Monday, September 27

Malta Madness Day 1

A week ago i got a nice text. Well it does happen i get that sometimes, but this one was just a little nicer.

A friend of mine, CEO of Erik Smith asked me if i wanted to play in his place at maltamadness event as he had to travel to New York New York, and yes he said that twice. I didn’t do a spelling mistake, even though I do them on regular base.

I haven’t played a bigger tournament for quite some time, have actually not been playing much poker at all last year as I lost the fun feeling for it and also taking too much time of my life so quite surprised he asked me, but why bother thinking so much of that, so i said -sir, yes sir, let’s do it!

Maltamadness event is played at Casino Venezia here in Malta and if you know me, you know I really dislike this casino, for so many reasons, so I was quite curious to see how they run an international event. To my biggest surprise, they didn’t use their big nice poker room holding close to 30 tables in a really nice newly decorated room. Well done on that new room. They kept it in the smaller poker room, and what a huge mistake this was, however no shadow to be fallen on Venezia for this it was Pokeridol, the company behind the event that wanted it this way, and why? Yes, here is where I really starting to get confused.

Reason was, I did ask, of course = ) anyone surprised over that?
No didn't think so. They are live streaming the event and have big cameras and big lamps and it would be so much better for them to not be in the proper poker room. Again as seen so often before, companies think more about their own short time benefit then the long time benefits of having happy players that go home and speak great about the event or maybe they just trust in the faith that after a while people only remember the good stuff and forget about the bad, well, I never be one of those. But you know that by now.

Firstly it was incredible warm due to the lamps and too many people l in the room to be comfortable sitting playing poker for 10 hours, people where sweating, cards full of fingerprints, and completely 100% impossible to get out from the table unless it was a break, since it was really squeezed in to fit everyone. The lamps for the cameras where in people’s eyes and I for one sat for 8 hours having to cover my eyes in order to see the board because of these big lamps, I say 8 hours since some dealers where very kind and pushed the cards higher up in order for everyone to see. The lamps also reflected on the chips in the pot and one could not see and estimate how much was in pot or what players betted by looking at the chips values, now as it happens am an ok counter and remember what happen on the different betting rounds so not the biggest problem for me, but one get awful tired of stirring into a very bright Gestapo lamp for 10 hours and one stop following players hands and stick only to the one you are involved in, and that is a huge loss of information seated on a table.

But then again, working in the Igmaing environment as I have for quite some time now, I can UNDERSTAND these things if one get PR and marketing value out of it, I don’t think it’s EVER ok to sacrifice players experience at no point but I can understand it if it gives a good return of invested effort. So did it? Give a good return of invested effort I mean, well that we don’t know yet for sure, but I am blunt saying I don’t think so, for the organizers I hope am wrong.

So why do I say they don’t get this return?

Ah well, let’s start with a quote from pokeridols webpage that by the way now says 45 min blind level but been saying 1 hr blind levels since up and running, but information on the crazy wide wild webb is not so important and no one is perfect, right? And after all, that thing called marketing and getting something out of it is not so important either, just some humbug someone made up*.

Start quote: The Main Event is not just another tournament held inside a sparse card room. PokerIdol is going to transform the gaming floor into an evil themed arena, where the mood lighting and creative decor will make this an event to remember.
Dress to impress as the event will be fully televised, with the final table being streamed live over the internet with full commentary. Magazines from all over Europe will also be attending, allowing the most creative and striking figures the chance to really become a PokerIdol.
End quote

So as for starters the ‘evil themed arena’ I think they mean the green welcome drinks that no one bothered to drink, maybe because no one offered them to us, I don’t know, or maybe they were not for drinking? As a décor they looked good standing on the little table in the corner for 10 hrs. So let’s agree they were made for decoration in order to spare ourselves some bitching.

‘Mood lightening and creative décor’, yea the mood lightening was indeed achieved, but how strange a commercial company that survives on the base concept happy returning customers as a proof of well-done job, wants to create such mood as, warm, annoyed, tired sweating, half blind players to make their PR after the event. But then again, what do I know about marketing. Probably nothing.

