My starting table included Dara O'Kearney, Faraz 'the toilet' Jaka and eventual winner Kevin Vandersmissen. I had a miserable tournament. I lost 25% of my chips when Jaka got there on the river in a hand I played well bar him hitting a three outer. Another 25% of my stack went when I raised KQ; hit a lovely QQ10 flop but lost to a turned gut shot.
It was a very interesting table with 'The Toilet' running riot over the first four levels. He was playing about 70% of hands and hit a lot of lucky rivers when barrelling to amass a 70k stack by dinner. One level later he was out after getting smashed up by an excellent Australian player whose name I never got to know.
Vandersmissen was having a similar day to myself until he made a sick call for his tournament life. He held pocket sixes, on a paired board with all over-cards facing a river bet that effectively put him all in. It was a hugely impressive hero call and he amassed chips with ease after taking that pot.My own tournament ended in level seven. I got 17 blinds in pre-flop with AK verses AQ to no avail"
A few observations on the event.
It may seem a small thing in the overall scheme but It's inexcusable to have ante's of 1/16th & 1/20th of a bigblind in a major tournament. Like who the hell produces the structure because it's certainly not someone that understands tournament structures. How hard can it be to consult someone on what a proper ante to BB ratio should be. As I said it may see a small issue but its unprofessional and looks bad to oversea visitors. Having said that it's something that's easily fixed and the overall structure has come on heaps with the increased starting stack. I remember playing the IO in 2006, with a 10k starting stack, no repeat 150/300, or 500/1000, 1200/2400 levels.
The Field: size reduction and demographic
these are the numbers from recent years
2007 = 708
2008 = 667
2009 = 700
2010 = 708
2011 = 615
2012 = 502
Big reduction over the last two years, a number of factors in play here, the recession and a saturation of tournament's would be the major ones. I'm sure PPP are doing everything they can on this front but it's just a sign of the times. It's worth noting that finishing second in 2008 got you the same money as winning in 2012.
As for the make up of the field. Someone commented the field this year was if 300 bad players were taken out and replaced with 100 top class online MTT players. Again this is a sign of the times, black Friday and in general online grinders realising the value in this event.
I'm not a big fan of the Burlington. I booked the poker rate for 4 nights, went for breakfast the first morning and was told that there wasn't a breaky included with my booking. On a normal week it's €69 a night to stay there with breaky included, poker players rate €79 with no breaky. It's not a huge deal but an example of players being screwed over. I think the food in general and pints in the hotel bar are over priced slop. I had a few nice pints in a pub across the road on Saturday afternoon and the difference in quality was huge, clean the pipes pls, drink is important.
Final Table Atmosphere
This is a trade off, we saw it in 2006 when the FT went live on Skysports and again this year for hole cards to be shown on the stream. The quality and coverage available on the stream production over the event is second to none and ground breaking. However, below is a video from the 2007 final, watch the last 20 seconds or so. The atmosphere was electric, compare that to the sterile offering this year. This is what made the tournament special for a lot of people. I think the tournament is probably giving up too much for the viewer at home to be allowed to view the hole cards.
These are just a few observations and areas where improvements can be made. Overall I think PPP do a great job on the tournament.