Random Thoughts: WSOP Europe Edition
Questionable decision by WSOP organizers to hold bracelet events in Europe in a country (France) where only no-limit hold'em and pot-limit Omaha can be played legally. This meant the removal of the HORSE event which had been played at previous runnings of WSOP-E in London. One new event, perhaps added to counteract the monotony of the series, was a €10,000 "mix-max" event where play is 9-handed on day 1, 6-handed on day 2, and then goes a heads-up shootout when 16 players remain. That's a pretty cool concept for a tournament; it will be interesting to see if any online poker rooms adopt the format.
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Field sizes are up considerably for WSOP-E in Cannes compared to what has been typical of London turnouts. The €1,000 no-limit event drew 771 players which shattered the previous record of 608 for most participants in a WSOP-E event.
These "Battle of the Countries" poker tournament things that you'll see pop up occasionally are annoying. There's another one coming up called Caesars Cup. Poker is an autonomous activity. There's not an "in this together" element, it's every man for himself trying to get his hands on as much money as possible. Also, it's absurd to think that you can crown one country as superior to another via a small series of tournaments. There's too much luck involved in poker to assign any weight to the results of these competitions. More interesting than these invite-only battle of the nations events would be more team poker events where participation is open to anyone who can assemble a roster. The WSOP should give a $3,000 buy-in team event a try where teams of three compete for a prize pool that is partially awarded based on highest average finish. But even that is kind of stupid. A moratorium on any form of team poker altogether is probably most preferable.
Live re-entry tournaments seem to be growing rapidly in popularity. The concept is pretty simple: for tournaments with more than one starting day, if you bust out, you're allowed to re-enter on a subsequent starting day. The concept is catching on widespread with various tournament series adopting the format. It will be interesting to see if Caesars entertains the idea of for the WSOP Main Event. There's less of a demand for allowing re-entries in that tournament though due to the amazing structure in which such a small percentage of the field busts out on day one and the high buy-in that very few people will be willing to cough up more than once.
888 Poker software suggestion: offer a "double auto rebuy" option for when you go busto in a rebuy tournament so you don't have to play one hand on a single stack before rebuying to a double stack.
Party Poker software suggestion: make all tournaments go on a synchronized break at :55 past the hour, not just ones that have been running for more than hour. It's frustrating because if you have a bunch of tournaments going and register for another one at :15 past the hour, when :55 past the hour rolls around, all events go on break except for that one that has only been running 40 minutes. There's really no sense in this and it dissuades players from wanting to register more since they know they won't get a real 5 minute break that hour.
Defending WSOP-Europe champion, Brit James Bord, is offering a 100% refund up to $500 on all losing bets if an American wins the event this year. So basically, if you had a bet on Patrik Antonius to win WSOP-E and an American, any American, wins the tournament, Bord will refund your loses up to $500. Said Bord, "I don't think an American can win the bracelet, Europeans are now far superior. We used to look up to the U.S players back in the day, but those days are now long gone. I'm prepared to put my money where my mouth is and refund any losing bets up $500 if an American wins." This is overall a pretty dumb move on his part. Even if he is right that Europeans are now better than Americans, it's simply absurd to think that an American "can't" win the event. It's poker. Anyone can win any one tournament. I hope an American wins just so Bord gets to lose a lot of money for being a dumbass.
Yesterday marked six months since Black Friday. Go here for a really depressing thread on how that day of poker infamy has affected the lives of Americans who were reliant on the game for income.
Daniel Negreanu recently wrote an entertaining blog that ripped into Annie Duke, Howard Lederer, and others for their involvement in what he calls "the two biggest scandals in our industry" (UB and Full Tilt). Negreanu was critical of the poker world for not speaking out more against those who have defrauded others (psst, hey Daniel, we've spoken out before!). Said Negreanu in a moment of "being real", "I don't like Annie Duke, I think some of the new EPT rules suck, and I think Howard Lederer and Ray Bitar are arrogant, incompetent, idiots." Negreanu's approach may sometimes seem a little too weighted towards shock value, but hey, it's nice to see someone high profile say something negative about the people who have profited from UB and Full Tilt!