The Road to Vegas is Paved with Overlay at GG Poker

03 Apr 2024
Jonathan Raab 03 Apr 2024
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  • GG Poker's Road to Vegas has generated over 275 package winners so far
  • Over $300,000 in missed guarantees in first three weeks
  • Most satellites missing guarantees, creating huge overlay value
GG Poker’s The Road to Vegas WSOP Satellite Promotion is Heavily Overlaying and has over $300k in missed guarantees in the first three weeks of the promotion

It’s not often that you associate the world’s biggest site with missed guarantees and overlays. Well, that is unless it is their intention to overlay, as was the case for last month’s GG Masters Overlay edition. However, GG Poker’s Road to Vegas satellite promotion for the WSOP is not intended to overlay, but has been quietly missing guarantees for the last couple of weeks and the amount of overlay that has accumulated in such a short period of time is nothing short of astonishing.

Road to Vegas WSOP Satellite Promotion Starts Well

The Road to Vegas satellites first appeared on GG Poker on March 9th, with the first direct qualifier taking place a day later, on March 10th. The site didn’t really hard launch it at this time, but Daniel Negreanu was quoted as saying that the site was aiming to deliver 1,000 qualifiers for the WSOP main event in 2024. Last year the site sent 774 hopefuls to the world’s biggest and most prestigious poker tournament and this seemed like a natural progression and not one that anyone had any doubt about being achieved. Even with a soft launch (simply scheduling satellites in the client and not really announcing that they had started), the first direct satellite did surprisingly well. It had a 10 package guarantee and it blew that out of the water, producing 23 package winners at a canter.

The qualifying period is just short of four months long and GG Poker is only three weeks into qualifying and already 284 packages have been awarded, with only a handful of duplicate winners. That’s more than a quarter of their 1,000 target in less than a quarter of the time available. With the main event still over three months away, the peak time for interest in qualifying is yet to come, so on the face of it, it’s a pretty good start. 

Overlay Creeps In

But behind the facade of the sheer number of qualifiers there is a different story, one of huge missed guarantees and massive value for overlay hunters. If you weren’t aware that these satellites were producing such value that’s not surprising as players participating in overlaying tournaments tend to keep as quiet as possible about it, lest it reduces the value they are eating. As soon as GG Poker hard launched the promotion, things took a turn for the worse. The number of satellites scheduled increased significantly, but player interest did not.

What’s the Damage?

So how much it has cost GG Poker (so far) in missed guarantees to deliver 278 qualifiers to the WSOP? Bear in mind that this figure does not include any overlays in feeder satellites or the cost of the WSOP satellite ticket drops that have taken place throughout March’s WSOP Super Circuit series. 

Drumroll….the total overlay from direct satellites alone is now at $304,600 and counting. There have been 84 direct satellites so far and apart from a handful of good performers at the beginning of the qualifying period, nearly every satellite has missed its guarantee and some by quite a considerable margin. 

Road to Vegas Stats - After 3 Weeks of Satellites

Number of Road to Vegas Satellites Held84
Number of Road to Vegas Satellites Missing Guarantee68
Number of Road to Vegas Satellites Overlaying54
Number of Road to Vegas Satellites Not Producing any qualifiers*14
Number of Road to Vegas Satellites making guarantee16
Number of $12k Packages Awarded284
Number of Unique Package Winners278
Total Direct Satellite Prize Pool$3,212,332
Total Direct Satellite Overlay$304,600
Biggest Single Overlay$31,800
*Satellites with low participation that end before late regsitration has closed do not honour the guarantee, therefore payouts are in cash and no packages are awarded.

Here’s a breakdown of stats from the Road to Vegas satellites, by satellite type.

$250 buy-in Satellites

These are daily satellites (sometimes scheduled twice a day), usually with 1 x $12,000 package guaranteed, but sometimes with two. Almost all of these have missed their guarantees, with the average overlay per satellite closing in on $2,000.

Satellite Buy-InPackages GTD Per Satellite# Satellites# Satellites with OverlayTotal OverlayAverage Overlay per satellite

$525 buy-in satellites

These take place a couple of times a week, each with 1 x $12,000 package guaranteed. So far there have been five of these scheduled and not a single one has made the guarantee. In fact, two of them were so poorly attended that they finished before the late registration period had ended and therefore the guarantee didn’t apply and no packages were awarded (an unhappy ending).

