Overlay Alerts

    • What is Overlay in Poker Tournaments?
    • Poker Tournaments that Overlay
    • Things to Look Out For When Overlay Hunting
    • Top Poker Sites for Overlay
    • Overlay FAQs

    What is Overlay in Poker Tournaments?

    Overlay in both live and online poker tournaments occurs when a tournament does not have enough entries to cover the guarantee on its prize pool. Not all tournaments have prize pool guarantees, but when they do, it is the responsibility of the tournament operator or poker site to ensure that the prize money paid out is equal to the guarantee. When the number amount of money accumulated through tournament entries falls short of the guarantee, the difference is called the overlay and is covered by operator of the tournament, to ensure that the prize money paid out equals the size of the guarantee.

    Poker Tournaments that Overlay

    There’s no central hub for alerting players to overlays, but we’ll do our best to keep you updated on tournaments that are overlaying. In general we’re looking to point out tournaments that are behaving in one or more of the following ways:

    • Experiencing overlays of more than 10% of the Prize Pool
    • Consistently overlaying (even by a small amount)
    • Overlaying on specific days of the week
    • Prone to overlays due to external circumstances
    • Designed to be very likely to overlay (promotional events or series)
    • Have significant overlays that are a one-off/otherwise unexplained
    • Overlaying in restricted access tournaments
    • Satellites to Live Events that overlay
    • Satellites to online tournaments that regularly miss guarantees

    We will be scouring the sites on a regular basis to look for overlays worth pointing out. This page will be updated weekly with new information from some of the world’s major online poker sites. 

    Things to Look Out For When Overlay Hunting

    1. Newer online poker sites are most likely to be the ones that you will find value in the form of overlays in their mtt schedule. Its an almost unavoidable growing pain for new sites as they can have relatively shallow tournament player pools until they increase their regular daily traffic. Early adopters get the most benefit, so don’t leave it too long, as when a site grows, the number of tournaments that overlay will become fewer and further between.

    2. The more ambitious sites will embrace overlay and continually push the boundaries, increasing guarantees as they grow to maintain overlay in many tournaments on the schedule. It’s a nice strategy and one that any serious mtt player will enjoy taking advantage of. 

    3. Usually its the rake (or tournament fees) that is the hardest part to beat, given that its between 8-12% of the buy-in, in most mtts. If the overlay is more than the amount the site is making in rake, this is when real value comes into play. As a rule of thumb, look for overlays that represent more than 10% of the prize pool, a these are the ones that have not covered the prize pool and are having money added by the site to cover the shortfall. These are the creme de la creme of overlay tournaments and are the most sought after by value hunters.

    4. You won’t always hear about overlays unless you go and look for them yourself. Why? Because if a value hunter tells someone else about an overlay, they will likely come and join the tournament as well, therefore reducing the amount that the original value hunter benefits from the value on offer. Its the nature of overlays, nobody tells others about it. Apart from PokerWired, we will let the secrets out of the bag. Not all of them, but enough to get you started finding more for yourself.

    5. If a tournament has late registration, be aware that what looks like a potential overlay very probably isn’t going to be an overlay. Poker sites are pretty clued up about how many players will enter a tournament and set late registration accordingly to help meet the guarantee. There will often be satellites running after the start of a tournament and the number of seats awarded in these should be added to the current number playing in order to get a clearer picture of how much money is in the prize pool.

    6. Re-entry is also a factor, as tournaments have different rules on how many are allowed. Some are freezeouts and offer a single bullet to each player with no possibility to re-buy or re-enter. Others allow a limited number of re-entries, maybe 1, 2, 3 or more. Finally there are some tournaments for which the number or re-entries is unlimited.

    7. Start time also comes into play, as when there are fewer players on the site, the more likely tournaments are to overlay. Morning and early afternoon tournaments can often be more prone to overlay than those during peak hours.

    8. Mullti-starting-day (phase tournaments) can also sometimes look like they might overlay, but often it can be that the site has not listed all the starting days in the client, or could add more to the number already scheduled. Phase tournaments can be gold mines for overlay, but sites have tools at their disposal to minimise the damage from poorly performing tournaments, such as giving away tickets to mega satellites that dump huge number of players into the tournament and promoting the tournament via last minute marketing campaigns. Look out for added value from sites in the shape of free tickets to satellites into big guarantee events, as sites like to juice up big events via player rewards.

    9. Satellites also present overlay opportunities, as some sites also intentionally add seats to satellites, or put very big guarantees on them, especially if they are for tagret events that have ambitiuous guarantees themselves. Look out for these also.

    10. Above all, remember that you can't eat value. You only benefit from an overlay theoretically and in order to make that a reality you need to cash, so don't forget to study and improve continuously, or you will become the value that other players seek out.

