Most poker fans by now would be aware of some discussions throughout the poker community that suggest “poker is dying”. There were lots of arguments made, but in a nut shell, it was suggested that poker is no longer fun and that poker needs better ambassadors to make sure that changes.
Look, there are far more important people than me in the poker world and people with better opinions than a humble poker blogger from Australia. But if I can add one thing to the discussion I just want to say that on the Asia Pacific Poker Tour, which the Aussie Millions is now part of, poker is fun.
I’ve travelled to every event on the APPT and its sister tour the ANZPT and it is clear APPT President Danny McDonagh and the rest of the PokerStars team really make a concerted effort to make things fun.
Maybe it works better in a smaller region such as ours where everyone knows each other quite well after travelling the circuit for multiple years, but regardless I think it’s safe to say poker is not dying on the APPT.
I bring this up because a couple of players recently eliminated here in the 2014 Aussie Millions Main Event are regular supporters of the APPT and I have photos to prove that they have plenty of fun on the APPT.
Above is Patrick Crivell (right) playing a beer pong tournament with ANZPT Ambassador Tom Grigg at PokerStars Macau. Below you can find Crivell and Grigg, the champions of the beer pong tournament, with the APPT President.
Some of Crivell’s friends have even joked that this beer pong tournament is just about the only thing that Crivell has won at any live event. Even if that is the case he shouldn’t feel too bad considering how deep he made it in the 2014 Aussie Millions Main Event.
Crivell’s final hand tonight saw him all in preflop holding 2♦2♣ against the A♥K♦ of Andrew Phaedonas and despite the loud calls to “fade!” from Crivell’s rail, the Q♥8♠3♠4♣K♣ board meant he was eliminated.
Another player recently eliminated, in 13th place, was Jeff Rossiter. He was sent home when all in preflop holding 6♣6♠ and couldn’t catch up against the K♣Q♦ of Ami Barer.
Rossiter is also known to have plenty of fun at ANZPT and APPT events.
What you see above is Rossiter playing the infamous Frisbee Golf tournament that is held at APPT Queenstown. It’s freezing cold outside, but one of the most serene surroundings in the world and some good company, along with the competitiveness of poker players, means that this Frisbee Golf is almost as popular as the poker itself.
I know in the grand scheme of any of the problems the poker world might be facing, a beer pong tournament here and a Frisbee Golf game there isn’t going to change anything. But the APPT team does a great job of making their events not just about the poker.
It’s arguable that poker tournaments should never be just about the poker. They should be about having fun as this ensures more recreational players continue to contribute to the poker economy. One way go about this is to organise enjoyable events away from the felt and that’s exactly what the APPT does.
When players leave an APPT event, whether they won or lost, they had a good time. Imagine if every time a player lost a poker tournament, a tournament they paid good money to enter, they still went home and said, “You know what I had a great time, so I’m going to play again next time.”
Out of the 11 remaining players in the Aussie Millions Main Event, I imagine Ami Barer and Vincent Rubianies are having the most fun. They have the most chips and that has to be fun in itself.
Once four more players are eliminated we will have our final table of seven. Tomorrow those seven players will have a rest day before coming back on Sunday to play for the title and the $1.6 million top prize. Winning the Aussie Millions? Now that sounds fun.