A lot of poker players will cut their live tournament teeth on daily poker tournaments. These events can range in buy-ins and if you are in a casino town such as Las Vegas or Los Angeles, you will find events running at all times of the day.
While these events may seem like a great value, the truth is that many daily tournaments are not a wise investment for serious poker players. Below are five reasons you should avoid playing daily casino poker tournaments.
The Rake May Be Super High
Some poker rooms only exist because they run poker tournaments. The rake from these events is one of the major profit points for smaller poker rooms and sometimes you will see rake as high as 40%.
If you are thinking of playing a daily, ask to see the structure and check to see how much of the prize pool is being withheld for staff in addition to the tournament fee.
Also, many of these events will employ an “extra chips” fee that doesn’t go to the prize pool. A $25+5 tournament with 28% of the pool taken for staff and a $10 extra chip fee will only result in $18 from each player going into the prize pool. Including the extra chip fee, that’s an effective “rake” of 55%.
Attendance May Be Very Low
Depending on what day of the week you play, there is a good chance you will be playing in an incredibly small field. There are many times that your daily event will only have a couple of tables and on occasion it may be a single table.
I once played an event in Tunica, MS where only three players showed up for the event. The good news is that I won the “tournament.” The bad news was that the rake was so bad for the event that I received just over double my money for the “win.”
Events Filled With Regulars – Beware of Collusion
Another pitfall of playing in daily events is that you will regularly play against casino regulars. This can be good when the regulars are all bad players but you’ll often face regulars who are at least competent. Couple this with the variance of tournaments and these events aren’t as “easy” as one might think.
Something you also have to watch for in these daily events is collusion among regulars. This collusion may be obvious, such as players that are soft playing their friends or those they “know.”
Other times it may be a bit of implied collusion. I’ve been at final tables where most everyone knew each other and they were clearly playing to “make a deal” and only made legitimate plays against those they didn’t know.
And with their being regulars, you’re often not going to get help from the floor staff if you complain because they know the players. I once witnessed a player clearly add chips to their stack before the start of a final table but the TD would not believe me because, “The guy plays every week and these are good guys.” Suffice it to say I’ve never been back to that poker room.
Structures Will Be Horrible
Suffice it to say that structures will not be “Kessler Approved.” Many of these tournament are scheduled to end in three hours or less and the levels are structured to achieve this purpose. Most often you will see a “doubling blind” structure employed with limits of 15 to 20 minutes.
Staff Will Not Always Be Competent
One final caveat to playing in daily events is that you may be dealing with a staff that’s less than competent. You’ll often find that these events are used as “training grounds” for everyone from dealers to floor staff.
This isn’t always the case for small staff poker rooms but you’ll see this often in bigger card rooms. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about this (unless they are royally screwing up) as the casino has the right to staff and train their employees as they see fit.