Poker has its ever popular questions that fans seem to always love to debate.
Who is the greatest player ever? GTO or exploitative is the better strategy? Which is the greater achievement: beating a large but softer field in a tournament or winning against the world’s best in a smaller field?
And these days, it seems there’s another everlasting debate brewing in the world of poker.
Daniel Negreanu ignited this discussion earlier this month with his fantasy poker tournament series on Twitter.
Since then, “Kid Poker” has come out to explicitly denounce unlimited re-entry events.
After this WSOPE I’m strongly considering playing only one bullet in any re-entry tournament.
By going in with a mindset that you only get one shot, I think it can have a positive affect on your play.
Too often me, and others make -EV decisions in re-entry
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) October 27, 2019
The Pros and Cons of Unlimited Re-Entry Tournaments
Let’s starts with the most evident one.
Unlimited rebuys certainly have one beneficiary: the house. With more entries, they can collect more in tournament fees. However, please note that at the same time, they’re increasing the prize pool which is better for the players.
That being said, most poker tournaments still have a limit on rebuys. If it’s so much more profitable to host events without capped entries, why don’t all casinos have them as a default?
Unlimited rebuys can make the tournament play unpredictably long. The casino needs to know how long their venue will be taken. They need to be mindful of their dealers’ work schedules as well.
However, the poker players arguing online aren’t concerned with the casino owners’ perspective. They want to know what effect it has on their tournament strategy and if it’s overall better for the players’ experience.
Longtime poker commentator Norman Chad voiced a very strong opinion on the issue. He tweeted:
Every single event is re-entry and most of them are UNLIMITED re-entry.
These are WSOP bracelet events.
This is not poker.
This is open up your wallet and try to build a big stack, and if you bust, open up your wallet and do it again. And again. And again.
— Norman Chad (@NormanChad) October 19, 2019
His argument against unlimited rebuys is clear. People with a larger bankrolls now have a lot bigger edge over players who may match them in skills, but have a smaller capital to invest in their poker game. That is especially harmful to up-and-coming, talented new players at the live tournament scene.
2012 WSOP Main Event champion Greg Merson chimed in, saying:
I believe tournaments should be the fair playing field that they were meant to be. Everyone starts with same chance to win.
— Greg Merson (@GregMerson) February 27, 2019
Although he did not state it explicitly, it’s likely he is on the side of those against the uncapped re-entry events.
In fact, it’s hard to find anyone in the world of professional poker who is for unlimited re-entries.
The consensus seems to be that events at the currently ongoing WSOP Europe have really jumped the shark. The €25K Short Deck event, for example, had players playing more than 10 bullets even.
In Short Deck Hold’em, pre-flop equities run really close, so we saw famous poker pros going all-in before the flop whenever they felt like it. Thus it essentially turned a prestigious tournament for a game of skill into a ridiculous crapshoot that no-one wants to see…
Watch Doug Polk’s Take on the Unlimited Re-Entry Question Here
3-time WSOP bracelet winner Doug Polk also covered the issue in his most recent poker news recap video on his popular YouTube channel.
In it, he had this to say:
“Do we want to have these rebuy, re-entry events all over the place?
The arguments in favor of it are, it allows companies to make more money, and it allows good players to have more opportunities to win. The ones against it are, it really just crushes the weaker players, because they simply have to play a larger percentage of their tournament against good players.”
After some musing, however, Polk came to this anti-climactic conclusion:
“I don’t think this is as big of a deal as Norman Chad makes it out to be”.
You can watch the segment below, time-stamped:
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