The pros and cons of the Epic Poker League Part 1

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Aug 18, 2011 Posted in Epic Poker League News, Op-Ed | No Comments »

With the Epic Poker League’s debut now come and gone I thought I’d take a look at the pros and cons that I’ve noticed about the league from two different perspectives: The League and The Players.

First I’ll take a look at the pros and cons from the EPL’s point of view:

Epic Poker League PROS:

* $1 million first-place prize-money

I have always considered a $1 million or higher first-prize to be the bellwether as to whether a tournament is truly going to capture the public’s attention, and the Epic Poker League hit that number thanks to a little creative accounting at the end –the payout structure originally had first-place at just under $1 million.

Honestly, the “Couch Cannons” just aren’t that interested in a tournament where the top prize is $250,000 and the 6th place finisher earns $20k. If the EPL can continue to grow this number their future would seem a lot brighter in my mind.

* Almost guaranteed a top-flight final table

Obviously when your entire field –sans 9 qualifiers– is made up of the top tournament players in recent years you’re going to have a pretty solid final table, and if the big names of poker were to eventually support the EPL –see below—than the league would almost be guaranteed a Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan type player at every final table.

* A lot of capitol and a good team

One thing the Epic Poker League is not lacking in is willing investors. Thus far everything the league has done, from marketing, to promotions, to creating their Tour Card criteria, and even the Global Poker Index has been handled flawlessly.

They have also been willing to throw around some money with TV ad-buys, hiring Annie Duke, Jeffrey Pollack, Matt Savage, a slew of writers led by John Vorhaus, as well as commissioning economists and other experts to create the GPI and the tour card criteria. Not to mention the $400k added per tournament –rake-free tournaments to boot—and the $1 million end of the year freerool.

Epic Poker League CONS:

* Big names are not showing up

Despite a star-studded field, the real poker royalty –with a few exceptions like Erik Seidel and Phil Hellmuth—were nowhere to be found at the EPL tables this past week. Missing from the fray were Tom Dwan, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Patrik Antonius, Doyle Brunson, Gus Hansen, Johnny Chan, and Howard Lederer.

While these players do not represent the “best” players in the game –some are, some aren’t—they are the players that people associate with poker and want to see.

* A lot of unanswered questions

There are still many people questioning the long-term goals of the league and its sustainability based on the amount of money it is shelling it out, one of the most vocal critics being Daniel Negreanu. If these questions remain unanswered it’s quite likely the biggest names in poker will continue to avoid playing in the EPL events.


Read Part 2 HERE

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