We have been discussing tournaments and related subjects such as buy-ins, satellites, places paid, and prize pools. Let’s continue the discussion with more information on subjects relating to tournaments.
Suppose you are playing in a tournament and you hear folks discussing bad beats (trust me, no one cares!), and you hear someone say that he busted out “on the bubble.” Just what is the bubble in an event? Well, in my opinion, it is the worst spot in which you can finish — one spot short of the money. Why do I think that it is the worst spot? You have played all day for absolutely no reward, other than the experience of playing.
I am not at all saying that learning time was ill spent, but from a monetary standpoint, you have spent maximum time and aggravation for no payday at all. You received the same return on your investment as if you had been the first one out of the tournament. Some folks feel that there is shame in being the first player out of an event. Personally, I would rather be the first one out and have the day to spend as I please, than to play all day, get so close, and become so disappointed. If you are the first one out, you never really had a chance to get your hopes up anyway!
Perhaps that is a defeatist attitude, but it is my story and I am sticking to it. I would rather have the time to play side action (which normally is very good during a tournament), where I have a chance to win my buy-in back and make money, rather than play all day and finish just short of the money.
Recently, I received a question inquiring about time penalties. The writer wanted to know the circumstances under which a penalty would be “awarded.” For many years, there were few rules regarding proper conduct in poker rooms and for many players, bad behavior was the norm. Not so anymore, I am pleased to say.
In the past several years, cardroom managers, recreational and professional players, as well as poker room staff, have really put forth an effort to end the insanity that once prevailed in some tournaments. Players who misbehave at the poker table are now treated like the ill-mannered children that they are, and are given “time-outs” in certain instances. Perhaps the first warning may be just a verbal “don’t do it again,” whatever “it” may be. It also could be a 10-20 minute suspension from the event.
In such an instance, the player’s UFA chips would remain in action and he would be blinded or anted off as if he were present. When this happens, generally a timer is placed near the player’s chips with a count down of the time remaining until he may resume play. I have seen it happen when a player misbehaved, knew that he was out of line, and as the tournament director was walking up to him with a timer, he just got up and walked out of the room without a word being spoken. Players know when and if they have acted badly.
If a tournament director determines that a player’s behavior is so egregious that he should not be allowed to continue playing, he is disqualified and his chips and interest in the prize pool are forfeited. The addition of time-out penalties, as well as the authority to reprimand players whose conduct is inappropriate, has made the tournament director’s job easier and the playing experience more pleasant for the players. Very few players enjoyed playing in an atmosphere where dealers and/or players were being abused. As a result of instituting the penalty process, tournament poker is a much more pleasant venue than it was years ago.
I am directing the Oasis Open, a tournament in Mesquite, Nevada, from May 17-21 at the Oasis Hotel and Casino. Mesquite is about 80 miles north of Las Vegas and is a great getaway for golfers and spa enthusiasts. The buy-ins for this event range from $50-$120, and there will be side action and satellites available. A special $15 room rate is being offered to players and food comps will be liberal. If you play in all five events, your room will be comped during the tournament. I hope you can attend, and please stop by and say hello.