Poker world debates reentries and tournament structure

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Dec 04, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

There have been two debates raging on social media and across the poker world of late, as players debate whether tournament structures are too fast or too slow, and more recently the prevalence of reentry events, and whether or not they are hurting the game.

Overall it seems that the poker world is becoming too skewed towards the professional player, and much like online poker rooms have discovered, the people in charge of live tournaments are now realizing that by catering to the pros in lieu of the amateurs by offering slow structures and reentries they are in fact hurting the long-term outlook of the game.

Tournament Structure

The latest bout of structure debate began when Allen Kessler complained about the recent structure at the WPT Montreal tournament – a complaint that eventually led to him being blocked by Tournament Director Matt Savage. Kessler, an advocate of super-slow tournament structures, was met with perhaps the harshest blowback this debate has ever received, with advocates of a faster structure finally voicing their opinions on the matter.

Perhaps the biggest name to weigh-in was Mike Sexton, who wrote a blog post at Party Poker where he outlined the reasons that the current ultra-slow structure should be scrapped in favor of a structure that has a tournament last not more than four days.

Sexton has spoken on this in the past, but this is by far the most in-depth anyone has ever gone in explaining the numerous benefits to faster tournaments, which basically boil down to three things:

* Faster tournaments attract more recreational players

* Faster tournaments give recreational players a better chance of winning (which is good for poker)

* Faster tournaments allow players to participate in more events

Reentry Events

On the other side of the coin are reentry tournaments, namely the unlimited reentry tournaments (which are basically rebuy events without the double rebuy and add-on). A number of poker players are upset about the WPT Five Diamond’s decision to allow unlimited reentries for the $10,000 Main Event, as they feel it gives an unfair advantage to players with deep pockets.

Additionally, this type of format sours recreational and satellite players from participating as they only have a single bullet while the pros (who already have an edge on them) can rebuy into the tournament multiple times.

I have been contemplating reentries effect on poker for some time now, and it’s beginning to become apparent that what started out as a way to boost prize-pools amid falling attendance numbers has now crossed the line, and given too much of a competitive advantage to the professionals.

You can read my thoughts from earlier this year on reentry events here:


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