Hi ladies and gents, I thought I’d share with you all some insights into my mind, now that I have had time to let everything from our inaugural weekend marinate just a bit. I truly do believe that a ton went super well in our first ever events, while also recognizing some things I dropped the ball on and can definitely improve before we go back at it. I entered the creation-of-PIFT-journey knowing “these first events I will learn what I know, and quickly realize what I didn’t know I didn’t know about operating a poker tour,” and can say by the end of Sunday night, it definitely rang true. To read “Part 1: The Good,” click here.
What Can Be Worked On:
The structure of the tournament was ultimately met with mixed reviews. There was a noticeable correlation in that generally, the people who busted early or became a short stack early on thought the structure moved way too quickly, compared to players who lasted deeper in the tournament generally felt happy with how much play the structure allotted them. I’d acknowledge that I myself, while covering the event, felt like things moved just a little too quickly – especially in the $450 buy in. For that one, I had envisioned cracking the money about 6-7 hours in, final table by hour 8 or 9, and tourney completed in 10-12 hours. What we got was the money being reached 5 hours in, final table 6 hours in, and the tourney completed by the end of hour 8. With the way this event ran, about 1/3rd of the run time was accounted for during the final table – which while a cool thing in some regards, was also ultimately more time than I’d have envisioned being my optimal final table percent-run-time when trying to chart out the tournament run-time beforehand.
This structure that was used for the PIFT events was completely on me. I showed Canterbury some ideas, and they suggested some tweaks that might better serve the goals of my tour as a one day “doesn’t take 15 hours” type of event – but ultimately, I had the final say on all aspects of what was used. Seeing everything in action, I will strongly consider any combination of: 30 minute levels the entire way through, and/or some additional starting chips (compared to 10,000 which was started with in both).
I will also add though that I had many people tell me the one-dayness of PIFT and the fact the tournament seemed like it wasn’t going to take all day, was in fact a drawing point that made them want to play. In specific, one guy who drove from Wisconsin, 2-3 hours away, told me that he loved he could play the Sunday event and know that even if he won it, he’d have more than enough time to drive back home and make it to bed at a somewhat reasonable time. So for me, it will definitely be a balancing act and trying to decide who I am most trying to cater towards, being that a majority of the gripes I heard about the structure came from people I know to be serious players, and/or professional players. More of the players who I presume identify as recreational or casual players, seemed to love the fact they could play a cool, fun tournament, that might produce a large prize pool, and still be home in time to catch an evening movie.
Another way that I feel like I failed was I didn’t do a good enough job spreading the word about my new tour when in person at Canterbury. I was trying to be real cognizant of the fact I didn’t want to come off as spammy, or make anyone who knew me feel guilt if they couldn’t or didn’t want to play the event, so I generally just didn’t speak about the tour unless asked about it. I think I failed in this way, and should’ve been a lot more vocal than I was. This became especially apparent on the day of, when I had several people tell me, “Oh wow, I didn’t even realize this PIFT thing was all you, I’d have totally cleared my schedule to play it if I knew it was your thing” (INCLUDING a player I regularly play the $40/80 mix game with at Canterbury). I dropped the ball there, and this likely had an effect on what the final turn out numbers were compared to what they could’ve been.
82 players for a 1030am Saturday $450, and 90 players for a 1pm Sunday $185 is nothing to sneeze at — and I AM proud of those numbers, as a guy who entered this having no clue how to throw a poker tour, how to market it, how to run a business, etc. — but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope we’d crack 100 players in each of the events. I think the weather being 75 and sunny (in a state that could be 3-4 weeks away from frost!), as well as it being opening weekend of the NFL and kids freshly being back in school with their first weekend off, were things we were fighting against from the beginning and likely reduced what type of turn out PIFT got in round 1, but I think I should shoulder some of the blame as well for failing to reach 100 players in either event. I’m definitely going to do more reaching out to the community and trying to spread the word and excitement in many different ways before it’s time to jump back into the ring – I feel like twitter was the only area I excelled at promoting what PIFT is about.
I also think I need to continue to tweak the payouts chart. I have to admit I was slightly embarrassed when I saw the min-cash payouts for the $185 displaying $195, and going forward I would like all min-cashes to be closer to at least 1.5x the buy in amount. I had tested my chart pretty fully for all possible scenarios for the $450 payouts, but didn’t do so with the $185. For me, the solution of this is to produce a new payout chart that has a smaller range of player numbers in the gap before the next payout level. For example, in the current chart, one payout level is for 70-89 players, and the next is 90-109 players (and with the $185 getting exactly 90 players, that’s how we ended up with a $195 min cash). With a goal of always paying out at least 15% of the players, I might need to simply create separate payouts for if there’s 70-79 players, 80-89, 90-99, etc. That way, we’re constantly ensuring the percent of people getting paid out doesn’t balloon substantially above 15%, thus ensuring that a mincash offers a profit of larger than an extra value meal.
These are some of the most pressing things I’m going to take a close look at before our next PIFT events happen.
Continue onto Part 3 of this 3 part retrospective, where I’m looking for your feedback on a few things and just in general talk about some PIFT stuff going forward.