APPT Seoul: Too much of a good thing is wonderful

March 10, 2012

The APPT has been a bit of a victim of its own success here on Day 2 in Seoul. The record turnout for Korea – 268 players paying KRW 3,000,000 each makes this tournament the richest ever in Korea – has created some logistical problems for APPT President Danny McDonagh to work around.


Calvin Shueh (l) and McDonagh hard at work

Problem the first: with 109 players returning to start the day, there was no space for cash games. And there has certainly been demand. Several players are walking zombies after not being able to leave good games the last few nights. So as Main Event tables broke throughout the day, cash game tables were added, one at a time.

That Main Event – cash game table balance meant that tonight’s side event, the KRW 1,100,000 PLO tournament, had to be pushed back from 6pm to 9pm. And given the utter zaniness that has characterized the PLO cash games, it was no surprise that the PLO side event was heavily attended.

As the PLO event was starting, the Main Event had been playing for eight levels without a dinner break. The APPT is unusual among the land-based poker tours in that the days typically are eight levels long. Here in Seoul, the standard eight levels did not produce a remaining field of 16 players, the number targeted by McDonagh to close up shop for the night and head on to Day 3.

He therefore took the unusual step of having the 24 players still in the tournament bag up their chips before sending them on a 90-minute dinner break. This allowed McDonagh maximum table mobility for the PLO side event while ensuring the integrity of the stacks in the Main Event.

Those Main Event players are back from dinner now, with the plan to play two more levels. That will hopefully take us to the Sweet 16 and the end of Day 2. As we crest the 11 o’clock hour, the tournament floor is hopping with cash games, side events, and three remaining Main Event tables.

Bear in mind, while the Paradise Casino is happy to have the APPT, it would also be happy to have some space back to get more baccarat games going. It’s Saturday night. The casino is as full as we’ve seen it since we arrived Wednesday evening and most of those patrons want to shout and pound tables as they squeeze the baccarat cards. McDonagh needs to be sensitive to the priorities of his casino partner while also making sure that the poker players receive a first-rate experience.


The good news for McDonagh is that the Main Event part of his “problem” grows smaller and smaller with each passing level. But if the APPT wants to continue to grow this event in Seasons 6 and 7 – and the pent-up demand certainly seems to be there – he’s going to need more floor space. Hopefully the success of this event will make Paradise eager to give him that space next season.


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