Tournament money lists – do we really need them? [Editorial]
Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Who would have believed that January 2011 would be such a pinnacle month for online poker? Not only have we had the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the Full Tilt Aussie Millions, the World Series of Poker Circuit, the World Poker Tour Southern Championships and the European Poker Tour Deauville. These events have given away well over $10,000,000 in the first 30 days of 2011.
However, this has raised debate – when Daniel Negreanu finished runner-up to Eugene Katchalov in the PCA $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller he earned a cool $1m and took back the top spot on the All-Time Tournament Money List from Phil Ivey. In response, Full Tilt announced a Super Short Notice $250,000 buy-in event at the Aussie Millions that Erik Seidel won for $2.5m; also titled “The Phil Ivey’s Chance to Take Back the All-Time Money Spot $250,000 Event”.
The beauty of poker is that if you have enough money to play, you can. There are no requirements of age, gender, physical fitness or even mental ability. You simply have to know the rules and afford the buy-in. In any tournament, the best or worst player in the field can win; the best or worst player in the field can be eliminated first; the best or worst can bubble the money payouts. Invitational events and short-notice, six-figure buy-in tournaments do nothing but harm the entire point of keeping score in tournaments.
The Hendon Mob have responded to this by adjusting their database, meaning that one can filter out Invitational events and also events with a buy-in of more than $50,000. Let’s take a look at the top five in tournament earnings and see how they differ with these new criteria:
All-Time List, every event.
1.Daniel Negreanu - $14,116,192
2.Phil Ivey - $13,859,944
3.Erik Seidel - $13,788,227
4.Jamie Gold - $12,231,105
5.Phil Hellmuth - $11,445,926
All-Time List, open events only.
1.Erik Seidel - $13,532,242
2.Daniel Negreanu - $13,371,937
3.Phil Ivey - $12,288,944
4.Jamie Gold - $12,206,105
5.Scotty Nguyen - $11,087,734
All-Time List, no $50k+ buy-ins
1.Daniel Negreanu - $13,116,192
2.Phil Ivey - $12,306,168
3.Jamie Gold - $12,231,105
4.Phil Hellmuth - $11,445,926
5.Scotty Nguyen - $11,343,434
The point of this is that Full Tilt or PokerStars (the main culprits in ruining these lists, read on) cannot just organise a televised, million-dollar buy-in event and crown the winner top of the list. For that same reason I cannot play two $10,000,000 heads-up Sit n’ Goes with my friend and go 1-1, breaking even but making $10m in winnings and arriving in 14th place on the All-Time Money List.
Now, Full Tilt and PokerStars kick-started this when the former decided to have a hissy fit about poker sponsorships. For this reason, the Aussie Millions tried to one-up the PCA with a $100,000 High Roller – both received 38 entries – and then the $250,000 buy-in event won by Seidel. This rivalry, and the rivalry they’ve shown in improving their live events and their online play, is great for poker. What isn’t, however, is their de facto segregation.
Apparently imposed by Full Tilt rather than PokerStars, the Red Pros of the former can no longer appear on PokerStars-sponsored shows or events. This is why there will be a notable lack of Tom “durrrr” Dwan in the upcoming High Stakes Poker season; why Ivey wasn’t in the PCA playing a $100,000 event like it was worth $10; why we’re unlikely to see Antonius at the final table of an EPT any time soon.
Guys, I understand that you are competing sites and that yeah, it’s kind of awkward to have Full Tilt-patch-wearing pros sitting at a table emblazoned with the PokerStars label but at the end of the day, we’re here to see the players and not the patches. It’s like watching two football teams and complaining that the kit sponsors are both competing electronics brands. If you keep putting these restrictions on your players then this kind of stuff happens; we have to re-organise the money list.
And that’s just hassle.