How Deep is Your Love

hat a nice place Helsinki is. An invitation to vote in the annual European Poker Awards meant I was there just before Christmas. Having read Roy “The Boy” Brindley’s scathing article on these awards (on, I was more than a little interested to find out how the nominees were selected. Apparently, 20 representatives from the poker industry nominate two players for each category. Those with the most votes go forward and the previous year’s winners then discuss the candidates’ various merits and proceed to a secret vote, with the Helsinki casino marketing manager and a journalist as impartial observers. According to the journalist, the 20 who make the original nominations are persons who have responded to e-mails and presumably expressed interest in the awards over the years. This process has replaced that of canvassing the wider poker fraternity, as in the past, the awards had been marred by spurious nominations and vote rigging. Personally, I would still like an element of popular vote to be considered in the selection, but other than that, it all seemed aboveboard to me.


My curiosity was not the only reason for flying north; I also wanted to play in the Helsinki main event. With a light and airy nonsmoking poker room, an excellent tournament structure, lots of starting chips, an efficient and friendly English-speaking staff, several cash games, and a very comfortable hotel 50 meters down the road — what more could anyone ask for? Well, I do like Helsinki a lot, but I won’t be going back in a hurry. The reason is that the prize structure was too flat for me, with just 30 percent going to the winner. Of course, I would be very happy to play for 30 percent of millions, but not for 30 percent of ¤165,000.


Once upon a time there existed an old-fashioned dictum: “The customer is always right.” When we poker players visit casinos and put up our own money to play in judi poker mogeqq tournaments, we are the customers, and as such, I think we are entitled to a bit of service. Do we want to travel halfway around the world at our own expense to find out that we have to sign waivers so that others may profit from our participation in television programmes, whether we want to appear or not? Do we want to risk being subjected to poor decisions by people who have never run a poker tournament before? Do we want to encourage a money-grabbing culture in which even the employee who is giving us our prize money breaks it down in fond expectation of a monetary reward? He or she is already getting a wage because we have paid for it, but then expects us to tip, as well!


I think it’s time to reassess our priorities, especially now that there are so many poker festivals in increasingly exotic locales. Do you just want to go where there is big side action and the sun is shining? Are you a tournament junkie who doesn’t care about being ripped off as long as you can play in big competitions? And are you so desperate to claim television fame that you’ll keep digging up $10,000 buy-ins for any old crapshoot? Only you know the answers. How deep is your love? ´

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