A case for freezeouts
I've just returned to Europe after a trip to California. I used to spend almost four months a year in the United States, but aside from the World Series of Poker, I don't get the chance to come to the U.S. very often anymore. For the last five years in a row I've played the World Poker Tour event in Los Angeles. Not only do I get to enjoy the fantastic weather, but it's one of the last WPT events that is still a $10,000 buy-in with no re-entries. Well, this trip it poured rain the entire time I was there but I still had a great time at the tournament.
Re-entry tournaments are a big debate in the poker world right now and I really dislike them. I think too many tournament series have adopted the re-entry format and I believe it's bad for the game as a whole, especially in Main Events. Aside from professional players, most people can't afford to re-enter multiple times in a big buy-in tournament. For the most part, professionals already have a skill advantage over amateur players and re-entries give them an additional edge. It's very unfair to players who qualify online or win live satellites and can only fire one bullet. When too many big tournaments allow unlimited re-entries, recreational players may be dissuaded from even trying to satellite in because they know they're already at a disadvantage against players who have the means to rebuy. Everyone should start on even ground and have the same chance of winning. I'm really glad the EPT Main Events are still freezeouts, and I hope they stay that way!
I also think re-entries take away a lot of the excitement of tournament poker. Having the potential to bust out on any given hand is what makes the game so thrilling. There should be pressure at every stage when you play a tournament, not just when the re-entry period is over. You should always be one crucial mistake away from the rail. Being able to reach into your pocket and rebuy takes away the huge adrenaline rush you get when you make a big call. In a way, it makes a tournament feel more like a cash game. I would much rather play a freezout so I can experience those exhilarating moments.
Now I'm back in Europe, where I'm taking part in the new season of the French TV show Le Maison du Bluff. It's a reality show where aspiring poker players live together in a mansion and compete against each other in daily Sit 'n Goes. Along the way, they get coaching from professional players and once a week, the house votes six players into the elimination tournament. Out of those six, two bust out and must leave the house, while the other four get to stay and compete. This season, the winner of Le Maison du Bluff will join Team PokerStars Pro for one year and receive a €100,000 contract, so it's a really sick prize!
I love participating in this show because the contestants really love poker and our shoot is long enough that I can actually see them improving as we go along. My role is to give the contestants lessons on different poker concepts they can apply as well as to do live commentary on the Sit n' Goes. By watching them play constantly, I can help them to identify their mistakes and adjust their play. I'm so excited to see how this season turns out... and to meet our next Team Pro!
ElkY is a member of Team PokerStars Pro