This week’s blog is a week behind schedule as after I played the WPT500 at DTD, I had to shoot off to play Battle Of Malta at short notice when a package floated my way. Lucky me.

I am a massive advocate of the WPT500 format. I believe that it is reasonable for micro-tards like me to aim for that as a playing-up buyin. £500 is a golden amount because it’s low enough that I can qualify, but high enough to lay on a guarantee that attracts serious, higher-stakes players who are tempted by a fishy field full of muppets like me.

Given that this tournament falls in such a sweet spot, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suppose it would smash the £1mil guarantee… but it didn’t.
The night before the last entry day, Trumper was running about in the club, squawking that 1200 runners were needed to hit guarantee! How the fuck did that happen?

canstockphoto2595207I have a few ideas, and guess what, I’m going to share them.
This is an independent blog, and these are my opinions, so if you expect the bum-licking tone you encounter on the PartyPoker/WPT blog, you’re going to be disappointed.

Let’s start with what DTD do right. Firstly, the venue is polished, when my normal game is in run-down, ratty local cardrooms, it’s a joy to play in a place where all the equipment is well maintained and, even in a massive event, every dealer sits on a proper chair. Aspirational psychology is a vital part of poker, and the superbly presented venue is a key factor in making the journey worthwhile.

The reception and cash desk teams are really helpful and know more about the poker product than any reception/cash desk team I have ever dealt with. Well done guys, keep it up.

The floor staff are pretty good, they always look busy, and Brodsky is one of those super-stealth TDs where you don’t always see him, but suddenly he’s there, looming over any potential trouble like a rule-book toting spectre. It’s very important that low stakes players, playing above their level, feel confident in the floor staff, because they are not confident to argue their own case if they think something has gone wrong.

Rachel Heneghan: Growing the female market.

DTD are committed to bringing women into the game with the appointment of the “Ladies of DTD” organiser, Rachel Henegahan. This is great to see, and I have showed my respect for this move by offering to help wherever I can; Rachel’s a top bird, and I’m sure we’ll see interesting things from her in the coming months.

So what’s to complain about?

Brace yourselves.

The dates of the WPT500 were a bit of a secret. When I booked my hotel in June (early to get a feasible price for a £500 event) I made my best guess based on last year’s dates as the DTD website showed “TBC” with regards to the dates of the WPT500 2015.
I know why they do it, it’s so other operators don’t put events on at the same time. Wah; stick your fucking necks out.

Grosvenor Casinos publish the GUKPT and 25/25 schedule at the start of the year. DTD think other operators will try to undermine them because they have tried that themselves in the past.

If the largest poker operator in the UK can publish event schedules 12 months in advance, so can DTD; if this is so difficult, then maybe DTD just is not up to the job of running events like this.
Stop trying to be fucking clever, book the events early, publish the dates, and let people know what’s happening. Why the FUCK should we all sit around like salivating puppies, waiting for a scrap from the master? You want my money, my loyalty? GIVE ME THE DAMN INFORMATION.

some more
“Please Sir, Can I have some more?” DTD make you beg for info.

What in the boiling lakes of hell was the deal with the online satellites? In theory, micro-players can qualify for the event for 1p, and this is an AMAZING pull for the micro market… assuming the organisers make it clear how to do it, which in this case, they didn’t.

Branded sattys for this tournament were only available on PartyPoker one month before. One stinking month, which is no time at all to try to run 1p up to £550. As a micro qualifier, I have to plan a long way ahead- I started trying to qualify for Battle Of Malta (550euros) in February 2015- seven months ahead.
After some discussion at the tables at DTD, it turns out I could have started earlier, saved tickets and used them when the branded sattys appeared… perhaps the DTD site/Twitter feed could have told me that instead? Or perhaps the branded sattys should have been pushed earlier?
Either, or both, would have been preferable to not pushing any qualifiers until 4 weeks before and then interrupting me play with desperate in-club microphone announcements about massive overlays.
Er… yeah… we’re all here already, too little to late, you fools!

Also, where were the packages? I’m so committed to this tournament, I booked my hotel in June, and just crossed my fingers that I’d win a seat, which I did in the end, but I had the resources to do this, not many micro-players do.
Other tournament brands at this level offer package satellites, because they want to open up the market, and attract players from all over the world. The WPT500 field was predominantly English (or British resident), and I can only assume that is because foreign players want the ease of qualifying for a full package.

The 1805 runner BoM field was packed with package qualifiers from everywhere, some had their flights booked 6 months before the event. You want to meet your guarantees? Think about how you’re going to do it earlier than the night before the final day one, honestly, it’s retarded!

Not everyone has a sack of money, some people have to grind their seats and need time to do it.

In the week of the event, there were massive gtd online satties, all with silly value, so DTD probably think they did their bit and put the money in, it must be the “lack-lustre poker players” (fuck you, Yong, that comment really hurt), who don’t care enough about the game.
The real situation of low-stakes/hobby players is that they can’t just qualify on a Thursday and then disappear at short notice on a Friday for four days of poker, stumping up for travel and hotels. They have jobs/partners/families and this is not how hobbies work in the context of real life. Know the extremities of your market, DTD; why didn’t you spread all those seats over the previous months and give people a chance to include you in their busy lives?

