View Full Version : Tournament Over Tilt

01-30-2002, 09:54 PM
While tournament poker is certainly a very important part of poker, in my opinion many cardrooms, along with the magazines, are putting too much emphasis in this area. Thus the day-to-day games get neglected, and these are the games which are the backbone of poker. For instance, we all started in the day-to-day games. Virtually none of us started in a poker tournament.

All comments are welcome.

01-30-2002, 10:56 PM
i always saw tournies as a sort of promo for a card room. There fun and a little less intimidating to the average tourist and the stakes you play for are generally less then even the lowest limit in the card room. however i think most cardroom managers (at least the few card room managers here in michigan) seem to think that they are going to cultivate a great tournement enviroment that will draw huge crowds and the best players when really all they are running is a bi weekly promo. unless your the WOSP or some other big event i simply don't see how these things rake in much money vrs the rake in normal games. Hence i think most card rooms should follow the money and try to fullfill the needs of their ring game players before they worry about appeaseing the minority of players who like tournements.

01-30-2002, 10:59 PM
I think it is natural for the magazines to give tournaments more hype. This is because they are easy to cover. The magazines can't cover the Bellagio 30-60 holdem or 75-150 stud very well. The players wouldn't welcome it anyway. But they can easily show a picture of somebody who wins a big tournament and talk about the play that led up to his victory.

I think I will always favor live games instead of tournaments, so I tend to agree that live games should be paramount. Certainly the health of tournaments depends on the health of live poker, but the converse is not equally true. But tournaments have helped poker in some important ways, so I don't want to sound too anti-tournament.

01-31-2002, 01:17 AM
If tournaments in the 25-300 range were offered in my area, Mt. I would play little in ring games.

My last two trips to Nevada, week in Reno and 5 days in Vegas, I logged 10 hrs live.

I agree that too much emphasis on tournaments may hurt live action. I remember the Bike in the late 80s when they had 49 buyin events I believe 5 days a week. Many of the mid level games seemed to break for these. I used to wonder if this hurt the house take.

01-31-2002, 01:55 AM
Tournaments have a good and bad side to poker in general. The good side (in my opinion):

It usually helps to promote poker in a solid way for large and small poker rooms alike and the game in general. A weekly tournament at a poker room will attract many players that will sit into the ring games after busting out etc. In smaller poker rooms it is also for many players a social setting were much is discussed and rehashed and players mix and mingle. I think this helps poker players and poker play.

It gives players a way to test their skills in a different manner than in ring games.

It can be a cheap vehicle for players to try different games and thus get interested in playing them for money. For example, my interest in no-limit hold'em started with small tournaments at the Mirage - I now like to play money games whenever one is available.

The bad side:

Some (not all) tournaments (usually the bigger ones) tend to become a celebrity match to some extent. This can distract from "pure play". Promotions can be distracting and the excess media attention in both magazines and TV and news coverage will, with time, bring some ugly problems to tournament poker and thus reflect bably on the entire poker community. This is just my cynical prediction but it has to some extent already happened - right? The underlying problem is that this does and will reflect badly on ALL PLAYERS and make it all that much harder to erase the tarnished image poker has to many people.

If over emphasis is placed on tournament play and players the "backbone of poker" to quote Mason will suffer. This is probably true. This is of course a real dilemma, because to some extent tournament poker helps all players and brings attention to the game which can get more people interested in playing. But what will they play? The tournament games that will get their picture in a magazine or the money games? And perhaps most important of all, will most of the new boundries of poker be expanded into money games - or tournament play? Is there too much writing and glory and emphasis on tournament play and players? This seems to be hinted at by Mason and others.

A way should be found to emphasis the differences in the style and compeition of money games and tournament play and to use those differences to benefit and promote both.

How is that to be done? Anyone have any ideas? Any comments on the above?

01-31-2002, 03:44 AM
Apparently, people like tournaments. I believe the tournament starts tomorrow in Commerce. Tonight, when I left at around 9:00, there were 3 15-30 games, 5 20-40 games, 2 30-60 games, 2 40-80 games, 2 80-160 games, and a pot limit game. The casino was loaded with people from out of town in for the tournament.

I don't play tournaments, so I can't say which, day-to-day games or tournaments, are the backbone of poker. But the fact that all of us started in day-to-day games, rather than tournaments, seems irrelevant to me. I started in draw, a lot of others who play hold 'em in California started in lowball and, I assume, a lot of Nevada players who play hold 'em started in stud. Hold 'em is where the action is now, so that's what we play.

