Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Biggest (Friendly) Game in Town

I’m trying to remember just how many Cirque du Soleil shows Vera Valmore and I have seen.

Having spent a number of summers in Las Vegas with the WSOP -- with Vera coming out to visit each time -- I know we saw a few. I believe O was the first, then Mystère. And of course Love, the Beatles one. There might have been one or two others in there, but I forget.

Was thinking about those shows again today while reading the story of Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté announcing this new “Big One for One Drop”-branded festival of cash games and tournaments scheduled to happen in October, called the Monte Carlo One Drop Extravaganza.

The marquee event will be a third “Big One,” albeit this time the tournament will sport a €1 million buy-in (even more the the $1 million buy-ins for the first two). Again a big chunk of each buy-in (€111,111) will go to the One Drop charity, and once again the entries will be capped (at 48 players).

A key difference, though, is that professionals won’t be allowed to enter the event, with the plan being instead to reserve all spots for “recreational” players -- i.e., the businesspersons and philanthropists who have made up a percentage of the previous “Big One” fields.

“Right now there is no poker tournament in the world of this magnitude that is strictly for recreational players,” Laliberté told PokerNews, using a decent-sized magnitude of understatement. The pros will be welcome to play the side events and cash games, but the main event will be strictly for amateurs.

It’s curious to think whether such an event will be as interesting to follow with no “name” pros in the field (although there will be some familiar folks in there, for sure).

Again, I think back to those Cirque du Soleil shows. All were highly entertaining, although to be honest I don’t recall coming close to being “moved” at all at any of them. Each had somewhat abstract themes and/or messages (with “Love” being the most obvious example), but each was also more or less overwhelmed by spectacle -- thrillingly so, mind you, but in an ephemeral way, at least for me.

This rec-only million-euro tournament seems like it’ll be a similar spectacle, without too much deeper meaning in terms of its place in poker’s story and developing culture. About that I could be wrong, though. And of course, the charity component ensures it will have meaning beyond poker, for certain.

Will be curious when it comes around. Laliberté usually does put on a good show.

(EDIT (7/13/16): Looks like the schedule for the sucker is out now -- you can see it here.)

Image: Laliberté during a press conference at the Johnson Space Center, public domain.

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Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

A key difference, though, is that professionals won’t be allowed to enter the event

I wonder how the powers will decide who is a pro and who isn't.

7/14/2016 1:23 PM  

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