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Online Casino Tournament Prize Pools

August 19, 2009

Online casino tournaments are very popular. One reason for this is that there is no single winner, but a specified number of players share the prize amount. This prize amount is commonly known as the prize pool. Players will not be able to play each and every online tournament. They usually have to select a few that are most suitable for their requirements. One of the important factors to consider is the prize pool. Therefore online tournament players should have a complete understanding of prize pools.

Broadly speaking there are two types of prize pools. One type is the guaranteed prize pool and the other type is the pot prize pool.  In the guaranteed prize pool the online casino declares the amount that will be shared by the winners in advance. It is independent of the number of players that participate in the tournament. If the collected entry fee is greater than the prize pool then the benefit accrues to the online casino and if it less than the prize pool then the casino makes good the difference. The manner in which the prize pool will be shared is also announced in advance. The number of players that will share the pool and how much each place winner will get is specified.

Generally speaking the larger the guaranteed prize pool the more attractive is the tournament. However two factors need to be kept in mind. Tournaments usually charge an entry fee and a rebuy for participating another time. The larger the prize pool the larger will the entry fee and rebuy be. Hence players will be staking larger amounts for online tournaments with larger guaranteed prize pools. Also they will deplete their online tournament budgets more quickly. Larger prize pools attract more players and therefore greater competition.

In pot prize pools the amount that is distributed to the winners comes from the entry fees and rebuy amounts paid by the players. The online casino may keep a small percentage to cover costs. In a sense, this is a more rational way of deciding the prize amount. In pot prize pools the players do not know what the prize pool amount will be before the tournament starts. Hence there is a greater element of risk. Also since the amount is not known the distribution of the prize pool is specified in percentage terms. However, regular players are able to reasonably estimate the size of the pot prize pool from the entry fee and nature and duration of the online tournament.

There is another issue that needs to be evaluated about prize pools, whether guaranteed or pot. This is how deep does the prize pool run. In simpler language this means how many people will share the prize pool. Obviously if more people share the prize pool then on an average each one will get less. However a player will have a greater chance of winning something. New players who are yet unsure of their online tournament skills should go for prize pools that run deep. If a player wins something early on it whets his resolve to improve his skills. Conservative players should also prefer prize pools that run deep. These are consistent with their objective of small winnings, but those that are more likely to materialize. However players who have developed a level of skill and are willing to take some risks can choose prize pools that are shared by few winners so that the shares are larger.

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