Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fallsview Postscript

Still somewhat in recovery mode after the quick trip to the Great White North. There were a couple of items I meant to share from the World Poker Tour Fallsview Poker Classic that occurred to me this afternoon as I returned to my barn duties here on the farm.

One was the fact that local gaming regulations not only forbid any photos or videos from being taken in the tournament area, but also dictated that players weren’t allowed to use their phones at all while at the tables. That meant players couldn’t really tweet out constant updates as has become a routine practice at most events.

It reminded me a little of when I first started reporting from tournaments, back when smart phones weren’t as ubiquitous. I know some players didn’t care for the restriction, and in fact on breaks when they did have a chance to use their phones a few would tweet out complaints about it. But most seemed not to be too bothered by it.

The other effect of that rule, of course, was that generally speaking almost all of the players seemed pretty engaged throughout -- that is, those who’d folded hands were focused more on watching the involved players and their actions than skimming through content on iPads or phones or messaging. I only became aware of that difference toward the latter part of the second day of play, but I imagine it created a somewhat altered dynamic at some tables than many tourney players were used to.

They played down to 10 players on Sunday night and stopped the tourney just a few minutes shy of the time the tourney was already scheduled to stop. It was a good decision, as there was a redraw necessary at that point and it made more sense to wait another day to play those first ten-handed hands.

A stage had been constructed with lights and good seating for spectators, and that’s where things played out on Monday as 10 played down to one. Even though the official six-handed final table wasn’t shot for television, it still retained a little bit of that “spectacle” feel the WPT final tables generally possess with the hands being announced over a PA and large screens showing the community cards and showdowns.

One other humorous detail to share. For much of that final day, whenever the announcer related that a player was all in, that would cue some music -- played relatively faintly, but plenty audible -- that I think was from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. You know what I mean, that familiar decision-making music with the “heartbeat” sounds…

Actually, now that I listen to this clip I’m not sure it is exactly what they were playing at Fallsview, but it was similar enough that everyone instantly associated it with the game show. People generally laughed, too, when hearing it the first few times. Remko and I had a phone at our table from which we were reporting, and one time during an all-in I picked it up saying “Regis, I’d like to phone a friend.”

Anyhow just wanted to add that little postscript before moving on to other things this week, and there are a lot of them, including a couple more chip-related scandals, the first Full Tilt Poker remission payments finally arriving, Phil Hellmuth’s lack of understanding of the Global Poker Index, among others.

So many topics out there now, in fact, I’m not sure which one to choose. Regis? I’d like to ask the audience.

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