2017ACOP: Choose Your Own Adventure
The 2017 Asia Championship of Poker (October 13-29) has a massive 17-day schedule and you may very well be intimidated by the vast options.
Have no fear, I'm here to guide you through it all!
Remember, choice is a good thing and this year, more so than any other year, you can truly choose your own adventure.
For regular ACOP updates follow us on Twitter @PokerStarMacau with hashtag #2017ACOP
OK, let's get right to it!
ACOP TITLE EVENTS: THE CLASSICS
If you're looking at the schedule, the ACOP Title Events are numbered as Event #1-24. These are the tournaments that award the ACOP Spadie trophies (pictured) and count towards the all-time record books.
For this piece, I'm not going to include the big High Roller events as this article is really for the other 99% of us.
Event #16: HK$100,000 Main Event (HK$25 Million Guarantee)
If you had to play one, and only one, tournament at the ACOP it would be the Main Event. This year, the Main Event's prize pool guarantee has jumped from HK$15 million to HK$25 million!! No event in Asia's history has ever ensured that kind of prize money.
It's the ultimate challenge in the Far East with a deep, slow structure. Players get a start bank of 50,000 chips and play 90-minute levels (with exception of the opening six levels at 60 minutes).
It takes five grueling tournament days to complete but should you find yourself being the last man standing, you'll be hoisting the coveted Gold Spadie and taking home somewhere around HK$8 million (USD $1M).
There are plenty of ways to qualify to the Main Event including online satellites (running now) or live options at the PokerStars LIVE Macau poker room.
Event #1: HK$4,000 1M GTD Spadie (HK$1 Million Guarantee, Unlimited Re-Entries)
A vast majority of the Spadies are priced at HK$10,000 or more so the opening event is one of the few exceptions to the rule at just HK$4,000.
Last year, the 1M GTD Spadie generated a field of 566 entrants and nearly HK$2 million in prize money. Whether you're a Weekend Warrior or playing the full 17-day grind you don't want to miss this event unless you physically can't be here.
Event #6: HK$11,000 Deepstack Championship
With the success of the 1M GTD Spadie, the popular Deepstack Championship has been moved closer to the heart of the schedule. With that in mind, players should expect the two-day event to well exceed last year's 202 players and HK$1.9 million prize pool.
Only a handful of the ACOP events start you off with 20,000+ chips and this is one of them. It's the unofficial warm-up to the Warm-up. If you're looking for an abbreviated trip then this is the perfect starting point.
Event #8: HK$9,000 2M GTD Spadie (HK$2 Million Guarantee, Unlimited Re-Entries)
The 2M GTD Spadie has become a brand name more than an indication of the actual prize money at stake. Last year, the field increased by 25% with 819 entrants for a HK$6.4 million prize pool. This 'side event' is bigger than most main events out there!
It would surprise no one if this event crossed the 1,000 runners this time around.
Event #10: HK$25,000 ACOP Warm-up (HK$3 Million Guarantee)
This is when things get serious.
While all of the ACOP Title Events are significant, the entire schedule is built around the Warm-up and Main Event. 90% of the crowd is now onsite and you're going to see a lot of these same faces in the week ahead.
If you've followed the surge of success at PokerStars LIVE Macau this year then you know that the three-day event will surely improve on last year's 297 runners and HK$6.6 million prize pool.
ACOP TITLE EVENTS: NEW ARRIVALS
It's always a challenge to find a tournament that adds a new dimension without being so niche where participation is low. Here are some of the ones that made the cut this year.
Event #2: HK$11,000 Shootout (100 CAP)
Each year there's a small group of players seeking some combination of heads up, shootout, and/or min-max events. Out of all the new tournaments, this is definitely the trial of the bunch under my 'players choice' category.
Last year's trial was the Flipout Championship which, surprisingly, drew 330 runners. The people spoke and so it returned. We've set a conservative cap of 100 players for the Shootout and it will once again be the players who determine this event's future.
Event #14: HK$40,000 NLH-PLO Championship
Asia's emerging market has mainly focused on No Limit Texas Holdem. With the rise in popularity of PLO it was only a matter of time before a NLH-PLO format would arrive at meaningful stakes.
Event #20: HK$80,000 Mini High Roller (Shot Clock, Unlimited Re-Entries)
There are five events with buy-ins at 80K+ but the inaugural Mini High Roller is clearly the most attainable for folks looking for springboard into high stakes. The structure is nearly identical to the 250K High Roller but at one third the cost.
Still too big? There are feeders and satellites at HK$2,000 and HK$11,000 for the Mini High Roller so if you ever wanted to take a shot then there are certainly affordable options for you.
Event #24: HK$11,000 Closeout Spadie (Shot Clock, Unlimited Re-Entries)
Just as the name suggests, the Closeout Spadie will conclude the ACOP along with potentially being the decider in the Asia Player of the Year race.
While 30-second shot clocks have been exclusively used for high stakes events this year, this will be the first time we've offered the format in a tournament for the masses.
ACOP REGULAR EVENTS
If you have a limited bankroll, that shouldn't stop you from coming to the ACOP. In fact, the biggest change to the schedule has been with you in mind!
Regular Events (indicated by Event #R1-R26) have nearly tripled this year. Each day has an event with a buy-in of HK$3,000 or less. There's a matching Regular Event format for nearly every ACOP Title Event so your options are just as plentiful without the same financial commitments.
If this is you, I'd suggest you choose a heaping full of Regular Events while mixing in a few of the live satellites (indicated by Event #s1-s86).
There are some amazing satellite options in there including the Free-to-Enter Main Event Satellite (#s52) that guarantees a HK$100,000 Main Event seat. NOT A TYPO. It costs you nothing to enter and gives you the option for rebuys and add-ons if you want to improve your chances. Last year, Hong Kong's Stephen Lai won his Main Event seat after spending just HK$400!
For the full ACOP schedule please visit www.pokerstarsmacau.com/tournaments/acop/