Why did PartyPokerLIVE miss its guaranteed prize pool by such a massive amount?
Whose fault is that?
Is it mine?
I never tried to qualify for it, even though they put on a decent satellite route starting at 1c, in theory exactly designed for microtwats like me.
PartyPoker made it as easy as possible for me to achieve the giddy dream of playing a $5k buyin with a $10milly gtd in a destination that most British people will only ever see on TV.
How come I wasn’t excited?
How come I so dismissively ignored such a golden opportunity?
Cos I’m too scared of the $5k field, guys.
It’s not even just the fact that I’m toast in main event that’s my biggest problem.
Let’s say I did win a main event package and go to the festival… how many $100 side events are there at a $5k main festival? Not enough.
I’d play the main event, and, GodRuns not withstanding, I’d bust before the money and have three days left in a venue where everything is ludicrously expensive and I can’t afford the other poker on offer.
I should be embarrassed to talk like I have no money, right? Oh the shame.
Except, I’m not ashamed; I earn more now than I ever have, both from playing poker and from my full time job, and I have a great quality of life.
I do remember a time when I was a minimum wage worker earning, like a lot of people do, a barely living wage. One of the reasons I spent my meagre disposable income on poker is because it could often end up being one of the cheapest nights out on offer.
PartyPokerLIVE packages looked pretty good, although I don’t know how far $1k resort credit goes there.
The tournament schedule was utterly inaccessible to me; from what I could see there were three events under $500 and two of them were gimmick formats.
Either the organisers of $5k, 2000x buyin gtd events are not interested in my money at the bottom end, or they don’t understand my player type, or they don’t want scruffs like me there at all.
Losses to a business cannot be blamed on potential customers that the business failed to engage.
If I’m not to blame for PartyPokerLIVE’s massive loss, then who is?
What about the $5k regs? Where are they?
I mean, I really don’t know. I don’t know those people, I can only speculate as to why players at this level weren’t knocking down the doors of this.
Maybe there are not even 2000x regular $5k players in the whole world?
Intuitively, this is a daft assertion, but I expect that any operator running $5k buyin, 2000x gtd events would be able to provide much more data-driven insight.
If they can’t, then it’s immediately less confusing as to how this shit happened.
Perhaps modern concepts in poker strategy might mean it’s just better for mathsy reasons to play multiple tables at once in the cheap comfort of home?
Poker at that level is not my business, nor my interest, but there does seem to be a faulty imbalance to pitching a poker holiday to a primary market of poker professionals.
I love the idea for recreational players, but perhaps professional poker players don’t play poker when they are on holiday, just like I don’t run reports and sit through long meetings about responsible gaming when I’m on holiday.
I’m always interested in the weird position that winning, high-stakes, professional poker players hold within the industry.
Are they customers, or staff?
Do those of us working day jobs in poker have to call them “sir”, or should we tell them to shut-up fucking moaning and do some extra graft?
I run my brand’s online function as part of the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN). My company directly pays MPN every month for their B2B services of running our poker software and MPN STILL send me emails telling me what I should be doing.
They advise me on marketing comms, they send me display assets, they make nerds HOUND me with nerd shit, and generally make me feel like staff WHEN MY BOSS PAYS THEM MONEY!
Listen again to that: My company is a customer of MPN and instead of them dutifully acting like I am their lord and master, they kick me up the arse and tell me to get working.
Why do they do it?
Because they want our conjoined poker business to be a success; whilst I might be MPN’s customer, I am industry staff, which makes them my colleagues, not my bitches, sadly.
The poker industry pays the winning $5k regs… and what are we doing? Are they being kicked up the arse, or treated like customers?
If winning players want the high-stakes tourney culture to survive, what are they doing to ensure that happens and their profit stream stays healthy?
I don’t mean the guys with open sponsorships, they are already getting paid MORE to advertise the brand, I mean the guys who quietly make a living out of poker at the top end. What are they doing to stop 200x buyin overlays at their level?
If they are just turning up at an event that’s well within their professional portfolio to invest in, and only then because they have a positive expected financial outcome from the investment, then maybe some of the responsibility for huge overlays at their level is theirs.
These players are staff, and they should be marketing events without a sponsorship deal.
If you’re any kind of winning poker player, at any level, you’re actually industry staff.
Get working; I’ll knock you up a rota.
If you’re a losing poker player, you can sit back and chill, you’re the real customer. Although, weirdly, long-term losing players are often the most actively passionate advocates of the game, promoting events and brands for no other reason than because they think they are good.
I’m genuinely devastated by the $925k overlay in their PartyPokerLIVE event.
Not only because this kind of public incident reaches the ears of Casino brand C-Level who know fuck all about poker and say “oh shit poker’s a money pit, get out now”, but also because I see it as confirmation that the old days, and dreams, of live poker are properly dead.
Fifteen years after the poker boom, there are not, for various reasons, 2000 players who want to play a €5k buyin, $10milly gtd live event, even in a dream destination; the foot votes are in.
In true micro-style, I’m just rolling off the back of two weeks of low-stakes madness.
Two €550 buyin tournaments set in back-to-back weeks in direct competition with each other, where one operator had started a new brand and the other operator was new to tournaments of that scale (having recently bought the first operator’s old, well-known brand).
