Thursday, the Boston Globe had an article about the Eastern Poker Tour (EPT). Written by Katrina Ballard, the article introduces the Eastern Poker Tour through the eyes of players, tournament hosts, and the owner of the EPT’s newest franchise, the Framingham region. I was pleased to see the EPT get some press, and, since I have been playing the EPT for nearly a year now, I thought I’d comment about some information in the article that doesn’t match my first-hand experience.
First… a CORRECTION
Ballard states that “Players do not win money in the local games.”
Maybe she meant to write “real” money as in the “real” (WSOP/WPT) poker money we’ve all become accustomed to hearing about. Maybe not. I have played in the Framingham region ½ dozen times and each time I placed, I got paid in cash or a $30 voucher.
Central Mass and Southern Mass regions both pay out. (The other established franchises may as well, but, I have not played them.) Payout is not a ton of money, but, you recover your $15 buffet fee…and then some. Having placed in the top 3-4 of the Central Mass franchise several times over the past year, I have taken home $100, $75, and $50 in cash prizes, one or more times, and, a couple of $30 vouchers for free entrance into satelite no limit hold em tournaments that get you into the charity no limit hold em tournaments that the EPT holds just about every weekend.
I live 1 mile from one of the Framingham region’s venues and instead of playing there, I drive 18 miles to play at a venue in the Central Mass region. Why? because I know that the tournament will be well run.
The tournament director (Steve Moll) actually manages the tournament. He’s watching the clock, chipping up, breaking down tables, settling disputes, and generally overseeing the action. When a blind level is coming to an end, he gives a 2-minute warning, and two minutes later, he announces the new level. (No one has to go outside to get him after the timer has signaled the end of a level.)
One night while playing a tournament in the Framingham region, I watched as the tournament director talked for 2+ minutes while shuffling cards at the final table. The play was down to 3 and one of the players was severly short stacked. The director burned up 2+ minutes of the short stacked’s time to improve. In that time, two or three hands could have been played…and the short stack could have earned some chips. There were other hands at the final table that night where the tournament director talked and talked – not quite reaching the two minute mark…but still, totally oblivious to the clock.
In contrast, at the Central Mass tournaments, all players are very sensitive to the blind time. Even when players are self dealing, the next hand is being dealt while the winner of the last hand is raking in the chips. At the final table, a second deck is being shuffled while the franchise owner deals and manages the current hand. When the hand is complete, the second deck is being dealt and the first is being shuffled.
Read the full Boston Globe article Local poker circuit welcomes all to hold ’em or fold ’em