Category Archives: Poker Tournaments

When Poker Tournaments Fail

All of the poker tournaments that we hear about are the successful ones that run without any hitches and pay the winners their money as expected.  We don’t hear about the poker tournaments that went wrong or the ones that were so disorganized that they had to be scrapped.  So if you’ve never heard of a poker tournament such as this then here’s your chance because there was recently a poker tourney that absolutely collapsed out in Las Vegas.

Sludikoff Gaming Inc. in (Las Vegas) was hired by Hall of Fame World Poker Championship LLC to run a poker tournament for them where athletes and celebrities would compete on teams and try to advance to the final round where they would compete for $1 million.  Sludikoff Gaming Inc. was paid $10,000 a month to work on the tournament and get it up and running.

The problem came when the owners of Sludikoff felt they were being taken advantage of by Hall of Fame WPC LLC because they said the company was trying to profit too much off of them without further compensation.  What has ensued since then is an ugly lawsuit where Sludikoff Gaming is seeking extra compensation for the mishap.  Hall of Fame has countersued them in a defamation suit since then.

After this big mess, it definitely appears that the poker tournament will no longer happen and it also appears that these two companies will be locked in a long legal battle.  Luckily, we don’t have to hear about poker tournaments falling apart like this too often and there are plenty other ones for us to play in.

2009 World Series of Poker Changes already creating Debates

The poker world was buzzing after the World Series of Poker released its 2009 schedule with some major changes included.  Among the biggest changes was the fact that there will no longer be any rebuy events in the WSOP since people have argued that such tournaments only judge how big a person’s wallet is rather than their skill level.  Another huge change is that there are two more events added to the WSOP bringing the total amount of tournaments to 57; the biggest addition is definitely the $40,000 buy-in tourney to commemorate the 40th year of the WSOP. 

These changes have already sparked plenty of debate among players since some favor the changes and others dislike them.  Daniel Negreanu is definitely one fan of the $40K event since he has lobbied for more high buy-in events in the WSOP.  He believes the high buy-ins increase the chances of a skilled pro winning the event.  Greg Raymer also thinks that the $40K buy-in tourney should be a success and thinks it will return if this is the case as he said, “If the event is a success, why would Harrah’s not repeat it?

However, Raymer is not a fan of the rebuys being taken out of the WSOP since he stated, “I don’t see any real purpose in eliminating the rebuy tournaments.  To be honest, the people that complain about them the most have a very clueless understanding of what poker is about.  The purpose is not to win a tournament; the purpose is to make money.”

I definitely agree with Raymer in that the rebuy events shouldn’t be taken out of the WSOP.  In my opinion, having a few rebuy events out of the 57 tournaments offered is not such a bad thing since it creates a lot more variety.  And as far as the argument goes about rebuys only showing who has the bigger wallet, I think the $40K and $50K H.O.R.S.E. are only doing the same thing.  The only thing these pricey tournaments do is keep all of the good online pros out of them while giving the top pros a clear shot at winning the gold bracelet.  I guess we’ll see in the next few years whether or not the WSOP will decide to move away from rebuys and keep adding high buy-in tournaments.

Is WSOPE going just a WSOP afterparty?

The World Series of Poker Europe is fully underway with the Main Event going on and there is much excitement in the poker air.  Thousands of players have shown up in London and it has been a good event for the WSOP’s namesake.  Things are going especially well since a star player in Daniel Negreanu is leading the field after three full days.  In addition to this great storyline, Negreanu has a $200,000 prop bet going with Phil Ivey that he will win either a WSOP bracelet (which is already out) or a WSOPE bracelet (he’s down to his last chance).

Going beyond just the Daniel Negreanu thing, people may also notice that John Juanda, online star Justin “BoostedJ” Smith, Mike Matusow, Andy Bloch, and Erik Seidel are near the top of the leaderboards too.  But while there are plenty of good storylines going on, I have to wonder if the World Series of Poker Europe is really coming into its own or if it is just an expansion event trying to capitalize off of the popularity of a big name.

