this, only 79 players registered for the event: those who had qualified via satellite and those who pre-registered before the tournament started, as is customary.
By the time partypoker noticed the issue, the powers-that-be decided it was too late to turn back, so they just let it play out. Just $27,604 in prize money had been collected from registered players, meaning there was $47,396 worth of overlay. $600 per player. That’s a lot.
On top of that, the payout structure was not altered to take into account the small number of entrants, so everybody in the tournament made the money. It was only a freeroll for about half of the field, though, as the minimum payout – for places 73-79 – was $217.50. At 36th place, the payout was $360, more than the buy-in (provided one did not re-buy).
Still, knowing that you are only paying at most $102.50 for a $320 tournament had to be a nice feeling.
In the end, a player named “payformedsch00l” won the tournament and nearly $13,600. Looks like he’s paying for a few med school books.
This wasn’t the only tournament in the partypoker US Network Series to have an overlay; it was just the only to have such a large overlay because of a technical glitch. For instance, on Saturday, August 1, the $109 buy-in Progressive Knockout event had a $10,000 guaranteed prize pool but only collected $7,900 in entries from players. The same event a couple days before that also had an overlay, though it was just $800.
On partypoker’s larger, international site, the WPT World Online Championships are also racking up overlays. If you go into the lobby and choose any random event, you will likely either see a tournament with an overlay or total entry collections that barely break the guarantee.