Why it's a great time to be a UK tournament grinder [Editorial]

Why it's a great time to be a UK tournament grinder [Editorial]

Friday, 5 August 2011

I don't know about you guys, but I love tournament poker. I realise this isn't something one typically confesses when one has been primarily a cash game grinder for years. However, I think that a deep run in a tournament is one of the most exciting situations in poker.

All in in a cash game? It might be for many more times the big blind or it might even be a significant chunk of money but if you lose then you ship the pot over, tap the table and reload. All in in a tournament? Your heart is pounding and your hands are shaking and if you win this pot you're in third place with two tables left and OH QUEEN ON THE RIVER.

I've actually been thinking recently that I may do better at tournaments than at cash games - I'm aggressive like a chimp in heat and at small stakes cash people don't fold enough. In tournaments, they fold too much - in a fish's eyes you win tournaments by conserving, not accumulating, chips. The more fold buttons my opponents have, the better I'll do. So there it is: my name is Matt Perry, and I play lol donkaments.

Tournaments are also the path to poker fame. Tom Dwan is pretty much the only player post-Moneymaker to receive celebrity and accolades for his success in cash games and not winning a tournament or two. If you have a good run in a live tournament then people know your name. Also you get a shiny new flag on the Hendon Mob database.

Not that I'm chasing fame and fortune (just the latter) but this tournament revelation is good timing considering the UK's tournament scene at the moment. The main thing that attracts players to tournaments is small buy ins and big prizes which are caused by big fields - we rarely get them. In the US hundreds of players in a tournament is normal but we have neither the real estate or the population for it. Or didn't. Look at these:

The Dusk Till Dawn Grand Prix IV has a buy in of €60 (€50 + €10) and a guaranteed prize pool of - wait for it - €250,000. This means 5,000 runners required and Dusk Till Dawn will continue to smash records. Using both live and online venues for a staggering twenty Day 1s is a great idea for swelling prize pools.

The Genting Poker Link Game Championship is using another great tactic to increase field sizes. A £110 event with a £50k guarantee, the event will see ten Day 1s played out with a 70-player cap at Genting clubs across the country with the top 10% progressing to Day 2.

The GUKPT Goliath at Coventry's Ricoh Arena is hoping to break the European tournament attendance record and has a massive prize pool of £100,000 to match. All for a buy-in of just £100+£20. Players will also be helping raise funds for a very worth cause by playing in this event too as 25% of the each registration fee will be going to Marie Curie Cancer Care.

A day at an English seaside resort doesn't necessarily mean dodging unseasonal rain and wasting hours in amusement arcades. Brighton's Rendezvous Casino is hosting its Beach Break Festival on the August Bank Holiday weekend with a quartet of very affordable events scheduled. Top of the bill is the £300+£30 Main Event.

For players whose bankrolls are a little deeper there is of course the great action offered by the PokerStars UKIPT (next stop Edinburgh, complete with Chris Moneymaker), the Fox Poker Club and The Vic. In addition to the regular events there's the likes of the Gala Bristol Harbourside Festival which features a trio of events over the August Bank Holiday weekend culminating in a £750+£50 Main Event.

Players north of the border have got the Scottish Poker Championships at Edinburgh's Maybury Casino to look forward. The October event features four events ranging from £20 to £500+£50 and estimated £100,000 prize fund.

Small buy in events featuring huge prize pools are a great stepping stone for players looking to move to the regular tour events and so long as people like DtD, GUKPT and Genting continue to think of innovative new ways to host huge, WSOP-style-field-size tournaments, it's a good time to be a donkament grinder in the UK.

Tags: UK tournaments, UKIPT, Dusk Till Dawn, Genting, Bristol Harbourside Festival, The Vic, The Fox Poker Club