Inside the Tour: Casino Extra Impressions from Commerce Club L.A. Poker Classic 2005, PPT tour, Year One
On the internet they are calling the Professional Poker Tour tournament at the L.A. Poker Classic, which allegedly invited the top 200 professional poker players in the world to a special event, the toughest field of all time. Actually it is one of five events this World Poker Tour year where a ‘free-roll’ prize of 500 thousand dollars is being offered to the final six contestants, with a final free-roll for a maximum of the thirty players that have made the final tables at the preliminary events. To me it seemed like a typical event if you took it out of context in time. What I mean by this is that as late as three years ago when you entered any event with an entry of 1000 dollars or more (with the possible exception of the events at the World Series of Poker) and looked around you would see the same faces every time. In those days you expected one Casino Extra face that you had seen but did not have a name for, everyone else you knew, and likely knew well. If there were two faces at the table that you had not seen that was a major surprise and a likely indication of a good draw. Nowadays when I enter a tournament I expect to know an average of about two other players! The old paradigm has been blown apart and poker reality has been flipped upside down.
Although the future of the PPT is bright if openly received by television audiences, and the qualifying standards can easily be ascertained by computers on an ongoing basis, the politics behind the original selections were sometimes suspect, and are under attack by various people who feel they have wrongly been left out. Who are the professionals and why are they invited? Clearly they are invited because of their accomplishments in tournaments and even the best of the cash game players have been left out. Anyone who got in by being connected to the right people should not have been allowed to play, in my opinion, but let us accept the fact that that is just that, an opinion, and the reality of the situation will not change. While each site or host of these events is given a number of exemptions [eight or ten Casino Extra typically] to do with as they see fit one should not get into the event in any other way, not by lottery or random selection. It is possible to allow some players in through the advent of a qualifying event. This idea, and really the whole idea, is modeled after the Professional Golf Association, with its roots in the American sporting system. Capitalism and competition together are hereby joined, or am I repeating myself?