Packages GTD Per $525 Satellite# Satellites# Satellites OverlayingUnhappy Ending SatellitesTotal OverlayAverage Overlay

$1,200 buy-in satellites with 1, 2 or 5 packages guaranteed

The most frequently scheduled satellites are the 1, 2 or 5 x $12,000 package satellites with a $1,200 buy-in. These take place several times a day and so far there have been 36 of them. However, only ten of these have so far made their guarantees and most that did, only just scraped it. Fifteen of them have missed their guarantees and produced overlay, while a further 11 of them had such low attendance that they finished before the late registration period had ended, therefore avoiding otherwise certain overlay (but giving players an unhappy ending, as no packages are awarded). Just ten of thease satellites have avoided overlays.

Packages GTD Per $1,200 Satellite# Satellites# Satellites OverlayingUnhappy Ending SatellitesTotal OverlayAverage Overlay

$1,200 Mega Satellites

These are the satellites that players are more interested in. Satellites with multiple packages guaranteed are favoured by players as even though the chances of winning are the same as in single guaranteed satellites, they seem more attainable. If you get a big stack you can coast your way to a package, which you can’t do when there’s only one package to win and you are forced to play for it.

Sunday’s mega satellite to the WSOP main event is called Main Event Mania and sees between 10-25 packages guaranteed each week. It started really well, with 23 packages generated from a 10 package guarantee. The second time it also produced 23 packages, with a 20 package guarantee and then 33 the following week, with 25 guaranteed. However, on March 31st, it experienced its first overlay, missing its $300,000 guarantee by $21,840. Next week’s guarantee has been reduced to 20 packages as a result.

Main Event Mania (Sunday) Packages GTDDateOverlayPackages Awarded
1010th March$023
2517th March$023
2024th March$033
2531st March$21,84025

There are also mega satellites on most other days of the week. They don’t guarantee as many as on Sundays, but they have at last 4 packages guaranteed. Every single one of these has missed its guarantee. These are where the best overlay value can be found, with a total of $171,720 from just 11 satellites, missing by an average of $15,611 per satellite.

Monday Madness Packages GTDDateOverlay
1018th March$960
1225th March$22,020
151st April$31,120
Tuesday Takeoff Packages GTDDateOverlay
1019th March$13,980
826th March$21,900
62nd April?
Thursday Triumph Packages GTDDateOverlay
1021st March$16,260
828th March$21,900
Fantastic Friday Packages GTDDateOverlay
422nd March$4,680
429th March$120
Super Saturday Packages GTDDateOverlay
823rd March$12,780
830th March$25,320

How Long Will The Road to Vegas Satellites Value Last?

It’s clear that GG Poker needs to make some changes, or the overlay hole will likely get bigger and bigger. However they may still be in denial about the poor performance levels, as they upped the guarantee in yesterday’s Monday Madness satellite to 15 packages, despite it missing considerably in the previous week with 12 packages guaranteed. With just four minutes to go until late registration ended, yesterday’s Monday Madness satellite was staring at an overlay in excess of $70,000. However plenty of overlay hunters were on hand to feast on the value and a flurry of late entries saw the deficit reduced to just $31,800, which is still the biggest single overlay of this Road to Vegas promotion (so far).

GG Poker are now beginning to show signs of actively managing the overlay, with reductions to the number of packages guaranteed now being applied to the week-day megas. The Tuesday Takeoff mega satellite has had its 8 package guarantee reduced to 6 and the same is likely to happen throughout the rest of the week on other days. However this strategy alone is unlikely to solve the problem, as reduced liquidity is also likely as a result, as player demand to participate also reduces when guarantees drop. Both the Tuesday Takeoff and the Thursday Triumph posted bigger overlays when their guarantees were cut after their first outings. Until GG Poker finds a way to effectively plug the gap, overlays are likely to continue.

Structure is Too Turbo

Perhaps one reason for the underperformance of these satellites is their structure. They usually have 12 levels of late registration on a 10 minute clock, but as soon as the registration closes, the clock reduces to 5 minutes per level. This brings all satellites to a close very quickly, usually within an hour or so of late registration ending. Maybe its just me, but if I’ve bought or won my way into a main event satellite, I’d like for it not to become a complete crapshoot at the business end of the tournament. What would be the harm in leaving the clock at ten minutes? It would only take an addtional hour or so to complete the tournament by doing this and players would feel less short-changed about the over gambly way that these are forced into a quick conclusion.

If you can put up with the structure, there’s value to be had, at least until GG Poker fixes the pot holes on the Road to Vegas.

If you want to dine on some of this extraordinary satellite value but are yet to register, use the GG Poker bonus code WIRED to get started with a 100% deposit match worth up to $600.

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