Now the WSOPE has definitely drawn some people to its now four tournament and one Doyle Brunson vs. Annette Obrestad one-on-one matchup extravaganza.  However, I’m really wondering how much bigger things will get.  Will it just be a failed experiment by Harrah’s to further expand their already popular event? 

I hope not but I also am not sure how long it will take for people to really catch the WSOPE fever.  After all, the 1,000,000 Pound top prize for the winner has already been trimmed down to 868,000 Pounds and I’m hoping that the future doesn’t see it falling any farther.  But even more so, I’m hoping that the WSOPE doesn’t end as badly as another European expansion where the NFL tried to extend their power into the continent with the NFL Europe.  Then again, I don’t think there’s any fear about that since nothing can go as badly as the NFL Europe did.

Rakeback and $5,000 Freeroll at Full Tilt Poker

If you guys haven’t heard all new players that signs up through RakeBrain to Full Tilt Poker in September and earn 1 Full Tilt Point will get automatic entry to the $5000 freeroll. RakeBrain happens to be one of the leaders in rakeback providers these days. Rakeback works a lot like a poker bonus, with the important difference that it’s a promotion that never ends; you sign up through a third-party affiliate who receives a commission for recruiting new players to the poker rooms. However, instead of holding on to the commission, the affiliate passes on to you in the form of rakeback.

Most rakeback offers range between 25% and 35%, so it might pay off to look around for the best rakeback promotions. At Full Tilt, however, the maximum allowed rakeback is 27%. Right now the most beneficial place to sign up for rakeback at Full Tilt is, since you get access to an exclusive $5,000 freeroll that will be held in mid October. Existing RakeBrain players only need to earn 400 points to qualify. Unfortunately, players who already have a real-money account at Full Tilt are not eligible for this promotion. So just my advice go out there and take advantage of this and maybe you end up the winner of the freeroll.

The World of Poker Backers

I’ve heard a lot about players in the past who have poker backers.  Basically what happens here is that the backers will put up some money for another player’s buy-in and possibly hotel room (or players) as something of an investment.  There are different arrangements depending on who the backer is but in the end, the backers always expect more in return than they give (hence the investment idea).

These backers can come in the form of major players or as just companies that invest in different interests and they almost always take some kind of huge cut from a big cash the player makes.  In addition to taking a cut, sometimes the backers will even want past money they put up for the player back as well.  Over the weekend I actually had the chance to talk to one of these backed players and get a little more insight into the backer world.

He said that he was backed by a company out of New York and had made some cashes during the WSOP this year and had cashed in some previous major tournaments as well.  However, he also said that he found himself almost 120K in debt to these backers before the WSOP and has had to win a lot of that money back.  With his WSOP cashes and mostly through online play, he has cut that debt down to about 15K but all of this has me wondering about something.

Why doesn’t he play exclusively online?  It seems as if he makes a lot more money that way and he won’t have some outstanding debt owed to a backing company either.  Sure he won’t get to travel to all the cool places that he does under the backing company as he’d be pretty busy playing online most of the time but eventually he’ll earn enough money to do what he wants anyways.  

In the end though, it’s his decision and it would be hard to give up all that traveling to different cities and countries to focus exclusively online.

WSOP Main Event back on the Rise

Back when Jamie Gold was busy lucking into the $12 million prize pool in the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event, the game of poker was rising into heights it had never experienced before.  Then came the dreaded UIGEA in October and poker players worst fears had come true.  The game they loved had become regulated and the money going towards it was being depleted. 

Last year’s top WSOP prize, which was won by Jerry Yang, fell down to $8.25 million and this was mostly the effect of less and less online players being able to get into the WSOP through satellites.  And clearly, just by judging from the top prize, things had fallen off a little bit in terms of overall buy-ins for the Main Event. 

