08 May 2008

Poker Blogger Tourneys

I've been out of the blogger tourneys for the most part since they moved almost exclusively to FullTilt about six-eight months or so. I rarely played Wil Wheaton's tourney but was a mainstay back in the days of two-three tables of the Mookie and the MATH. The fact that I never won a Mookie event (and thus never got to answer all those questions about me) frustrated me to no end. I also hosted a small weekly tourney on PokerStars, even getting the PokerWorks folks to give me some cash to add to the prize pool (I think $1k). My tourney was never very popular in numbers, more of an intimate gathering of knuckleheads than anything really.

It's been stunning to watch the growth of these tourneys, and AlCantHang along with Hoy, Mook, smokkee, and MiamiDon, have been instrumental in pushing the envelope. FullTilt especially has embraced the marketing value of having bloggers playing regularly on their site, driving traffic, affiliate revenue, downloads, and conversions in the process.

I know there has been alot written about what blogger tourneys have become. Since I haven't been playing in them this year, let me chime in (always great to have an opinion about something you know nothing about, right?).

With the significant added value arranged by Al et al, the blogger tourneys have been one of the few series of poker tournaments in the world where someone is adding to the prize pool. Let me repeat that. The blogger tourneys are one of the series of poker tournaments in the world where there is significant added value to the prize pool. The WSOP made news last week for their delayed Main Event, and I noted that one of the other items mentioned was that the interest on the prize pool for those at the Final Table would be given back to them. A quick calculation of this: 0.17% added to the prize pool, and none of that coming from the host or sponsor of the WSOP. I'll let someone more familiar with the blogger tourneys figure out the overall prize pool, the rake, and how much FullTilt is adding, but I assume it is more than 0.17%.

So this has moved from being a gathering of virtual acquaintances and friends to a competitive regular happening. Folks have reacted differently to this, with some getting test and nasty in their chat and IM's about donkey play or bad beats. Sometimes those comments have gotten heated and personal. Additionally, people have come to care more about playing in these, about doing well in them, about getting points and getting money.

Has all of this taken away from the general feeling of community that brought everyone to these events in the first place? I'll let others comment on this. I do know that one of the terrific parts of blogger tourneys is that a new person can gain entry into this strange community of people called poker bloggers. All it takes is visiting one of the above sites, finding the password, having $10-25 on FullTilt (or Bodog), then signing up and sitting down. You can chat away with the people you've read and trolled and commented on, these big figures in our little world.

You can play with neophytes or the best we have to offer, folks like Lucko and Fuel and LJ and Gnome and cmitch. Is it the same as playing with annette_15 or Gus Hansen or Jason Strasser? It isn't too far from it, I don't believe. Because of it, bad players have become mediocre and good players have become really good. It is one of the real draws of blogger tourneys, that you can test yourself with such a wide array of players who you also know a little about.

Did the intimacy get lost as the fields grew? Sure, just as some of the connectivity and community that originally developed in poker blogs has been broken by Bloglines and Google Reader. Much of that intimacy now comes from subsegments of our group, IM's and chats with smaller groups of people.

Do we need a tourney that isn't part of all this, just a place to have fun like the good old days? I wouldn't be the judge of that. My impression is that the field is pretty packed, what with 1-2 events going on every single evening. How anyone stays married or attached to a significant other or remains a competent parent while spending all these evenings on their computer is one I don't fully understand. It's probably what has kept me away from the events the most, just that I'm now enjoying sitting four feet away from my wife in front of the television rather than returning to The Pit (as we've come to affectionately call this office/dungeon) to play poker with my virtual friends for 10 minutes-4 hours (depending on how quickly I bust out).

Having removed myself from these tourneys and currently holding down last place on the leaderboard with 0 points, I can tell you I miss doing eighteen things while having a tournament open with you guys. I miss shoving, hitting, then reading all of the chat about how stupid I am and how could I make this play when so and so hasn't re-raised in five weeks (even though I am never paying any attention to even my cards, much less all this complicated stuff like what other players are doing or have done or their position or M's or size of raises or position). I do miss it, I do. I almost reached out last night to get some FullTilt funds for Stars funds into my account so I could jump in to the Mook. My wife was out, and I had the evening free. Work and work and putting the boys in bed led me away, and I didn't reach out and didn't sign up. I looked for some way to jump into some ring game to turn my $0.04 at FullTilt into the $11 I needed, but I couldn't find that either.

So poker blogger tourney folks, here's my wisdom: take a couple steps back then return to the table with a fresh view of the Mookie or MATH or Riverchasers or the Big Game or whichever other event you're signing up for. You get whatever you want out of the event, but don't forget that one of the best parts is seeing friends and finding new ones.


Blogger My final out said...

Very well put. I actually just started after reading poker blogs for over a year. I really wanted to start and be part of the community, but also to learn about poker. Anytime you bring big money into anything it will change it. I do still feel like the blogging comunity is a close nit group of people, and that is what drew me to it.


11:19 AM  
Blogger WillWonka said...

I still looking forward to the blogger tourneys. Somewhat like you, I don't play in many. Maybe 1 or 2 a week.

For the most part the chat is excellent and fun and funny and all that stuff. Maybe I just have auto ignore built in cognitively because I just dont remember (or don't choose to) all that many negative comments. Maybe because that is because I don't make many final tables.... lol.

I've always said that I am comfortable with my play and somebody calls me a donkey or some other name, then that is half the fun.

11:55 AM  
Blogger kurokitty said...

This is an excellent post.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Mr Subliminal said...

I made the mistake of not distinguishing between blogger tourneys (Mookie, MATH, Big Game etc.) where the behavior is usually cordial, and the hybrids like Riverchasers where the likelihood of running into unruly riffraff approximates the general population distribution i.e. significantly higher.

7:42 PM  
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7:51 PM  

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