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Monday, December 18, 2006

Poker ist everywhere

Last weekend I checked out two different non-casino poker tournament events. Those two couldn't be more different. One was in a music club (the 4004 in Munich). Much space, 10 tables and lots of people (around 150 to 200) and very smokey. As the club itself advertised the event the crowd was quite young (20-30). They had a clear structure of prizes starting with a €1,000 tournament buy-in down to some playstation Wii and money for the sponsoring online poker room. While it is still not comparable to (real) tournaments were you can win prize money it was an o.k. structure compared to the €15 buy-in. What I appreciated most was the fact that they advertised the prize structure in advance. Their sponsoring pokerroom was supporting them heavily (even their german general manager showed up).

The other event was in a much nicer location - the Villa Flora in Munich (good food, non-smoking environment and a nice atmosphere). They had five tables there but unfortunately no players. One hour after the official beginning only 5 had people shown up. I think that was mostly because it wasn't advertised as good as the other event and they hadn't a clear structure about what you could win. They had some party poker logos on their tables but other than this no sponsoring could be seen.

You can make good money in these days by organising poker events but they aren't anything like printing money. You have to work for it and you have to find good partners. I think in a year only a few will survive and the others will fade away.

Oh, and of course one thing was the same at both: the crappy blind structure. But wait - is that good or bad? As a skilled poker player I would say it is bad because it increases the luck factor. But think the other way. Not from the organisers point of view. It's clearly good for him. More money in less time. But what about the players? Almost none of them was "skilled". Would it make a difference for them to have a better structure. Most probably not. They wouldn't be able to use the better structure or bigger stack as a tool. On the other hand they had to wait much longer to buy-in for the next round because the tables aren't finished in an hour. Those people want to make party, play with their friends, have fun and like to have a shot on the big prizes. They don't care about the structure ... and if they start to do they will find other opportunities to play on their new skill level.

Having seen that I changed my opinion about those people offering those tournaments for the huge public. I hated tose tournaments in the past, now I think they will help to keep the poker-boom alive. But no organiser should rip off the people. Of course there are restrictions due to the german law but beside that they should offer reasonable prizes (and many of them don't do so).

And one more thing: Everybody talks about gambling addiction in these days. Honestly, I've seen more gambling addicts in every single official casino than in this place. Of course you could find people drinking to much or behaving inapropriate like on every party in this age group but in general this was a nice bunch of young people having fun with poker!


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