Their combined main event gtds totalled €1.5milly and they collected €2.6milly.
There absolutely is a market for massive-field live events, so there cannot be a direct problem with the model.
There has to be a problem with the $5k price-point, accompanied by a massive disconnect between the industry media and the marketing strategy of the major brands… which is very, very weird… since the marketing money of the major brands pays for the industry media.
The content-affiliate media channels create a focus on skill, study and hard work as the only proven route to poker happiness, the brand operator marketing tactics laud having a great holiday and partying in the sun.
I can accept I’m not great at poker, and have a massive holiday, I’ll play poker to win a holiday, sure! And how exciting to play in a foreign destination against hundreds, maybe thousands of people!
But why is the buyin $5k? Cos now all those doods from the online poker magazines who apparently invented maths are gonna play. I think I’d rather have the same holiday playing mainly drunk guys who think 25x UTG opens with 89os are “standard” [Mazagan 2018 – an actual thing that happened].
Why does the poker element of my holiday have to cost $5k when it could cost $500?
Why does everything have to be bigger to be better?
My conclusion is, it doesn’t.
Whilst I stand firm by my passion and support for a low-stakes poker life, I must still take some responsibility for PartyPokerLIVE’s overlay.
I never dropped them an email saying “I’ve summoned together my years of industry experience to come to the erudite conclusion that you guys must be off your fucking heads”.
Obviously, they would have ignored it, but I never even tried.
I never helped them out, I never promoted it, I never suggested anyone play the satties or even asked if they were.
I’m sorry, PartyPokerLIVE, I done fucked up, I think lots of us have, I’m really sorry.
I absolutely hope the online PartyPoker $WubbaSqullion is a roaring success; whoever is in charge of whichever part of whatever bit of the business, the PartyPoker label doesn’t need, nor deserve, another kick in the brand-balls.
In the meantime, imma get back to qualifying for my next €550 buyin large-field live event* and I promise, if I win it, I’ll buyin direct to a PartyPokerLIVE $5k** and spew off my stack by level 3***.
* This link is pure Shillery. I can’t actually make MPNPT Tallinn because I’m going to APAT team champs in Blackpool, UK. The next MPNPT is Prague sometime in May and I’m deffo going to that.
** This is true.
*** This is very likely.
November 16, 2018 at 3:27 pm
I’m inclined to disagree with you on this. Which is unusual for me because generally speaking I sit and nod my head in agreement when I read your pieces.
So, what do I disagree with?
Well, the blame for an overlay must always lay with the organisation, or individual, who set themselves that target. If someone (hint, his initials are almost certainly RY) decides to wave their appendage around and say “I can get 2000 buy ins at $5000 at a venue that most ordinary folks would find expensive. Just you watch me. I’ll run loads of satellites and not care if they overlay, and i’ll put the word out to all my poker chums and we’ll hit that number easy”, then who else should we blame?
If they then market the tournament to the pros as having lots of satellite entries to make it soft for you, and the chance to fire up to 10 (ten) (TEN) bullets just in case one of the satty fish gets the better of you on Day1a, or maybe even Day 2b, perhaps they shouldn’t be too surprised if the lower parts of the food chain avoid the pool.
Too many games have gone this route. The early Grand Prix tournaments at DTD had some limited re-entry opportunities but a small(ish) guarantee that didn’t attract the pros. Latterly, since so many games seem to have a £1,000,000 prize for £100 buy in and the chance of almost unlimited reentry the pros get interested and have featured a lot in the prize spots.
Overlays are good for the game if they deliver a reality check to those who treat the recreational players, and low-level pros like bait for the self appointed sharks.
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December 11, 2018 at 6:47 pm
Yeah I do see where you’re coming from, but I think I could just blame ops now, but in the future, when I have nowhere dece to play poker live or online, I’ll probably wish I’d done something earlier.
And I think it’s okay that pros play these massive fields, they have to work really fucking hard to make a decent hourly on a three day tourney with a $1500 cash for coming in the top 1% of 7k people!
Didn’t some $5.50 satty micro fish win over a milly on the event in the end? That field was majority pros, surely.
December 11, 2018 at 6:49 pm
oh and to add, no, overlays are never good for the game because the people organising the tournaments and the people in charge of the money are not often the same thing, and if the c-level don’t properly understand poker, then it’s not possible to explain these intangible things, nor do they care about the poker economy in its totality. They see a hit like that on the bottom line and they pull the panic cord.
November 17, 2018 at 3:09 pm
They weren’t hitting them before unless they filled them with house fish and we all know it, too many people were watching them this time, that’s why they missed it, if no one had been watching I’d have bet money they would have hit it perfectly and you wouldn’t be writing this great blog.
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December 11, 2018 at 6:43 pm
Well if any of the accusations are true then the point remains that there are not enough real $5k customers!
December 11, 2018 at 7:48 pm
Maybe there never were enough real $5k customers. Maybe the 7 figure guarantees were only ever achievable with massive overlay on satellites and the addition of a well managed pool of players using someone else’s money.
Maybe we should all have warned them.
The online version made the money though. Seems there were enough people with a willingness to punt multiple entries at that prize.
Btw, the side events in St Kitts would all have been well inside your budget. That was very much a recreational players trip. The accom was all inclusive and if you chose not to leave the resort you wouldn’t have had to spend a cent.
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