Better Late Than Never

Better Late Than Never

Monday, 14 October 2013

The pros debate the merits of late registration.

Late registration to tournaments is more prevalent now than it ever used to be, but many people are divided as to its benefits. Is turning up tardily shooting yourself in the foot, or is punctuality overrated when it comes to poker? We talk to a posse of pros to find out.

Andreas Hoivold

First of all, I have to say that I really like that they have late reg in tournaments. It allows more people to come to play, which of course creates a bigger prize pool. Very often it also makes the lines shorter when you register, since people can register over a longer period of time.

Having said this, personally I rarely ever register late. I believe I always have an edge over the field, and not playing will cost me chips. So in general I think it's a bad idea for good players to register late, but for bad players I think it's a great idea. I look at this very mathematically: if you have an edge you should play from the start, but if you don't then registering late is the way to go.

BLTN Hoivold

Jamie Sykes

From a professional perspective, late registering has to be a bad decision. Regardless of whether it is 'plus EV' or not, you are by-passing the part of the tournament where you have the biggest edge over your opponents – when you are the deepest stacked. As a result, late registering ramps up your variance and drastically reduces how much money you can expect to make.

From a personal perspective, I would have saved an actual pile of money if late registration didn't exist. This is mainly because, although tempting, registering the Wednesday $320 on PokerStars at 4am when you've stumbled in half cut from a night out is NEVER a good idea.

BLTN Sykes

Tim Blake

Being able to late reg is a major improvement from the dark ages of 2008 in my opinion. In my internet playing heyday many a time I would rush home from work only to miss out by a few minutes because some idiot was insistent on sticking to the speed limit, or wanted to get the maximum miles to the gallon out of his Skoda!

Late registering right at the end of the rebuy period is a great way to protect the bankroll – but for the biggest plus, I would have to revisit a dark memory from 2008 involving the much missed 'Daddy' tourney on Ladbrokes.

Running late, I phoned the wife to reg me in. "That's all," I insisted, only to walk in the front door to see a rather sheepish look on her face followed by the immortal words "I min raised from the button with KK and the big blind called. The flop came 88x and there was no way I could put him on an 8, is there?"

BLTN Blake

Jeff Kimber

I used to be a staunch 'never miss a hand' man, believing I would be missing vital information and chances to catch the fish before he goes skint. However, these days I think the pros of getting to a tournament on time and playing the early levels super-deep are often outweighed by the cons.

At one time it was simple to see a lot of flops in position with suited connectors and hands that can flop well, putting you in with a chance of cracking a big hand in the early levels. Nowadays, that tactic has become so widespread that it's often as easy to lose a big pot as it is to win one.

In one particular tournament, I lasted one hand when I isolated with J-8 suited and a guy limp-called me. I liked the Q-T-9 flop. Unfortunately, he liked it more with his K-J.

For the most recent GUKPT final table I made (the Reading leg, for which I came second), I didn't turn up on day one until level three.

Not only did I not feel at a disadvantage when I finally entered the tournament, I felt a distinct advantage in the last couple of levels of the day. As the general level of fatigue and lethargy that often descends at that stage of a tournament enveloped others, I felt sharp and ready to play for hours more.

If it's a choice between the two, I'd much rather be sharp and at an advantage in level nine, when the blinds and pots are bigger and more crucial, than level one, when a lot of hands and pots are insignificant.

BLTN Kimber

Julian Thew

Over the summer, I made full use of the level eight late reg that is available at Dusk Till Dawn. I kind of took the summer off poker-wise, so it was great to be able to jump into a competition six hours after it started.

I often feel the hardest part of live MTTs is getting through day one, so imagine my surprise when I made three out of three day twos after regging at the last possible minute. This meant that instead of being 300bbs deep I started about 30bbs deep. I can't tell you how liberating it felt to sit down super keen and fresh, half the field gone, and with the knowledge that day one would be a wrap within three hours.

You probably won't hear this from many pros. In hindsight though, I'm not surprised that this is the case for me – I've long felt that my game is at its best between the 20-40bb mark. I've got a pretty heavy schedule between now and Christmas and I plan to experiment further with the pros and cons of late regging.


Simon Deadman

Late regging is something I never do if I can help it. In my opinion, the early levels are a goldmine of useful information that you may need to use later, when the stacks become shallower.

Of course there is also the time you miss that one guy who wants to polish off his stack in the first 10 minutes, and if you're not there you won't get a piece of the pie.

When I won WPT Dublin it was the very first hand of the tournament I found 'that guy', who ended up seven-betting all in with 67o against my aces for a 500bb pot!

BLTN Deadman

To read exclusive strategy and features from Peter, Billy, Jeff, Andreas, Julian and many more top professionals, head to Winning is your choice.

Tags: Strategy,, Andreas Hoivold, Jamie Sykes, Tim Blake, Julian Thew, Jeff Kimber, Simon Deadman