GGPoker’s GGMasters Overlay Edition kicked off on Sunday and things did not go particularly well. Technical issues put a damper on the proceedings, preventing some players from taking their seats or depositing.

The online poker room let players know that it was aware of the situation about 20 minutes into the first starting flight, saying that the massive influx of players was creating server problems. Though the Day 1 was completed as scheduled, the issues never really disappeared.

Players who entered satellites, in particular, expressed their discontent with how things were going. Some had already registered for the GGMasters Overlay Edition or related satellites, but found they could not actually join the tournament.

Glenn Keogh, a poker pro from Ireland, said he was in a satellite that had $150,000 in Overlay Edition tickets guaranteed and only $125,000 in buy-ins. They were minutes away from late registration closing and nearing the money with about 70% of the field eliminated, when the tournament closed.

Others experienced similar problems or even had their satellites cancelled before they even started. GGPoker has apologized and is refunding players according to site policy, but it is still frustrating, especially for those who were already in tournaments and nearing the bubble.

The GGMasters Overlay Edition is GGPoker’s highlight event of the tournament series. It is a $150 buy-in tournament and, surprise, it is a freezeout! And that’s the key, because GGPoker has guaranteed a prize pool of $5 million. After subtracting the rake, GGPoker needed over 36,000 entrants to meet the guarantee, a number it knew would be difficult to reach, hence the name “Overlay Edition.”

And overlay there is. The tournament still attracted 33,806 players, so it came close, but not close enough to avoid an overlay of $334,772.

But what’s the big deal about overlay, anyway? Obviously, the poker room either loses money on the tournament or has to take a bite out of its profit by contributing its own money to prize pool. For players, though, the appeal is that there is more money in the prize pool than players required to generate it, hence offering everyone more value for their buy-in. Theoretically, it is easier to make money (and more of it) because there are fewer players in the tournament than there would normally be for that prize pool.

There are degrees of overlay, of course. If GGPoker came up three players short of the guarantee, the overlay would be largely meaningless. In this case, though, over $300,000 in overlay is pretty nice. All told, 4,800 players will make the money.

Day 2 has gone ahead as planned today. There are currently fewer than 2,000 players remaining as of this writing and the current payout to the next player eliminated is $527. Top prize is $343,564.

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