Thursday, April 04, 2013

Here Comes the Accumulator

Event No. 1 at World Series of Poker Asia Pacific got underway today. Or yesterday. Or tomorrow. Lotsa time zones to deal with to pin that down.

The first event a the WSOP APAC is this $1,100 “No-Limit Hold’em Accumulator” event which features a novel format never employed before for a WSOP bracelet event. Nor have I heard of it being used anywhere, although I’m sure it has somewhere before.

Looking in over on PokerListings, I see that 329 players participated in today’s first Day 1 flight, with Dan “djk123” Kelly having ended the day with the most chips among the 50 or so players surviving the eight one-hour levels.

Kelly spun his starting stack of 3,000 chips up to 66,250 by night’s end to lead all of those making it to the bagging. Like everyone else who played today -- survivors and bustouts -- Kelly can come back for tomorrow’s Day 1b and/or Saturday’s Day 1c and play again. And if he were to survive either or both of those flights, he’d then be able to add whatever additional chips he wins to his overall stack, combining all to begin Sunday’s Day 2.

Thus... the “Accumulator.” Sounds a little like some sort of materialistic superhero. Or champion collector of stuff! A relation, perhaps, of the Comic Book Guy’s alter ego from The Simpsons, the Collector (pictured above).

The “accumulator” presents another variation on the whole rebuy/re-entry/multi-entry tourney twisting that has been pursued both online and live in various ways over recent years.

Rebuys have remained part of the tourney landscape even after the WSOP decided to jettison them following the 2008 Series. I remember at the time gossip going around about funny business with prize pools and the collecting of cash for rebuys, but a lot of the debate seemed focused more on ideas of fairness and “level playing fields” and suggestions that there was something wrong with players with deep pockets being able to “buy” bracelets in these straightforward rebuy events.

As I wrote about in late 2008, no one really could buy a bracelet in these events, although a player able to afford dozens of rebuys in a given event obviously had more options available to him or her than did the player only able to buy in once or twice.

In any case, the rebuys did fade a bit from the scene, soon to be replaced by the “re-entry” tournament that usually introduced some kind of restriction on how many times a busted player could buy back into an event while also not allowing players to do any rebuying unless they had busted altogether. Nowadays re-entries have become somewhat commonplace.

The World Poker Tour main events are often re-entry tournaments. This weekend I’m off to Foxwoods for the WSOP Circuit $1,675 buy-in Main Event which like every WSOP-C ME will also be a re-entry tournament.

There will be two Day 1 flights (both played Saturday, actually), with players eliminated from “Day 1a” (lasting nine 40-minute levels) unable to buy back into that flight, but able to buy in to Day 1b on Saturday evening.

Then -- if I’m not mistaken -- when Day 2 begins players who only played one of the Day 1 flights and busted can if they wish buy in a second time just before play resumes on Sunday. But those who’ve bought in and busted twice already don’t get a third chance. Covering these events before, I don’t recall that many coming to buy in at the start of Day 2 (either for a first or second time), but a few generally do.

Like I say, now these re-entry events have become somewhat standard, thus making it possible for the WSOP to try yet another variation on the theme at the Crown Melbourne this week.

I’m curious to see what kind of statistics emerge regarding participation in WSOP APAC Event No. 1. I’m sure many who busted will be back to fire another $1,100, but I wonder whether many of those who survived today will think it worth coming back again to try to accumulate more chips.

I suppose people could once more argue that those with deep pockets stand better chances to win these re-entry and “accumulator” tournies. That said, it’s already true that those with the ability to play more tournaments necessarily have more opportunities to win them.

Not everyone is a fan of the way re-entry tourneys are taking over, of course. For more on the debate over re-entry tournaments, here’s a Card Player piece from a year-and-a-half ago which includes several players’ offering thoughtful observations about the pros and cons.

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