Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Online Poker Rooms: Where Are The WSOPE Satellites?

With the World Series of Poker Europe nipping at our heels, there is one question that seems to be bugging online poker players as a whole: Where are the WSOPE Satellites and Qualifiers?

Apparently, they’re supposed to be exclusively on Betfair Poker – the sponsor of WSOP Europe - however, Full Tilt Poker has somehow managed to get in on the action. I did take notice of Full Tilt Poker’s promotional campaign, where the online poker room managed to present their satellites and qualifiers without ever using the words “World Series of Poker Europe”, “WSOP Europe” or even “WSOPE”. Instead, Full Tilt Poker is deeming its promotion “European Series 2008”.

I can only assume that online poker rooms are not allowed to use this trademark name on their web site, therefore have not bothered to offer sending their players to Europe’s most lucrative live poker tournament.

Then again, maybe they’ve shied away from the expensive aspect of WSOPE prize packages. After all, the original, North American World Series of Poker costs $10,000 to buy-in. WSOP Europe costs £10,000 to buy-in. That may seem like the same price, but in reality, due to currency conversion rates, it’s actually near double the cost. £10,000 GBP rounds out to roughly $20,000 in USD; $19,969.25 to be exact.

Somehow I seriously doubt cost had anything to do with it. PokerStars, for example, sent more than 2,000 of its players to the WSOP this year. I doubt they’d mind sending a few more to London.

Whatever the case may be, Full Tilt Poker is offering daily satellites and weekly qualifiers to the “European Series 2008”. Satellites start at only $1 or 50 poker points, awarding entry to the weekly qualifiers, or buy-in directly for $500+$35.

Full Tilt Poker will be awarding $25,000 prize packages to the WSOPE - I mean, "European Series 2008" - each week until August 31, 2008.

The WSOPE will kick off September 19th, running 4 bracelet events and 5 non-bracelet events up until the end of the final, 5-day event – World Championship NL Hold’em – on October 2nd.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Full Tilt Poker Knockout (Bounty) Tournaments

Among the many types of online poker tournaments hosted by Full Tilt Poker, the ones that are growing at the fastest rate in popularity are Knockout Tournaments. In these tournaments, a portion of each player’s buy-in goes to the Knockout Bounty on his head. Every time you are able to knock a player out of the tournament, you are awarded that player’s Knockout Bounty.

These tournaments can greatly change a player’s expected profit in a tournament. With a normal tournament, there is a high variation in your daily profits because of the nature of the tournament’s payout structure.

The best tournament players in the world can only expect to finish in the money 25%-30% of the time. Even if a player is fortunate enough to eliminate several opponents from the tournament and play for hours without losing a hand, it is still possible for that player to be eliminated from the tournament without making the money bubble.

Full Tilt Poker's Knockout tournaments allow players to eliminate some of the negative swings that have always been a part of tournament poker. It is common for a player who is knocked out early in the tournament to still recoup some of their buy-in before they are eliminated. Even if you are knocked out of the tournament prior to making the money bubble, you can take a substantial profit with you.

A great example of Knockout tournaments at Full Tilt Poker would be the weekly Sunday Brawl, played every weekend at 2:00 p.m. ET for a guaranteed prize pool of at least $250,000. The buy-in is $240 + $16. $200 of each player’s buy-in goes to the prize pool. Another $40 is the Knockout Bounty on that player’s head. The remaining $16 is of course the tournament fee.

By this tournament structure, any player who can knock out 7 players, worth $280, before being eliminated will have won back their entire buy-in and fee, plus take home a small profit. With an average of between 1,500 and 2,000 players entering the Full Tilt Poker Sunday Brawl each week, players with absolutely any skill at all should have no trouble accomplishing this feat. In addition, averaging that many participants often raises the guaranteed prize pool well above $250k!

Full Tilt Poker is also host to some other great tournament structures including Shootout tournaments, Freeroll tournaments and a vast array of satellites into the world’s largest poker events (WSOP, WTP, EPT, WSOPE, Aussie Millions, etc).