Late registration in poker tournaments is becoming increasingly common, with the window for late entry expanding each year. For instance, at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) up until 2011, players could only register during the first two levels.

This window was later extended to the end of the fourth level.

By 2015, most tournaments allowed late registration up until level 9, and nowadays, it's not uncommon to see late registration available up to level 12 or even just before the start of the second day.

Online tournaments have also adopted extended late registration periods, with some allowing players to join 24 hours after the start.

Anyway, we sought the opinions of regs. We discussed the stack sizes they prefer to enter with, how they decide when to join a tournament at the last minute, and which tournaments are best not to enter late. We also explored who benefits from late registration besides the organizers and how it impacts the tournament structure.

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I generally avoid entering a freezeout with less than a 40 big blind stack and a knockout with less than 60 big blinds. However, I'm open to joining some tournaments just before they close registration.

The benefits of late registration are multifaceted. For regular players like us, entering with a large stack can be advantageous, but it also means earning less per hour. It's a complex balance between the number of tournaments you play and your return on investment (ROI). Some players dislike late registration because they feel it turns the game into a lottery, especially with short stacks.

However, I believe there's always a way to find an edge, even if it's small. Personally, I'm neutral about late registration. If it attracts more casual players, that's a plus. Late registration can be a strategy for those who don't obsess over maximizing earnings – just show up, play, and see what happens.

How do you know whether to enter a tournament at the last levels of late registration? If there is an overlay, obviously we enter. Also, if the lineups are very sweet and we can afford to enter, we can get a decent final table advantage that will cover the negative aspects.

If we play not for money, but rather for pleasure, then, as an amateur, we can even save money by jumping in with a short stack, since it is difficult to make many blunders there.

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Nikolay nsmirnov // t.me/Life of a Player

I prefer to start tournaments from the beginning, especially when all the amateurs are still in play and all the bounties are up for grabs.

To cover more ground, I sometimes enter tournaments late, particularly the less expensive ones. Many players dislike late registration because it prolongs tournaments, and the structures of deep-stack tournaments aren't always great. Plus, it allows for too many re-entries.

Personally, I wish the late registration period were shorter, but we have to work with what's available. I've never seen organizers shorten the late registration period at the request of players. I believe late registration primarily benefits those who truly love poker and want to play as long as possible.

I would advise jumping into a tournament in the last minutes of registration only in exceptional cases:

– It will almost always be OK to jump when there is an overlay. But they are few and need to be closely monitored.

– When the remaining players are super-fishy.

– Proximity of ITM.

It is advisable, of course, to buy-in with at least 20 bb, but this is very rare.

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Maxim vot_eto_prikol // Poker IP player ($98>>>>$17,000)

Since I play mostly knockout tournaments, I prefer to start right from the beginning to aim for a larger prize pool. If I'm playing a freezeout, I aim for a 30-40 big blind stack. Also, being part of the ITC, we have guidelines regarding late registration.

Many players find the length of tournaments with late registration to be a downside. Playing a PKO for 7-8 hours, with a 3.5-hour late registration window, followed by another two hours before reaching the money, can be less than ideal. However, I view late registration positively since it tends to make the late stages of the tournament more favorable.

For example, on PokerKing, players often enter late with a 12.5 big blind stack when the average is 40-50 big blinds, which usually results in them playing poorly with short stacks and adding more to the prize pool.

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In fact, late reg is beneficial for all players.

amateurs do not have to play an extra two hours (that's their understanding). This is beneficial for regs to accept amateurs with a short stack and win more money in the finals.

My advice: don’t jump in at the last minutes, this is a minus EV

Alexander AlexZA3 // t.me/poker road to $1,000,000

I always try to enter tournaments from the start, especially bounty ones. The presence of many amateurs early on makes it more profitable. I'm not a fan of long registration periods. I prefer when registration closes a bit sooner. On PokerKing, the extended registration period means regulars can make numerous re-entries, building up large stacks and extending the tournament duration.

This isn't ideal for amateurs, who generally don't want to spend 9-12 hours in a tournament. I think extended late registration only benefits those regulars who prefer to play longer and just 'wait it out.' No one else really benefits, as it would significantly reduce the hourly rate if all tournaments were like this.

Ilya LiberMarginal // Marginal Eager for Liber

I aim to enter knockouts right from the beginning. For freezeouts, I don't delay my entry either. The sooner, the better. Players often complain about re-entries because regulars tend to re-enter more, which negatively affects the player pool. Late registration allows for more re-entries.

Personally, I'm fine with it, as I see it as a disadvantage for those who overuse it. Late registration can be useful for those with limited room selection or those who don't have enough suitable tournaments in their schedule. They need to make the most of the opportunities they have.

I think that others should not use late reg. I had a case where I registered in the last two minutes in PokerStars Sunday Million due to a strong overlay, but probably this is the only exception.

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