Friday, September 16, 2016

A Super High Roller “What If?”

I started the week recommending some poker podcasts. Gonna sign off here talking a little about another one, the PokerNews podcast.

Today I was listening to the most recent episode of the “PNPod,” now hosted by Sarah Herring and Matthew Parvis. Among the topics covered was that $102,000 buy-in World Championship of Online Poker event that went off earlier in the week on PokerStars, the biggest buy-in event ever for online poker.

I followed that one a bit last Sunday in between watching football, then again on Monday when it finished up with a two-way chop involving “bencb789” and Fedor “CrownUpGuy” Holz, both of whom ended up earning seven-figure paydays.

Holz had won that much online before, taking away $1.3 million for winning the WCOOP Main Event two years ago. He’s also won more than $1 million in live tournaments no less than four times in 2016 alone, and a fifth time in December 2015. Just nuts.

Frank Op de Woerd did live updates on the $102K event for PokerNews, and he appeared on the PNPod to talk a little about the tournament. He brought up an interesting point about how the event began with only five players there at the start time. That’s a screenshot up above of the five-handed action, included in Frank’s coverage.

Late registration (as well as the ability to re-enter) lasted five hours on Sunday. As I recall they were still only at a single table after three hours or so, then finally the field filled out to the 28 total entries. That made the prize pool $2.8 million altogether, comfortably over the $2 million guarantee.

Frank wondered what would have happened had the five players who began the event went all in on a hand, thus “ending” the tournament even before late registration was over. With that $2 million guarantee, the players had contributed only half a million total to that point, which (theoretically) would have meant a crazily huge overlay if all $2 million were paid out.

Frank’s wondering about that five-way all-in scenario made me think of others -- say, one where only a couple of players showed up for the start of the event, then one felted the other before anyone else signed up (a much less implausible scenario than a five-way all-in).

I’ve got to imagine there was some provision in place for the event that would have prevented it from being decided in this fashion. In fact, the very first item listed among PokerStars’ “Tournament Rules” would, I suppose, allow the site to come up with some procedure to avoid any of these imagined scenarios from affecting how the $102K Super High Roller played out:

“We will, at all times, consider the best interests of the game and fairness as the top priority in the decision-making process. Unusual circumstances can, on occasion, dictate that decisions in the interest of fairness take priority over the technical rules.”

Still kind of funny to imagine those other possibilities. I suppose when constructing them, we should by matter of course have Holz winning in all instances.

Image: courtesy PokerNews.

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