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Barny Boatman
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Hey, it wasn’t broke!

Yesterday I played in the 5K ‘World Championship’ seven card stud event alongside all the greats of the game such as Chip Reese, Doyle Brunson and Barry Greenstein. After six hours play we went to dinner having lost about half of the field. I had eleven thousand in chips which must have been just over average. When we returned the level had jumped to a running anti of 100, forced bring-in 200 and betting level of 600 and 1,200. In other words, with average chips I could basically play one hand to Seventh Street. An hour later the bring-in was three hundred and the levels were 800 1,600! This prestigious event had descended into a crap shoot after just a few hours play. I had played this event twice previously, and I’m certain it was never like this. It wasn’t broke, why fix it? Obviously, with an anti of 100 there was time to choose a hand to play, but once you were in it was hard to back off, no matter how the hand developed. For me personally this may not have been such a bad thing as I certainly have no edge against the top stud players, although as it happened it didn’t work out in my favour. No one seemed to know whose decision it was to mess with the structure. The same thing was done with the PLO, with levels ninety minutes last year becoming one hour this year. I can only think that it is a money saving ruse designed to get these events over more quickly. This sort of ill considered tinkering is threatening to undermine the status of the blue riband World Series events.

There is another innovation which bothers me. When the tournaments get down to the bubble (I’ve been told) the tables play a complete round each with any players knocked out in that round sharing any prize money. This is designed to stop time wasting and is considered more practical than playing hand for hand. The problem is that it kills the bubble play which is a key phase in major tournaments.
If someone who has won a seat for ten bucks on the internet has to make a decision for 10K, they will think very carefully about putting their chips in. if they know they will be sharing at least some prize money they will be under a lot less pressure. It doesn’t matter so much for events where the buy-in is 1,500 but I really hope they don’t use this innovation in the main event.

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