The Latest Innovation in Online Poker: Freebuy Tournaments

The new tournament format offers free entry, paid re-entry and real money prizes.

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A new type of tournament from the Winning Poker Network gets its own tournament series in the $150k Guaranteed Freebuy Super Series.
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A new type of online poker tournament has emerged that combines some of the benefits of a traditional freeroll with aspects of real money tournaments. The new tournaments known as Freebuy events are free to enter and offer real money prizes, but use a rebuy/add-on structure so that players who choose to can pay to re-enter the tournament if they lose all their chips.

Players can also purchase extra chips by “adding-on.” The structure has the effect of creating an automatic overlay for every event—free money on offer to all who take part.

The innovative format should attract recreational players for whom the event can be treated as a freeroll, and regular players, who can use their cash to buy an advantage through the rebuys and the add-on.

The innovation comes from the Winning Poker Network (WPN)—one of the few remaining offshore online poker sites that has continued to accept players from the US following Black Friday, and has continued to pay its players. Other offshore sites that accept Americans, such as Lock Poker, have left a black eye on the online poker industry by running off with millions of dollars in player deposits.

The network ran its first Freebuy tournament last month guaranteeing a $25,000 prize pool and have now announced a full tournament series featuring the new format in which it will be guaranteeing $150,000.

Events for the the $150k Guaranteed Freebuy Super Series begin on May 8 and run until May 17. The Freebuy Super Series consists of 57 separate tournaments, with rebuys and add-ons ranging from $0.01 to $20. Tournaments feature NLHE, PLO and PLO8 game formats.Registration for events begins two hours before the tournament starts, and then allows two hours for late registration during which rebuys are permitted.

In a variation on the usual structure, the add-on is not available at the end of the rebuy period. Play must continue for a further hour before players can use the add-on facility.

There will be a tournament leaderboard throughout the series with the absolute winner getting an extra prize of an all-expenses paid trip to the Punta Cana Classic tournament at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The trip comes with free entry into the $500,000 guaranteed Main Event.

The Freebuy Super Series is available on all WPN poker rooms, including Americas Cardroom, and BlackChip Poker.

Should this format prove to be successful, we can expect other operators to follow suit as we saw with the most successful recent innovations such as fast-fold poker and lottery-style sit and gos.

April 29, 2015
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