The L.A. Poker Classic Main Event Is Not Broken, So Why Fix It?

Matthew Clark March 3, 2018 2938 Reads
L.A. Poker Classic

The complaints about the L.A. Poker Classic were started by Allen Kessler last week on Twitter. It is Kessler’s belief that numbers dropped at the prestigious event due to structure tweaks. There were few who agreed with Kessler simply on this point, but there is a larger argument in play. The unique structure of the LAPC is what it makes one of poker’s ‘must play’ events each and every year. There are a few tweaks that can be made but this major event has a formula that works.

Leveling up

The World Series of Poker Main Event is the crown jewel of all tournaments. One detail that makes it such is the inclusion of two-hour levels for the duration of the event. Days 3 and 4 of LAPC have this benefit added and it marks the progression of a structure that fits all stages of the tournament.

Kessler believes that one-hour levels on Day 1 are a mistake and prefers 90. This is incorrect.

For a freezeout event, eliminations have to come at some point in order for the tournament to proceed. A structure tailored for eight 60-minute levels on Day 1 forces action by the end of the night and pulls the field down to a number that allows for the money bubble to hit on Day 3.

Survive Day 1 and you are rewarded with 90-minute levels on Day 2. Simple as that.

Difficult terrain

To build off of a point made by David Baker, poker tournaments are created like golf courses. Not all of them have to be the same, and if you don’t like one, you can play another. Five Diamond and LAPC are both $10,000 events but carry two different structures. The unlimited re-entry at Five Diamond combined with 90-minute levels throughout gives a different feel than LAPC.

Both tournaments take five days to reach the 60-minute final table, they just take different routes to get there. If Five Diamond and LAPC were the exact same structure, why even have the two events?

The former Bay 101 Shooting Star structure and WPT Rolling Thunder event go down to six-handed and 90-minute levels when the field hits 36 players. The addition of Six Max poker is a welcome sight to those who want some spice of life when playing a WPT.

Time to add a full live stream

Poker Central and PokerGO created a new age in poker with the abundance of live streamed final tables. The product is a proven winner and there is a step further they could go to bring in more fans to their subscription-based model.

Poker PROductions set up in Los Angeles days in advance to bring coverage of the final table. Next year, the crew can bring two extra table sets with them to stream from the final three tables down to a winner.

PokerGO wants to put stars on their broadcasts and Phil Hellmuth, as well as Chance Kornuth, fit the bill. The two players placed in the top-20 at LAPC but the only way to experience their run was through live updates. Live streams are the present and future of poker and including them before a final table is music to viewers’ ears. A Hellmuth rant going viral benefits PokerGO.

Does the cost of extra tables add up to the benefit of putting stars like Hellmuth on one of poker’s largest stages? It’s an interesting thought that fans want to see answered with a resounding yes.

What to do to bring up the field size?

Matt Savage can’t be pleased with the drop off from 500-plus entrants in Seasons XIV and XV to 493 in 2018. The $1 million guaranteed first-place prize fell into place to draw out East Coasters who were on the fence to justify the costs of flying cross-country for what could ultimately be only an hour of play. Ask Ari Engel.

The loss of Bay 101 on the schedule hurt LAPC. Assuming that marquee event does not return to the schedule in Season XVII, what does LAPC do to bring up numbers? The option of changing the structure is not available.

Photo courtesy of WPT/Flickr

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