Master Classics Of Poker 2003, Amsterdam
€300 Omaha Pot Limit
Report by Joe on Sunday, 9 November 2003 at 12:46 am

The turnout at this year’s MCOP was on a par with last year, almost running at maximum capacity. The main event had 205 entrants and some events were sold out with 220. In the Euro 200 NLH re-buy event tickets were so in demand that they were being re-sold at up to three times their face value. It looked very much like the final event the Euro 300 PLO re-buy event may have a similar popularity. It was sold out, but only just, and I know that there were a few ‘ghost’ players because the touts were unable to sell their last few tickets. I even saw one player asking if he got knocked out whether he could re-enter instead of re-buying using one of the unsold surplus. He was told very politely that he could only enter the event once!

We, The Mob, are halfway through our eight festival tour. It was always going to be tough to keep up the momentum of the first three with so many finals and trophies. We never anticipated that Amsterdam would be quite so dry this year. We hoped that we could maybe put things right with the final pot limit Omaha event, one of our best disciplines, but when Barny made a great call and got unlucky in a huge pot the last remaining mobster to try and make a MasterClassic final this year was off to the bar with only the third money finish for the Mob this week with his exit just before the final two tables. As it turned out the victor in this pot went on to win the final!

People have asked why the casino doesn’t put in more tables so that more can play. The MCOP is a perfect example of an event run at near capacity. Peter Voolstra told me that it’s not just the poker they have to cater for. There is restaurant and bar facilities as well as staffing, health and safety and so on. The crowd factor was bearable and I can see what Peter is talking about as another 30 or 40 players would make things uncomfortable.

The hendonmob.com website and diaries have been struggling to cope with the traffic as well this week. This is due to their ever increasing popularity. On Thursday November 6th when the site was carrying details of the LIDO final to thousands of online viewers it too had a problem with numbers and unfortunately had to be taken down for over 24 hours. The good news is that everything is back to normal and we will be back bigger and better next year.

There were a number of big winners in the cash games which were a little chaotic at times. Holland Casinos usually only has a few tables for 51 weeks of the year and for the MCOP it really is all hands on deck as many dealers and floor personnel find themselves in situations and doing jobs that they are not that experienced in. The cash action was not just chaotic but also a little frantic and large sums of Euros were changing hands. Holland Casino operate a ‘buy back’ scheme at the cashier cage which means you are able to, providing you have the money, to buy back any currency at the same rate you purchased at. Any travelling poker player will know that you can lose a lot of money transferring money back and forth between currencies and the last day here you will see many winners scrambling about looking for losers with receipts in their pockets worth money. I know of quite a few players this week who have won several tens of thousands of Euro and as I left the casino the scrambling was a little frantic there too.

One MCOP tip: If you ever decide to come to Amsterdam never leave changing back chips or money until near closing time on the final day. You may find yourself in a very long queue.

One face that I was surprised not to see at the MCOP was former Dutch champion Asher Derei. We saw the smiling Israeli in Las Vegas on the first leg of the Tour and he gave me an idea with a story he told me.

He took a day out from the Four Queens to go fishing on his friend’s boat at Lake Mead. I am not a fisherman but I have always thought that you sail out onto the water, stick some bait on the end of a line, cast your line and wait...and wait...and hope; maybe a little like playing poker. Asher tells me that it’s not quite like that, well not now anyway. On the boat is a television screen, not one with Sky Sports and ITV but a screen that detects the fish. So you now sail out watching this great big TV screen on the boat and when the screen shows a good gathering of fish you stop, cast your lines and catch fish. Asher told me he caught seven beauties in his first hour and he had never been fishing before!

But does that take the fun out of it? Maybe for some, I guess it depends on mental attitude. So what does this have to do with poker? I struggled for a while to find a way that I may to be able to relate this to the live game but I think I may have a way that it could be used online.

One of the things that inexperienced players do is play too many hands. This costs them money in the long term. If we had a TV screen on our computers that could look ‘across the waters' of an online card room and find tables with players on them that are playing considerably more hands than normal wouldn’t that work just the same?

So the end of another Master Classics; We will be back next year for sure. Next stop on the Prima Poker Tour is Helsinki in three days time. We’ll be back then too with more updates and stories for you...