The Beat

The Beat

Friday, 26 April 2013

With Neil "Bad Beat" Channing

GUKPT London

March was an absolutely crazy month for UK tournament players. As I alluded to last month, having everything at once does mean we are going from feast to famine. There aren’t too many options this month for the £500-and-above-buy-in UK tournament player.

Starved of action and fresh off the success of the London leg of the GUKPT, I would expect players to be more likely to head to Didsbury, near Manchester, to play leg two than they otherwise would. I'm sure the new GCasino there is a lovely place but I can't help thinking that a really big GUKPT could have been held in Coventry at £1,000, rather than following the undoubted success of London with a smaller £500 leg.

The London event attracted a decent field and got a prize pool of £397,000. I thought that it all went pretty smoothly and the dealing standards at the Vic remain the highest on the tour. I do wish they would try, one time, to run an event without the need to go 10-handed, though. I know that the casino will point to the cost of having extra dealers, but I can assure them that it makes the game run smoother and faster and the players definitely approve. A faster game means quicker bust-outs, which means people hitting the cash games (or roulette) quicker. Obviously if the place is totally packed you can't do it, but we played nine-handed for six hours and then went to 10-handed, while tables around the room were empty.

If it really costs that much to employ the extra dealers, I'm sure the players would vote to give up the deep-fried snacks in favour of a better game.

Burn up on re-entry

While I stated that the prize pool for the GUKPT London was £397,000, that doesn't mean there were 397 players. All the events on the tour this year allow a re-entry on each of the starting dates. With two day ones, a player could find himself in for £4280. This definitely helped produce a fantastic prize pool and the players were really excited about the whole event. With guarantees on the tour set high, the re-entry option should mean that the tour gets away without any costly overlays.

I can see a problem, though. If everyone has the option of extra chances, there are two kinds of people that will take them: the rich amateurs, who are not as good at poker as the true professionals, and the professionals. Maybe this category of amateur is rich enough to afford to play the events four times over, but they will reach the point at which they tire of poker as a hobby four times quicker. The professional will now be able to punt a stack or two to try and get into the final stages with chips. The simple fact is that the events will be won by pros way more often now. That is great for the GUKPT in terms of magazine covers and media stories, but it may not help us all to be still playing in two years' time. It’s so bad for the long-term ecology of the player pool (some people talk about sharks and fishes – well, look at the worldwide fishing industry and how things have gone there).

The smaller player, who cannot afford to rebuy, might start to think he can't win and may stop playing. Even more importantly, the satellite winners may think they have little chance and stop playing satellites.

All the feedback I get from smaller recreational players is that they don't like rebuys and they want poker to be an even playing field. One of the great things about poker is that anyone with the buy-in can sit down with the best in the world. These events have just become rebuys. With juice at £70 the GUKPT is very reasonable but if the events start to get an average spend of £2,000, then everyone is paying more juice and the money going from the poker economy is higher.

A few years ago Full Tilt allowed people to re-enter six times into their FTOPs. Many people at the time commented how this was a really bad idea, but many others were just blinded by the large prize pool.

I'm not sure what the solution is. I can see how the prize pools growing is great and I take the argument that people are entitled to do what they want with their money. As usual, though, I am trying to think about the long-term sustainability of the game.


Getting the vote

So I have had a good think about it and I've come up with the solution. Some might think I'm being daft, and I admit, it is slightly whacky, but it would work. You are playing the GUKPT and you bust. You wish to rebuy. You go to Dena – or maybe The Tower – on the mike and tell them you’d like to get back in. They announce this news to the room, telling everyone to look up (maybe there is a podium) and read out your name.

At this point the remaining players vote whether they wish you to re-enter and if a majority say yes you are good to go.
You are terrible at poker - you're in.

You are not too bad at poker but people like you - you're in.

You are one of the world's best - thanks for the donation, have a lovely weekend, we'll see you at the next event.

You are quite decent at poker but people really quite like you because you are lots of fun and chatty at the table - we'll let you reinvest.

You are quite bad at poker but you are miserable, you make the game no fun for those on your table and everyone hates you - good riddance.

You are pretty decent at poker and not a bad person, but you never speak at the table, your headphones are on and you never do anything to encourage recreational players to come along - work on your social skills now you have a free weekend.

You need to work on your personal hygiene - have a nice bath on Sunday while we are playing the final.

Possibly the players could be issued with a paddle with a shark on one side and a fish on the other to vote, (possibly that could be taking it too far).

You might think my idea is crazy, but it would help solve a lot of problems thrown up by re-entries and it might just make a few "professionals" act a little more professionally.


Rob Yong loses it

The other big event of the month is the Monte Carlo at DTD. Our cover star Rob Yong has clearly gone mental again and is guaranteeing 1m euros. There are three day ones starting online on the 17th. With so little going on this month, I reckon they can hit this ambitious guarantee, but it will take some work from them. I really hope the players support it.

Sadly for me I may have to miss the other great event of the month to go to Nottingham. The IPO has been on my radar from day one. It's an amazing event, which really gets all of the smaller players in Ireland and many from Europe to experience the feel of a big buy-in event for a smaller price. Boyles have decided to try something new this year and IPO London starts on the 17th at Aspers in Stratford. The buy-in is £200+25 and there is £5,000 added to the prize pool. It’s a great venue, the IPO is always great fun, they'll be a great structure and there is added money.

What’s not to like?


Tags: Neil Channing, Columnist, The Beat