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Crocky's Corner: Poker Hollywood is Here

Posted at 13:02 2009-04-14
Poker in Australia is right now bigger than ever before. Crown Casino alone hosts five poker tournaments per year - Aussie Millions, Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series, Melbourne Champs, Victorian Champs, and the  PokerNews Cup with also many Super Poker weekends in between.
 
In 2009 we now have the ANZPT where we will be able to play high stakes events all over Australia and New Zealand. Earlier this year we ventured to Adelaide the home of poker to play in the first ANZPT event. The buy in was $3,000 and 215 players took a shot at winning the event. However with twenty players to go the blinds were at round 17 (4,000/8,000 with 500 ante). So with 215 players starting off with 20k in chips total chips in play was 4.3 million. Twenty players left us with an average per player of 215,000. The cost per round was 20,500 which was less than 11 rounds if you had average chips. The PokerNetwork guys took the opportunity to joke with me about my concern with the structure.
 
Crocky’s Proposed New Structure
 
Here we are playing for over $170k 1st place prize and we haven’t reached the money yet and have less than 11 rounds if we are at average chips. In other words it’s like starting the tournament with 800 in chips and the blinds are 25-50.
 
The Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series $550 Main Event was even worse. With 900 entrants in the field starting with 20k starting bank, we had total chips in play near 18 million. With 33 players left the blinds were 15,000-30,000 with a 4,000 ante, thus a cost of 81k per round. Average chips were 545,000 thus less 7 rounds of play.
 
There are many reasons for this, which tournament directors must address unless they are happy to have a crap shoot for the prize money. However one of the main reasons is not to do with the tournament structure itself, but it’s that players have now watched so much poker on television that every decision is a major one and players are taking ages to make their play. Some players don’t even start looking at their cards until it’s their turn. Next time you are in a tournament and a person is re-raised I can nearly promise you that the player will take ages and eventually pass. This will happen over 80% of the time as he stares down his opponent and eventually will push his cards into the muck.
 
When we are close to the money another turtle parade occurs where players slow down the action and in most cases the other players don’t complain as they too are hoping to make the money. What amazes me is the young gun Internet players who play multiple tables on the net but wait for their birthday in live tournament play! All this stalling means that there a lot fewer hands dealt thus less confrontation and slower player elimination. Well as Hollywood stars you can all thank the Academy, but as poker stars you are all doing yourselves an injustice by taking so long.
 
If Tournament Directors don’t get on the front foot, then most tournaments will have no play to them when it is needed and more luck will determine the outcome of the event. One issue that clearly has to be looked at is calling time on a player. Most players take offence at the individual so let’s take the responsibility away from the player and put it upon the dealer who is running the game. I am sure even the dealers know when players are stalling and wasting time.One of the best events at the Aussie Millions is the $1,650 Feature event when all players are on a time limit to respond (big thumbs up from me on this event).
 
Another way is late in tournaments make the tables eight-handed, thus speeding up the hands per hour and the elimination of players. If a tournament blind structure has to be rewound back then I believe the structure was wrong from the start. The Aussie Millions is the best structure I have come across with an abundance of play at all levels from start to finish. Unfortunately we can’t have 90 minute levels for all tournaments. However we can have shorter levels earlier when there are no antes and longer levels late in the tournament.
 
So guys let’s try to have a lot less acting and a lot more playing.
 
Funny Moments
 
At the inaugural ANZPT Event in Adelaide Gary Benson flew in from Sydney with Sam “The Champ” Khouiss. Gary had organised Sam’s room and flights. When Sam collected his bags, to his surprise Gary was no where to be seen. Gary was so overwhelmed being back to Adelaide, the home of poker, that in all his excitement and happiness forgot about Sam the Champ and left him at airport. I can just see Gary with tears of joy coming back to the Hyatt and the Casino. What I would’ve loved to see was Sam’s face at the baggage collection area.
 
On Sunday evening at the ANZPT we proceeded to run a $1,000 ten-man satellite. I just sat back and dodged the bullets as “Silver Fox” Sam destroyed the table. He knocked the first six players. When there were four players left Leo Boxell raised three times in a row only to see him pass his hand each time as Silver Fox re-raised him every time. On the fourth time Leo decided to move all in and looked at Sam and said “Screw you, I am moving all in first, cop that!” “Call” said Sam, and Leo proudly turned over his pocket tens while Sam turned over his pocket aces! Sam went on to knock out every single player and win the satellite!
 
Hooray for Hollywood! Let’s leave the acting to the big screen pros.

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Crocky's Corner:  Poker Hollywood is Here Crocky's Corner: Poker Hollywood is Here

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