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Re-Entry Tourneys: A PROspective

by Ryan Laplante |  Published: Oct 09, 2019


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Ryan Laplante at the WSOP I want to discuss my perspective on re-entry tournaments, from a selfish sense, from the eyes of a card room, and in the industry as a whole. I will also touch on topics such as late registration, best stack forward, forfeiting stacks, and quantum tournaments.

When I bust from a tournament, I personally enjoy being able to have the option to get back in if I want. From a purely financial point of view, re-entry tournaments enable me to play more entries in terms frequency and total dollar volume. Having the option to enter until I no longer believe it to be a good investment increases my long-term profitability. I especially like the ability to re-enter if I am traveling for a major tournament that doesn’t have great side events to play, which allows me to limit the costs for travel/hotel/food/etc.

Unfortunately, a tournament that allows re-entry can also drastically impact my personal profitability in the field overall. This is because the more entries professionals are able to put into a tournament, the more likely the final few tables are going to be filled with professionals. The later registration runs, the more entries allowed, and the faster the overall structure is, usually the worse my ROI will be. All of these equate to an increase in variance, which means I need a much larger bankroll in order to grind the same games.

So, from my perspective, re-entries can be a good thing, but also come with many downsides. This is why, from my purely selfish financial point of view, I usually want more re-entries allowed in the smaller buy-ins I play, but fewer allowed in the higher buy-ins.

When it comes to late registration, I generally prefer the longer the merrier, as it gives me more opportunities to get back in and play more volume. But this has the same impact as re-entries in terms of making the field tougher, it also can drastically hurt the overall structure of the tournament. I am usually willing to re-enter down to pretty much any stack, depending on how the buy-in is relative to what I normally play, and based on how soft I believe the field to be. For example, I’ll generally be willing to register a $400 as late as 10 big blinds deep, but pretty rarely be willing to register a $10,000 with less than 30 big blinds.

Poker pro and tournament director Kenny Hallaert did a wonderful job on his twitter account (@SpaceyFCB) discussing how late-registration impacts the whole field’s profitability. It’s worth reading in its entirety, but he essentially concluded that late-registration does not impact professional players’ profitability as each time someone late-registers they gain some equity from the rest of the field due to the nature of how Independent Chip Model (ICM) works in tournaments. This means, for selfish reasons, I should be willing to late reg. But in terms of offering a good product, I should be limited by card rooms to prevent a somewhat predatory practice.

When it comes to a Best Stack Forward policy, this is almost always a “sucker bet.” Best Stack Forward allows players to bag a stack, then still play future flights to try to bag a larger stack. Any stack that you have made into day 2 is usually worth so much money, that putting more entries into the same tournament to try to have a larger stack is almost always a losing proposition.

Like normal re-entries, Quantum Tournaments cause a lot of issues in terms of making games a lot tougher and drastically hurting Return on Investments (ROIs). Quantum tournaments allow players to buy-in to a tournament near the money, usually by paying 10-20x the initial buy-in. They are something that massively favors professionals, and can really impact the general profitability for everyone in the field. While it might be profitable for a pro to buy into day 2, these events are generally very highly raked and fairly low edge, compared to buying into a normal tournament of the same buy-in level.

From a room’s point of view, strictly in terms of short-term profits, a casino should generally be willing to have as many re-entries as possible, as late of registration as possible, with as many flights as possible. They can also offer things like best stack forward, and quantum tournaments.

However, when they take any of this to an extreme it causes a lot of problems and can really hurt their overall reputation. Even offering products like Best Stack Forward and Quantum Tournaments can drastically impact how players view the room, hurting the overall brand and profitability long term.

This is why I strongly prefer the approach of a room like the Wynn-Encore in Las Vegas. All of their tournaments allow unlimited re-entry, but only do so for the first few breaks. Registration usually ends while the starting stack is still 35+ big blinds. Many of their tournaments are multi-flights with good guarantees. Because they close registration early, they all have great structures, and do a wonderful job of finding that fine line between trying to maximize profits while also offering a quality product. The poker room also does not offer tournaments with Best Stack Forward, or Quantum Tournaments, as management is willing to sacrifice short-term profitability in the interest of keeping players happy.

For the long-term health of the industry, it is important that options like Best Stack Forward and Quantum Tournaments stay limited to certain times of the tournament calendar. It is also important to keep offering traditional freezeouts, and to find the right balance when allowing re-entries and late-registration. We need to keep building larger prize-pools, but also keep the industry healthy for the long term.

In poker, long-term profitability is always the key to success, both for the individual pro, the card room, and the industry as a whole. ♠

Ryan Laplante is a WSOP Bracelet winner. He has more than $5 million in tournament cashes with eight WSOP final tables. His website is, and he is a coach for ChipLeader Coaching at