    Top Poker Sites for Overlay

    1. WPT Global

    Another site that is growing and is ambitious enough to push the boundaries when it comes to overlays. They love overlays almost as much as we do. They even have a promotion called “Lets Bump It Up in which  certain tournaments will have their guarantees raised by a minimum of 10% every time they meet their guarantee. This started off as a limited time promotion last summer but has been received so well that it has been continued and the guarantees continue to grow and when they do, they are very likely to experience overlay for a few days afterwards.

    These are the six tournaments that form a part of this promotion. Three of them take place daily and three of them are Sunday specials. Most of them have experienced significant guarantee growth since the promotion was launched.
    Start TimeBuy-InTournamentCurrent Guarantee (April 5th 2024)
    3pm (UK) Daily$55Lucky Escalator PKO$20,000
    9pm (UK) Daily$22Daily Escalator Turbo$7,350
    12.30am (UK) Daily$110Nightly Escalator PKO$25,000
    9pm (UK) Sundays$110Sunday Slam$81,000
    9.10pm (UK) Sundays$330Grand Slam$54,000
    9.20pm (UK) Sundays$11Mini Slam$13,310
    WPT Global just completed its first KO Series and with $2m guaranteed and it was an overlay hunter’s dream. The $220 main event with a $250,000 guarantee overlaid by $27.200 while with $22 buy-in Mini Main with a $75,000 assured prize pool missed its target by $13,000. This series might now be over, but there will be another in a few months time and in the meantime, there's still plenty of overlay value on the regular daily and weekly schedule. Passport satellites to live WPT and WPT Prime events often overlay, as do the Sunday majors and Escalator events.

    WPT launched a new initiative for March, which was 100% rakeback on all mtts. It wansn't direct rakeback, but regular play qualified players for three different freerolls with $600,000 guaranteed. 

    In April, WPT Global announced it was extending its no rake on mtts promotion, but instead of giving the rake back through freerolls, they simply scrapped the fee element entirely, for most (but not all) mtts. Satellites to live events and private tournaments were exempt and still charged rake during this promotion.
    To get involved and mop up some of this money that's been spilled all over the floor of the WPT Global online poker room you'll need to be living in a country that WPT Global accepts players from. Its quite a restricted list, but if you're lucky enough to be geographically eligible, you'll need to open an account. If you are registering for the first time, use WPT Global promo code NEWBONUS to get the poker room's biggest available bonus then you are all set to hunt for mtt overlay.
    2. Unibet Poker

    Unibet Poker is another overlay lovers paradise. Although there are unlikely to be any really massive missed guarantees in their regular tournament schedule, there are lots of daily tournaments that frequently miss. Sometimes they only just miss and usually its within 10%, so most of the time when there’s an overlay you simply get a discount on the fee element. Certain tournaments are more likely to miss than others and it’s worth keeping an eye out on these. 

    One of the useful things about the Unibet Poker client is that completed tournaments remain in the lobby for a long time, sometimes for several weeks, so its quite easy to check how a particular tournament has been performing to see if an overlay is likely or not. Some sites will very quickly reduce the guarantees of any tournaments that are missing, but Unibet seems to have pretty solid cahones where this is concerned and will usually stick on a guarantee for quite a while even if it is regularly missing.
    New players registering for Unibet Poker benefit from a no-deposit required bonus valued at €20, which includes €10 in tournament tickets and €10 in cash game tickets. Players who make a real money deposit receive €200 in bonus, which is released gradually when playing requirements are met. New accounts have 60 days from sign up to clear the bonus. To read more about this offer, check out PokerWired’s review of Unibet Poker.
    3. GG Poker

    As the biggest site in the world, GG Poker usually meets its guarantees, but not always. Occasionally there will be underperforming tournaments that offer a bit of value, but GG Poker also sometimes deliberately runs tournaments that will overlay, or have a high propensity to do so. The most famous of these is the annual GG Masters Overlay Edition. If you’re reading this now the sad news is that you’ve just missed the 4th running of the $10m guaranteed 2024 GG Masters Overlay Edition and will have to wait another year for the 5th edition. Although not as big as the overlay in 2023, the tournament overlaid by a huge $768,628.
    Only registered players can hunt for overlay value on GGPoker. If you are yet to register, use the GGPoker promo code WIRED when joining to get started with a welcome bonus worth $600.

    Overlay FAQs

    What is overlay in poker tournaments?

    Overlay refers to prize money added by a poker site to a tournament does not have enough entries to cover the guarantee on its prize pool.

    Where are the biggest overlays found?

    Big overlays can happen in both live and online poker tournaments. Events that have larger than usual prize pool guarantees, such as the WPT World Championship or GG Poker's GGMillions Overlay Edition.

    Where can i find information about the latest overlays in poker?

    PokerWired regularly scours a variety of information sources to deliver news of the latest overlays that have occurred in live and online poker, as well as pointing out tournaments that have not yet taken place, but are strong candidates for overlaying.