Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Fields and Pools, Big and Small

I’m up late tonight following the Super Tuesday on PokerStars while also looking in occasionally on the WSOP Asia-Pacific coverage down in Melbourne. Was mentioning yesterday the smallish fields the events are attracting during this, the second WSOP APAC, and with the Super Tuesday sitting right in front of me as well, it’s hard not to be making comparisons.

This week’s Super Tuesday drew 590 entrants, thereby creating a prize pool of $590,000. A $1,050 no-limit hold’em tournament that’s been around about five years now, the Super Tuesday has been steadily increasing in size ever since Black Friday when U.S. players were subtracted from the mix.

During the weeks following April 15, 2011, the tourney was drawing fields of about 200 players, though entries began picking up as months went by and by the end of that year it was hitting the 400-plus mark again as it had previously.

The tourney was given a $300K guarantee and during 2012 began averaging close to 450 players, even drawing more than 500 on several occasions. Then last year the Super Tuesday drew more than 600 nearly a dozen times, something that’s been replicated again in 2014. And it even cracked the 700-player milestone once this year, setting an all-time high for the tournament when 711 players participated back on April 1 of this year (no shinola).

Currently the Super Tuesday has a $400K guarantee (the increase happening during the late summer). It has averaged just over 568 players every single week, save during SCOOP and WCOOP when it goes on hiatus, so this week’s turnout of 590 is fairly typical.

Meanwhile the 2014 WSOP APAC has swiftly moved into the second half of its 10-event schedule, with bracelets having already been awarded in four of the events, including Jeff Lisandro picking up a a sixth career WSOP win in the A$1,650 pot-limit Omaha event. Here are the turnouts and prize pools for the first five events:

  • Event No. 1 (A$1,100 NLHE Accumulator): 611 entries, A$611,000
  • Event No. 2 (A$2,220 NLHE): 215 entries; A$430,000
  • Event No. 3 (A$1,650 PLO): 123 entries; A$184,500
  • Event No. 4 (A$1,650 NLHE Terminator): 250 entries; A$375,000
  • Event No. 5 (A$5,000 PLO): 80 entries; A$376,000
  • It’s looking like Event No. 6, the A$1,650 8-Game Dealer’s Choice event, like Event No. 5 is probably going to draw fewer than 100 players, meaning the prize pool is going to be south of A$150,000 and first prize will probably be at most around A$45,000 -- less than what the fourth-place finisher in tonight’s Super Tuesday will earn.

    One Australian dollar is currently worth around 88 cents U.S., which means the biggest prize pool thus far at the 2014 WSOP APAC (Event No. 1’s A$611,000) was worth a little under $535,000 USD -- in other words, less than this week’s Super Tuesday prize pool.

    While the Super Tuesday has the biggest buy-in of any regular online tourney these days, it isn’t the biggest weekly online tournament. The $215 buy-in Sunday Million usually has a prize pool that is bigger than twice the Super Tuesday’s, and the Sunday Warm-Up (also $215 to play) generally has prize pools that are a little larger, too.

    I know we’re talking apples and oranges here, making it a little unfair to compare big online tourneys (especially those on PokerStars) to live events like the ones happening in Melbourne this month. It is interesting, though, in this context to think again about the whole bracelet debate and how these WSOP APAC events have but a fraction of the field and smaller prize pools and buy-ins than events staged on a weekly basis online.

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