Never get stuck in negativity, what good have that ever done for mankind so let’s move on: ‘Magazines from all over Europe’ , am not quite sure what this mean? Anyone? I did saw one press card but got no clue what magazine he worked for; in fact I actually think he didn’t. And even if there where press, they couldn’t access the tables as it was so thigh of space. Fraze: ‘All over Europe” yes yes i know, Italy is a huge country.

‘fully televised’ I do believe here they mean the live streaming, but as I understand and heard from a lot of sources, the streaming don’t work, its lagging all the time and focusing only on one table is ok fun for those knowing some of those players but not anything to gain for the general mass. And the live chat is a splendid idea but awful boring to read after the event, with no pictures to relate to. Live event blogs are being used many years after the event so there must be a hidden agenda here I can’t see? Tell me, tell me…

One shall not give feedback in case one have suggestions on how to change things, and it’s really not so hard, easiest thing hence being in Malta, would be to work with as they are very good. But if not, one could for an example sort lots of the problem raised here automatically if the tour where played in the proper poker room where air-conditions worked great and more room for players to stretch their legs or go to bathroom and press to move around. Or did they really expect 30 tables of cash gamers in that room? Maybe.*

Sure cover one table with cameras, but why don’t walk around with the camera a bit and make a more interesting streaming, and streaming that works is obvious on the A list if having it, else why bother.

A tab on the webpage showing pictures and some reporting from the event, 100% more appreciated then a lagging live feed, no one can bother with that really. And why on earth is there no chip count, seating’s and payouts listed anywhere, should ALWAYS be done before you close for the night, crazy one can’t find that anywhere, to an international 1100 euro tour. If a tab on the webb is too much to handle, use your Facebook page for the event, you know, the big site that has millions of visitors? All those signed up for the group will get notification when you post and see it on their common wall, and most of them are interested in gaming…... This is free marketing boys, FREE as in good, great marvelous like like LOOOOOOOOOOVE Free!

Anyway folks, that was my recap of the evil themed fully live streamed arena where the mood lighting and creative decor will make this an event to remember. –Forever!

And about Casino Venezia itself: absolutely no shadow on you guys so far. I still am not convinced of the place and how its run, but I am honest and fair. The events tournament directors Christine Sammut made an excellent outstanding job hovering around my table for 10 hours, but guess I earned that special hawk eye treatment having opinions in the past, so no worries I won’t get a restraining order= )The dealers except one that where playing and throwing chips from the pot around as he was the king of chip tricks where outstandingly correct and very well trained, he was fairly cute so he got my friendly personality asking him to please not do so, he stopped , thanks, so end of story. The Buffet where one of the best I ever had, insanely good, and bar crew was fast and did a marvelous job considering there were no space at all for them to pass the tables, they were not so accurate with what they brought back all the time, but that’s a minor hiccup, as long as it’s a drink I don’t complain, however trying to charge me 45 euros for a red bull/vodka was a tiny bit overpriced IMO.

Today’s hero as so many times before, lovely adoring loyal committed Tess railing her man Gordon for hours and hours, I just say one thing Gordon: this one is a keeper or I kick your behind, not many chicks out there that would stand you, meaning you being a devoted poker player that is of course, nothing else. BTW Gordon, you owe me a drink, whiskey is fine, cheers. I scared the pants of some very nice Norwegian’s informing them you are Malta’s best player and difficult to play against when they asked who the only left Maltese guy was.

United we stand against the rest of the world on the small little rock, yay!

So people, buckle up and get ready to rumble, play resume 16.00 today, good luck to reamaining 27 players! Including myself – yay!


* Irony used, in case someone didn’t get that. I live in Malta and here one don’t use the irony mood, it’s more of an on off mode, quiet or loud. Just trying to be helpful guys, you know I love ya!

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