Viva l’Espana, UK tourney scene, PokerStars delivers and more [Monday Op-Ed]

Viva l’Espana, UK tourney scene, PokerStars delivers and more [Monday Op-Ed]

Monday, 9 May 2011

The past three weeks in the poker world have seen said world thrown into turmoil after the events of Black Friday. Now it seems like people are picking up the pieces and getting on with their lives.

Whether it’s US players moving country, getting a real job or playing live (even Daniel “jungleman12” Cates was spotted at the Aria playing $300/$600 mixed games) the show must, as Freddie said, go on. That’s why we’ve had a World Poker Tour event last week; the EPT Grand Final in Madrid this week; a WSOP Circuit event kicking off and as always, online action.

Ole ole, ole ole! Running hot hot hot.

WSOP CircuitBertrand “ElkY” Grospellier added yet another trophy to his collection of poker and Starcraft accolades by taking down the first European Poker Tour event to be held in Madrid; the €25,000 High Roller at the Grand Final, no less! Fortunately the trophy came with a €525,000 first prize so the extension on his silverware cabinet is looking affordable, he just needs planning permission.

Grospellier beat a stacked final table to take down the huge first prize. This reminds us of the beginning of 2009 when “ElkY”, having taken down the previous year’s PCA for $2m, won the $25k High Roller and final tabled another just weeks later. That was the same year that he took down more online tournaments than you can shake a stick as well as final tabling the WPT Championship and finishing third at NBC Heads-Up. Since then you’d be forgiven for thinking that variance had caught up with him.

Not so – in fact, since then Grospellier can boast three tournament wins, one of which was for six figures in France. If anything, this goes to show just how many – some might say too many – poker tournaments there are in the world. If one of the hottest tourney players around can have a $500k 2010 in the live arena with a bunch of events no one has ever heard of then it’s either good or bad for poker. Good, obviously, because the more games played the better. Bad because too much competition will kill off events and series.

Monte Carlo to Madrid – EPT Grand Final €10,000 Main Event

The flagship tournament of the European Poker Tour concludes season seven with Day 2 kicking off at noon today. Leading the way is WSOP CircuitDavid Sonelin who managed to change his 30,000 chips into nearly ten times that by the end of nine levels on Day 1a. Today the event aims to play down to a field of 104 from the 686 starting entrants, securing everyone a money spot of €15,000 with the winner earning a hundred times that.

PokerStars, both live and online, have always favoured the flatter payout structure (here 15% of the field are getting paid instead of the somewhat-standard 10%) with big jumps at the final table. In my opinion having 72 paid and adding another €400,000 plus to the top end of the prize pool is better – the event simply looks more impressive to the outsiders if the winner and runner-up take home €1.6m and €1m instead of €1.5m and €900k. Not that I’d complain at €900k, it’s just not quite that magic number.

PokerStars surpasses expectations for US players.

Well, I say surpasses expectations – they’ve long been considered the best site in the world and this is why. Of the three indicted sites, were not only the first to refund the bankrolls of US players after negotiations with the DoJ but they have also refunded all tournament dollars, tickets and FPPs. This is great news for super-grinders with millions of FPPs worth cents apiece. That adds up.

It’s really no surprise to me that PokerStars have the integrity to hold player funds separately and can afford to take this hit but survive. The Sunday Million has drawn enough players to bust the $1m guarantee every time since Black Friday and the only harm to the player pool has been slightly reduced guarantees and shifting time zones. Kudos to them.

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I take a look at the best ever televised laydowns here [Phil Hellmuth actually sneaks into a Top # Poker Accomplishments list shocker!] while Johnny Hughes, our resident old school Texan gunslinger, explores the mystery of The Rush. Meanwhile, analytical poker boffin Alex Rousso shows how to keep calm in the face of a life downswing. Aptly, our latest interview is poker mental game coach – and recently published author – Jared Tendler.

Tags: EPT, Jared Tendler, Editorial, ElkY