How Much Does It Cost To Enter Online Casino Poker Tournaments?

How Much Does It Cost To Enter Online Casino Poker Tournaments?

There’s plenty to understand about this ancient card game when looking to enter online casino poker tournaments. Poker is in the minority when it comes to skill-based online casino games but has been globally popular for decades. Land-based casinos of old have regularly featured this game worldwide even before the onset of internet gambling. Nowadays, experienced punters and beginners alike invest time and effort into mastering various poker strategies and pursue full-time gaming careers.

However, playing poker online requires choosing between cash games and participating in various tournaments. Live tournaments are among the most popular formats in which poker gaming online occurs, but there are crucial considerations. While skill and experience represent the great equalizers in this game, countless punters neglect a vital aspect: entering fees. We thought we’d give this aspect of playing online some much-needed attention, so let’s begin.

Enter Online Casino Poker Tournaments: Cash Games

Before we dig into tournaments, you’ll need to decide whether cash games are attention-worthy. More specifically, whether you prefer live or online poker games

Countless players enjoy live games because of human interaction. For many punters, elements like psychology, tells, and body language are too exciting to give up for mere online gaming. Even though virtual poker games aren’t without benefits, the live versions are too inviting to resist. Therefore, think about this aspect before you begin.

Poker Tournaments: Online Or Live?

This question might seem redundant if you’ve already decided live poker is the way to go. Online tournaments are much different than online cash games due to numerous reasons. 

For example, playing live poker tournaments requires numerous expenditures and fees, not to mention they are marathon affairs. Consequently, countless poker enthusiasts struggle to make a living playing live tournaments. While it’s possible to win such competitions, the underlying requirements are what creates the struggle. One needs to continuously win to support traveling to events across the region, country, or world. 

Therefore, the current state of the poker economy makes it excruciatingly difficult to ensure long-term wins necessary to break even, let alone profit, from such contests.

Average Live Tournament Fees

Considering everything mentioned above, the takeaway is that online poker tournaments should be the financially savvy poker player’s choice. When looking to enter online casino poker tournaments, there are numerous reasons why they are better and more cost-effective than their live counterparts.

For example, if you look at the average rake at a daily live casino tournament, you’ll notice it’s somewhere between 15% and 20% of the buy-in. In most cases, this amount is a minimum of 1.5x to 2x higher than what you would pay in online tournaments. Additionally, it’s nearly impossible to find a live tournament with a 10% or lower rake. 

Furthermore, this issue persists even in larger tournaments with higher buy-ins. WSOPC is an excellent example, but the situation is identical in most tournament series. There are three main buy-in amounts in the WSOPC: $300 + $65 = 18%, $500 + $80 = 14%, and $1,500 + $175 = 10.45%. 

You’ll notice that the rake never gets below 10% despite becoming increasingly smaller. Therefore, a 15%-20% rake is impossible to overcome to make a living. 

Tipping Expenses

Tips are another live-only expense, which is crucial when looking to enter online casino poker tournaments. Remember that you are tipping no matter what because the tournament takes out a significant amount of the prize pool by default. This amount is generally around 3% on top of the tournament fee as a “tournament staff fee.” 

But, when looking to make a big score, most players leave a little something on top of this amount regardless. In many cases, the previously mentioned 3% goes to other staff and not the dealers, so you should tip. Despite being unfair to you, stiffing the dealers is an even greater injustice. Therefore, you can add another 1%-3% on top of the 10%-20% in fees you’re already paying.

Food Expenses

Not having access to your cabinets and refrigerator is one of the added expenses when you’re on the road. Consequently, you end up eating out and ordering in a lot. Therefore, even the most frugal player will still pay much more than they would at home regardless of numerous available options. These options include using a food voucher from the casino, taking advantage of the hotel’s continental breakfast, or merely visiting the deli. 

On average, you spend at least $20 a day on food and drinks. Even if you have free drinks, you’ll still need to tip the waitress. So, depending on your eating habits, you’re looking at between $20 and $100 per day on food alone.

Travel Expenses

When looking at the cost to enter online casino poker tournaments, live gaming also involves participating in different tournaments. These contests can take place regionally, in other states, or even other countries. Regardless of whether you fly or drive from one stop to the next, it would be best if you accounted for these expenditures. Examples include hotel accommodations, taxi rides, airfare, gas, and more.

While quantifying this amount precisely is challenging, you’re typically looking at a minimum of $20 per day. When it comes to the maximum, the amount can quickly grow into hundreds of dollars every day.

What’s The Cost To Enter Online Casino Poker Tournaments? Example

Let’s imagine a skilled poker player is participating in one tournament every day, 300 days per year. Let’s also assume the average live tournament buy-in is $300 and that our player has a 35% ROI on his buy-ins. 

To make matters easier, we’ll also imagine that our player is exceptionally frugal. Let’s say he targets events within driving distance (approximately $20 every day in gas). He could also target events that don’t call for hotel stays unless he makes the final table. If our player also spends only $20 per day on food and plays only tournaments with a 15% rake, here’s how the math would look.

On the one hand, our player’s expenses for every $300 he spends include tournament fees ($45), gas ($20), food ($20), tips throughout the day ($5), dealer tips (1% of winnings/approximately $10 for every event). Therefore, our skilled player is paying $100 per tournament in expenses. 
Therefore, even if he has a 35% ROI (which is nearly impossible), he’s only profiting $5 in every tournament. When it comes to the cost to enter online casino poker tournaments, every online poker guide will tell you it’s much less than it costs to play in live tournaments.