PartyPoker is just a terrible site. The lobbies are clunky, the site freezes mid-game every five minutes, the “live help” is not helpful, or alive. When you win a ticket, you can’t see it straight away which makes one nervous, my HUD doesn’t work properly on there, the tourney structures are crappity; it’s just a bad site to play on, not the worst, but the worst I’ve been forced onto because I have a passion for a live event.

Okay, I’m a PStars nut, so I’m probably biased, but a few hours playing on PartyPoker is the best advert PStars have. PartyPoker can bite me, hard.

This year, there were no same day re-entries, and the live blog gushed about how Rob Yong was so moral in his decision to “offer the online players the same product as live players”. It is, indeed, an honourable philosophy, but surely the answer was to offer same-flight re-entry to the online players too, not take it away from the live players!

Has Rob Yong lost his mind?
Has Rob Yong lost his mind?

What could have possibly informed that retardation? Oh… PartyPoker software not up to it? That must be it, otherwise I think it’s fair to say that Rob Yong is moral, but mental, and should be stopped from making executive decisions ASAP.

The final insult is the lack of mobility of won seats. If I win a seat, I should be able to do what I want with it. I can understand not allowing the value to escape your brand, but if I want to transfer the seat to a friend, how dare you try to tell me that I can’t?
I’d have tried to win more seats, if I’d known I could sell them on, or give them away through my website. If I win it, it’s mine, and you need to let me have control of it.

Grosvenor Casinos have nailed this with the advent of the Grosvenor Poker Vouchers earlier this year- they keep all the satellite money within the brand, but players have full control of that money- everybody’s happy.

Aside from the poker issues around this particular event, I think DTD has problems in other areas:

The F+B function is crazy, it’s the only casino I’ve ever been in that charges for soft-drinks and coffee (which tastes like piss for £2 btw). When I first went to DTD, it was not a casino, it was a cardroom with no machines/tables. I didn’t mind paying for a drink then, because they weren’t making money in the same way casino cardrooms were and I wanted to support them. DTD is now a casino, and I can’t see any reason they are so special that they should charge me £2 for a cup of brown piss.

The valets are terrible, they are fit as fuck, obvs, and I’m a big fan of the teeny tiny shorts, but if you hire a load of promo girls and give them trays, then you are wasting money. The most drinks I saw on one tray was three. If DTD got some proper waitresses instead, hired for experience and ability, then they could probably halve their “valet” wage bill.
They’ve tried to double up the waitresses as promo models, and it’s not working, they are neither one thing nor the other.

Nice arse. Can I have a drink though?
Nice arse. Can I have a drink though?

The food is expensive and not great. At BoM, every player was given a voucher for a buffet very similar to the buffet at DTD, shit food is fine by me if I’m not paying for it, but I’m not stumping up £10 for some soggy carbs and a slither of flaccid, unspecified meat, not when there’s a Nandos across the road! They want to be an aspirational casino venue, but they also want to treat us all like plebs when we get there; nice.

I’m sure Rob Yong and Simon Trumper will claim they are not a casino, they are a cardroom, but the fact is, they are paying for a casino licence, which is a sick amount of money, and they have machines and tables- they are a casino.
The casino product is massively flawed, and they are missing income.

I’ll start with the live pit, again, gorgeous dealers in tiny shorts, that haven’t got a fucking clue. It took one beautiful creature 60 seconds to work out how to pay me for a split and a straight up, and then she couldn’t pass the chips out properly. If you are that bad as a dealer, the shorts are not enough, you need to be naked, and spin that ball by shooting it out your fanny.

At a rough count, she was spinning 12 times an hour, a spin every five minutes on a fairly quiet game: that is not how the house makes money at Roulette.
The dealers and inspectors chat too much, the games are slow and dull, and the overall standards in the pit are poor; what’s the goal? To have the available players perve on the half-dressed dealers, or for the pit to make money? From where I stood, it was not clear.

The slots/electronic AR machines are scattered all over the shop, whilst the “Trickett Lounge” seems to be a store room. Don’t be thick. Move the electronic gaming into there, drop the sticky homage to one British guy who had some well-timed rungood, and take the casino product seriously.

Slots are a guaranteed money maker, but the players expect to be treated well.
Slots are a guaranteed money maker, but the players expect to be treated well.

Does DTD have any players who come just for the casino? I doubt it. I love to play slots, but after busting one night, I taxied into town to play slots at The Alea, because they have a proper slots area, and I’m not forced to sit by the shitter with poker players arguing about equity right behind me. In addition, DTD have none of the newest machines; why should I play slots there when it’s obvious that they don’t give a fuck about me?

I know the original philosophy of DTD was NOT to be a traditional casino, but now it’s apparent that they have to operate in that way, why aren’t they maximising that income stream to ensure longevity? Are they digging their heels in to make a point, or are they just entirely unaware of casino player’s needs?

I’m probably going to be barred from DTD now, but the sad truth is, I’m not sure I care. There is so much for me to aim for elsewhere, well organised packages, with good information and clear satellite routes. DTD used to be my Mecca, but honestly, now, I feel like I can do without the hassle.
You make me feel like you don’t need me, DTD, and if that’s the case, fine, I’ll take my passion elsewhere.

You’re obviously alright as you are, ‘cos you don’t seem to want to bring your product in line with other operators, who do make me, and players like me, feel valued/important/worthwhile.

Enjoy being “special”, and enjoy your overlays; keep blaming the “lack-lustre poker players”, I’m sure your venue will make a lovely strip club in 5 years time.