UK Editor's Column: Is Bigger Better, or is Bigger Better?

Big tournament

Yet another mahoosive UK tournament has been announced in the form of the Grosvenor Goliath. At £120 a head, it is planning on reaching 1,500 live players in the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. This will take place after Dusk Till Dawn attempt to hit 1600 runners at the Grand Prix this coming May.

One could argue that constantly trying to boast the biggest tournament is getting stale, it certainly is the vogue thing at the moment. Full Tilt Launch the Onyx Cup, so the WPT announce a high roller event, and then the EPT unveil a Champion of Champions event. Personally I am not really a fan of these ultra-high roller tournaments for a number of reasons. The main gripe I have is that they are elitist, they strike me as a way of distorting the all-time money list and ensuring that the ‘TV pros’ stay on the small screen. One can’t moan that a tournament is elitist just because they can’t afford to play in it, but at such ridiculous buy-ins only a handful of players will ever be able to play and satellites seem a preposterous notion.

The real selling point of poker is that anyone can play; my mother could opposite Phil Ivey and realistically have a shot at beating him if the cards went her way. That’s why poker captivates player’s imaginations and that is why bad players will stay in the game. There is no denying these events will give TV producers what they are looking for, but I think there is also a need to get that everyman sat at the table with the world elite to harness poker’s great appeal.

The difference, with the DTD Grand Prix, the Boylepoker IPO, and the Grosvenor Goliath is that these events really benefit the broader poker community, not just the high stakes TV pros and sponsors. Mid stakes is where it is at these days and as long as UK players are getting big money, deep stack tournaments for modest buy-ins, I will always be a supporter.

I can see it being a big success too. Obviously with the backing and £100k guarantee from Grosvenor it will be a solid and well organised affair. Add to that the solid team at D4 events organising the whole thing (Who recently hosted a record field in their European Deepstack Championships event and will know a thing or two about these sorts of events). Finally the fact that it is in an Arena is a good move logistically as well as a great step forward to legitimising poker as not just a casino game.

It does seem a bit of a shame that a cap of 1,500 has been announced before Dusk Till Dawn attempt to reach 1,600. The tournament isn’t for five months and you would have thought that the organisers would have waited to see if they can break the record afterwards. The reality is that whatever the record is, it will be broken again quite soon; in fact I’ll say we are probably going to be looking at a 2,000 runner UK tournament in 2012. Let’s just enjoy events like the Grosvenor Goliath and DTD Grand Prix for what they are – a really exciting looking affordable tournament with a good structure and a massive first prize.

We have one more $15,000 Sunday Million Freeroll with PokerStars left to qualify for, with $1,000 to the winner and 260 tournament tickets, including 45 Sunday Million Tickets on offer.

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