FWIW, I had the biggest day of my poker playing life today, with a lot of weaker out-of-towners in town for the tournament, in the 40-80 game. No question the cards were falling all over me, and I rarely play as high as 40-80, but I got a lot of calls from people in for the tournament that I wouldn't get from the regulars in the game.

01-31-2002, 09:56 AM
I disagree. I started playing holdem (with little knowledge of the game) by playing in low limit ($21) tourneys in Vegas. I felt it was a cheap way to learn the game without putting up a large amount of money. (one tourney I remember in particular was at Ceasar's when I had been running good and decided to play a slightly larger tourney - in one hand I knocked out Robert Turner, Tom McEvoy and Amarillo Slim. I didn't win the tourney, placed 3rd, but this was certainly the highlight of my career at that point). Since then I have owned card rooms in CA, and managed card rooms and have always advised players wanting to learn a new game (i.e. Omaha) to enter a low entry fee tourney rather than risk more to get familiar with the game.


01-31-2002, 01:35 PM
i dont like tournaments.

i can see why they are covered in the mags though.

i think they can put some coverage in the mags of ring games as well..

for example (this is all made up)

they could have someone cover the bellagio(or any casino) on a friday night..

they could state how many 15/30's, 4/8's, 30/60's, 80/160's etc. were going that night, and cover all limits/games of course. maybe talk about a few hands observed with great big pots with tourists sucking out on "tough local pros" and basically tell how great the action is.

they could name the big name players who were playing in the room, etc,

also they could comment on the atmosphere and overall management of the cardroom.

feature a different cardroom every issue, from podunk montana to harrah's east chicago to commerce casino.

i dont read the mags, so if they already do this, my apologies.

02-01-2002, 01:10 AM
tournaments have spread to casinos all over the world. the attendence at the older established tournaments grows and grows (as well as at newer ones). thus there can be little question of their popularity.

thru both the media and by word of mouth they have attracted more attention to poker than any other single thing. most likely that this attention is at least partly responsible for the growth of poker.

hard to measure, but my guess is that tournaments are a big PLUS for poker in general.

seems that I recall hearing that they are now in regulat television in England (not just that big event last year). what publicity!

Will not try to figure all reasons for their popularity, but the limited risk must appeal to many, especially a novice....and they are allways needed as foundation for the future.

02-01-2002, 05:54 AM
While everything you say may be true, it doesn't address the issue that I brought up. So let me state it slightly differently. Is poker room management putting too much emphasis on their tournament(s) and forgetting to run their rooms well on a day-to-day basis?

02-01-2002, 02:12 PM
I think a major reason why tournaments are popular is that they offer a loss limit for weak players but with the promise of a big reward.

Bad players engage in all sorts of silly money management schemes. Tournaments have one built in. "The most I can lose is $200, but I could win $3000!"

I think it is a similar urge as the one people have to bet big underdogs in sporting events.

I'm not saying everyone is like this, just many. And those many are what make tournaments profitable for a few.

Paul Talbot

02-01-2002, 05:03 PM
by all means they MUST put the day to day activities first---otherwise any newcommers could be turned off.

let's call that their base, their foundation, upon which they can build IF they do 1st things 1st.

sorry I did not understand you point to begin with.

02-01-2002, 05:06 PM

02-01-2002, 10:33 PM
I started in tournaments (after about 6 hours of 2-4 and 3-6). After cashing at a few tournies last summer though, I began playing about ten hours a week of 15-30 to 40-80 to cover my WSOP buy-ins this April.

02-04-2002, 08:31 PM
Tournaments are very popular in my cardroom, which is a 30 mile drive out into nowhere. Whenever the casino holds tourney events there is a big turn out.

I think one of the appealing aspects of a tourney is that it is an 'event' as opposed to a 'session' of undetermined length. And a player knows there is a limit or range of loss he won't exceed.

I've got a feeling the live games at my poker room would not be as popular, or populated as they are without the draw of tournaments. Having said that, I do think poker management neglects the games somewhat. At least they don't seem to show much imagination in how they spread them, preferring to let the players decide what games go. For example, there is almost no stud - only 1-4 hi only. Yet I think there is a good potential for stud of other limits. Now if players want to start a list then they can put their names up and when enough do they spread a game. But it doesn't happen because the action is with Holdem - higher limits and higher jackpots.