However, this year the results are already in and the Main Event prize pool will be an enormous $64.3 million dollars with 666 players earning a share of it.  Even better news, the top prize this year is moving back up again to the tune of $9.1 million.  The 6,844 players who paid, or won, the $10,000 buy-in made this all possible.

But WSOP commissioner Jeffrey Pollack warns that, “The fact that we broke all of the records we set last year is terrific, but there may be years where we’re up, years where we’re down.”  But he did finish his statement by mentioning, “Bottom line is that we’re here for the long term and we’re not going anywhere, and I don’t know many poker properties that can say that.” 

Hopefully in the future the buy-ins will continue to be more towards the up side rather than the down so that the Main Event top prize, as well as other prizes, can climb back to the height they were at in 2006. 

Is Poker in Danger? (Part 1)

Ever since 2003, the game of poker seems to have grown to epic proportions with each passing year.  Not only has the number of players entering poker shot up but so have the amount of TV shows dedicated to it.  But this growth seems to have really slowed as of late in both the online and TV sector and many people around the industry are starting to worry.

For instance, the 8th annual [[Full_Tilt_Poker|Full Tilt Online Poker]] Series just finished up on Sunday and perhaps the most telling numbers of the event were that the highest number of participants in a single tourney was 5,090 and the amount of people in the Main Event was 4,750. 

These numbers certainly indicate that poker is still popular enough to where people will pay $100 to $500 to buy-in to major online tournaments but contrast the FTOPS 8 figures with that of FTOPS 7.  In the 7th annual Full Tilt Online Poker Series, the stats were significantly higher as the biggest tournament featured 6,000 people in it while the Main Event had 5,291 people in it. 

Looking at the Main Event, this means that 541 more people chose to play in 2007 than did this year.  And it can’t be blamed on the buy-ins either as both years they were set at $500 +$35 (maybe 541 people just didn’t like [[Jennifer_Harman|Jennifer Harman]] as the host).  The prize pool was down too from $2,645,000 to $2,375,000.   

And while the FTOPS Main Event is just a single online tournament, it is one of the biggest and most publicized on the net and definitely deserves a look.   It also prompts one to question whether the popularity of poker as a whole is going downhill.  Thursday, I’ll talk about some of the TV trends as well in order to bring this into a bigger perspective.

I wish I were Lucky like Jamie Gold – Celebrity Poker Tournament

I can’t help but thinking what life would be like to have the luck of [[Jamie_Gold|Jamie Gold]].  And no, I’m not just talking about the time he won $12 million using some of the luckiest bluff in the history of the WSOP.  Instead I’m talking about how he has the good fortune of co-hosting the third annual Celebrity Poker Tournament at the Playboy Mansion. 

Gold will host the event which takes place on May 17th with Khloe Kardashian from “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”.  Not only will Jamie have Khloe by his side as long as she can stand him but he will also be amidst the usual crowd of curvy Playboy Bunnies.  It’s almost enough to make a man jealous.

But not jealous in the sense that Gold actually has a chance with Khloe or the Bunnies (unless he brings some of his 2006 winnings along).  More so of the simple fact that Gold, despite his consistently average poker ability, seems to remain one of the stars of the poker world.

Anyways, for all of you West Coast people, the Celebrity Poker Tournament is a fund raiser as well for the Urban Health Institute which means it’s general admission.  The general admission is a little pricey at $500 and so is the buy-in for the tourney as it’s $1,500. 

Obviously though, this isn’t your average $1,500 buy-in ($2,000 counting admission) considering that you’d be inches away from the Bunnies and will get to see celebrities such as Phil Ivey, comedian Anthony Anderson, Phil Laak, Super Bowl Champ and Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce, and others listed that I have no idea of who they are.

Plus anyone who attends can participate in a silent auction where one of the items up for bids is private poker lessons from Jamie Gold.  Now this must be the real reason everyone is going.  Expect some fierce bidding.