Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Reentry or No Reentry?

Yesterday the tournament director Matt Savage tweeted to his followers a fairly straightforward question, presented as having to do with a bet between himself and Allen Kessler.

“Do you prefer reentry or no reentry in your poker tournaments?” he asked.

I replied “no reentry.” Scrolling through others’ answers, it appeared responders were divided between preferring reentry, not liking reentry, or wanting to ignore the question and propose other options (e.g., single reentry or other qualifications).

I was answering as a player. I have always preferred freezeouts to tournaments that allow multiple entries. I think the main reason for me has to do with bankroll management and being on the nitty side. It’s not that I’m unwilling to fire more than once in a reentry, but I just feel more comfortable knowing at the start how much I am in for.

I think I also just prefer how the game is played when there is no possibility of coming back after busting -- both as a player and when following or reporting on events. In one unlimited reentry event a couple of years ago, I recall reporting “bustout” hands for the same player six times (no shinola). Talk about Groundhog Day. In such an environment, it’s like nothing that happens prior to the close of the reentry period has much meaning at all.

Reentry tournaments remind me of back yard wiffleball games as a kid and the “do over” play. You know, the old “I wasn’t ready” plea that seemed like it would come up at least once every game. They also remind me of all the challenge flags in the NFL, something I’ve complained about here before as making it necessary to withhold response to any play until after the opportunity to call it back has passed.

Of course, we could step back even further and talk about the culture as a whole as one constantly in the process of appealing every decision or judgment, never seeming to settle on anything in a satisfactory way. In this postmodern world, there’s always another perspective, another version of the “truth” to challenge the one that had been previously accepted.

That 72-event EPT Barcelona festival from which I’ve just returned featured a few reentry events scattered in the mix, but the great majority (including the Main Event) were freezeouts. In other words, in most cases if you wanted to buy back in and play more, you entered a different tournament.

I’m aware, of course, of how reentry events (in some cases) give players with bigger bankrolls an edge, and also how they can be especially advantageous for those staging the tournaments for potentially producing a lot more rake per player. I’m also aware of how in some cases making tournaments reentry genuinely adds to the fun, as in the case of the media event last week where having reentries meant no one had to leave within the first hour.

Forced to choose, though, I’m going with “no reentry.” And I’m sticking to that choice, too -- i.e., there will be no reasking or reanswering.

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