Are tournaments destroying poker?

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  • Creator
  • #23615

    Mike Caro
    -- Poker1 staff --

    Do you think tournaments have mostly helped or mostly hurt poker?

    Are there too many tournaments? Do tournaments siphon money from regular poker games? Or do they, instead, increase poker’s popularity and bring more money to everyday tables?

    Let’s talk.

    Straight Flushes,
    Mike Caro

  • Author
  • #23620

    Carlos Barletta

    I think Poker tournments helped to popularize the game, in fact, now you can play poker in a secured environment, we’re not in Texas Highways anymore, it’s not the 50′ no more Dorothy…
    Now, the other side of the question, money… there’s much much more players today, in fact I suspect that brings “new” money, much more easy to justify to IRS -by far-
    Mike Rules!

  • #23656

    Rocco Merolli

    I was going to write a whole thing here, about how I thought one kind of tournament was destroying tournament poker, but realized it was a bit of a different topic, so posted it as so. Personally, I believe tournament poker brings in a lot of attention from potential new players and people interested. My mind is always blown, when someone that doesnt play poker, happens to recognize a name or something. My reaction is always “How in the world do you know of that person?”… and they inevitable reply is “Oh, I saw them playing poker on ESPN”. So popularity wise, I think its been great. I do see the other side of the coin though. I think Doyle once even said something along the lines while looking at an empty cash game room “Those damn tournaments are busting everyone!”. I can very much understand that, and even see it, though I am not playing $1k/2k mixed at Sams Town. Ive tried following the tournament circuit, and its so expensive its just ridiculous. It has become an unfortunate realization that I will have to only take shots at Foxwoods (my home casino), until I can take down a big win. Without tremendous capital, playing tournaments as regularly as Allen Kessler or some of the others is just crazy sums of money that could have come straight out of cash games. But winning a big tournament can bring so much more then just a decent score. It can bring sponsors, invitations, free-rolls to big tournaments, etc.. Something that the biggest cash games in the world can not give. So I think its unfortunate, that tournaments seem to be the only real public “proving ground”… But it also seems, before tournaments became popular, there was no public proving ground. How important that is to player is probably very individual also.
    I should note… as always.. there are exceptions to that rule. Included in this is Mike of course! lol. However, I would be willing to bet money, that if Mike had taken down a couple of big tournaments he might already be in the hall of fame, instead of being a future inductee.

    • #23661

      Mike Caro
      -- Poker1 staff --

      Great! Thanks for the thoughtful post, Rocco. By the way, I helped launch the first World Poker Finals at Foxwoods. In fact, I named it. It was billed as “Mike Caro and Foxwoods present.” And it was the first major tournament on the East Coast and the first to have corporate sponsorship. It also was the first to introduce my four-color deck, but that didn’t work out so well on that occasion, because I got the shades wrong.
      I think you covered all the bases objectively. Excellent contribution. — Mike Caro

  • #23658

    Victor Shaw

    I recently returned to my home town and I made a trip down to the poker room only to find out that they have a tournament every night but only get a live game a couple nights a month. Sad to see it happen.

  • #23660


    ah, my info is saved above, good!

    I think poker tournaments overall are good for the game, but I think too many tournaments may be a problem. a nice balance between cash games and tournament poker should go hand in hand, the best of both worlds. Tournaments give the casual player more bank for their buck.
    Cash games are no where near as fruitful as they used to be even a few years ago, in my opinion.

  • #23664

    Rocco Merolli

    I actually WAS aware of you setting up the World Poker Finals, and because of that I played one of the events last year. I think I took 13th in it too. :-) I just wish you still had something to do with it. It would have been great to see you there!
    Thanks for you kind words on my post.

  • #23677

    Mick McCarthy

    Mike, the first World Poker Finals at Foxwoods in ’92 (or was it ’93?) was my first tournament experience. I entered the $200 seven stud tourney and ended up taking 3rd. I entered 3 handed play as the chip leader but my inexperience finally caught up. Never less, it was a decent pay day considering it was a learning experience also.

  • #23682

    Dane Fury

    HI again Mike
    Tournaments are good, here to stay. 2013 good for me,7 cashes, 2 wins, 41 tournaments at Foxwoods, Mohegan both, Turning Stone, Borgata, Rio.
    Mike, I have made it a family thing. My wife goes with me, and my 3 young adults text me while playing. This is the ultimate.
    Most of all, I realize Tourneys are tough. The best only cash 20% of the time.
    It’s like anything else, make it a positive experience, or don’t do it. I plan to continue in 2014 , and see how it goes.
    I’ve played w Mizrachi, Failla, Kessler, Massey, Musumeci and more. Next time, I hope to be there with you, Mike.
    Dane Fury

    • #23683

      Mike Caro
      -- Poker1 staff --

      I hope your tournament success continues, Dane. I never thought of poker as a “family thing,” but I like the idea. — Mike Caro

  • #23708

    Rocco Merolli

    Dane, I dont really have my own family (divorced, no kids, etc… lol), but I do the same thing with my friends, and relatives. I love that part of it. Its makes being at casinos alone all the time a better experience! lol. I had a bad start to the year, so only played a couple events this year. But I did manage to play the WPT Borgata earlier this year (played only the 2mil Guarantee). Didnt cash, but got stuck staying at the Borgata for about 11 days because my ride went broke and went home on the first night! lol. Needless to say, if it wasnt for sharing everything I was doing with friends, it would have been a total bummer! Hopefully 2014 will be the year I can get busy again, and maybe we’ll bump into eachother at Foxwoods, Mohegan, or Borgata. Sounds like your using the same home casinos as myself! Good luck!

  • #23924


    Good things:
    More interesting to watch;
    Brings new players.

    Bad things:
    Big winners of a tournament tend to use their money outside of poker.
    When players lose their stack, they often go home and stop playing for the day.
    Less money for the house (Every rebuy in a tournament should be raked :P ).
    Involves less skills.
    Less pleasant to play.
    Poker money is used a lot outside of poker when we talk about multi-days poker tournaments.
    You only practice full-handed tables unless you’re up to the final table lottery.
    Tournaments become a lottery near the end.

    So I think tournaments are good for poker, but we should have few ones and for the good reasons. We should have a National Poker League with cash game all year long and tournaments (shootouts) at the end to name a champ in each category.

    So, I know I named a lot of bad things, but I usually play low stakes tournaments because of the weakest players there. After this message, I think I will start playing ring games more often. It seems ridiculous to continue playing tournaments like I do after what I said.

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