Thursday, July 07, 2016

Teaming Up

I mentioned yesterday how I’d be keeping an eye on that $50K Poker Players Championship, and indeed I ended up spending some time with it seeing Brian Rast win his second career PPC.

Had a chance to chat a little bit with Rast last year at the LAPT Grand Final in São Paulo and find him a friendly, likable guy, so was glad to see him take it down in the end. The fact that Howard Lederer essentially bubbled the event (finishing 17th when 14 paid) made Rast’s win a suitably karmic bookend, you could say.

To be honest, though, I gave nearly as much attention to that first-ever “tag team” event that started yesterday, the $1K buy-in tournament in which teams of two to four players are allowed to “tag” in for one another. I thought this sounded like a potentially interesting format to try, and to hear what those who participated were saying it sounded like a winner all around.

The event appears to have attracted a healthy mix of top pros and absolute beginners, with the teams themselves in many cases being a mix of the two.

Jonathan Little and his parents formed a team, as did George Danzer, his girlfriend, and his father. Rast played, too, on team with Jeff Gross and Antonio Esfandiari.

The Mizrachi brothers formed a team, natch, while Jamie Gold and Montel Williams entered together. David Williams, Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Selbst, and Maria Ho all entered as a group.

Probably one of my favorite team-ups was Niall Farrell teaming up with Safiya Umerova who just a couple of nights ago beat him heads-up for a bracelet. “If you can’t beat them...” he tweeted, letting his followers know he’d entered with her.

Over and over players tweeting from the event kept repeating how it was the most fun they’d ever had in a poker tournament, and it was easy to guess why that might be the case. Poker is fundamentally an individual sport, of course, but the “tag team” idea seems a reasonable way to add in the camaraderie of competing with others as well as against opponents.

Thinking Poker Podcast co-hosts Andrew Brokos and Nate Meyvis also entered as a team, and Andrew wrote up a nice summary of how positive the experience was over on his blog -- check it out.

Image: “Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept,” lumaxart. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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