Lee Davy sits down with Living it Loving it Managing Director, Neil Barrett, to talk about the Multi Venue Series concept, why it was decided to launch in the Iberian peninsula, and much more.
Last week, we broke the news that Living it Loving it (LILI) had created a new tournament concept called Multi Venue Series (MVS) poker, and teamed up with their sparring partners The World Poker Tour (WPT) to launch it at a new festival: WPT National Iberia.
The new festival is one of ‘firsts’. It will be the first time the WPT have held an event in Portugal. It will be the first time that a tournament organiser has attempted to run three events, simultaneously, across three different venues.
I love the idea, and so I caught up with LILI’s Managing Director, Neil Barrett, to ask him a few questions about the new concept, and this is what he had to say.
Where did the inspiration come from to create Multi Venue Series Poker?
“Everyone can feel the economic pinch in the poker world. The introduction of regulation across Europe was supposed to allow the industry to grow with all advertising channels available to create new players, but the reality has seen a reduction of players and revenues in the major markets with the real winners being the governments collecting the cash. With the market shrinking we feel the requirement for good strategic partners and innovative concepts were required hence the MVS format was born.”
What are the most challenging aspects of trying to run a series like this?
“There are various challenging issues, but the main one we wrestled with was the actual tournament direction point. Managing the bubble period at any tournament can be difficult but managing the same bubble in three different venues is incredibly challenging. We have the ability with new communication tools to manage this far more efficiently than in years gone by, but we will need the players to be patient while we learn from our mistakes as well.”
You are focusing on three venues for the Iberian Series. How far can we stretch this? What are the constraints? What are the benefits?
“It is a difficult question to answer at the moment, but we had three different types of MVS event during our brainstorming sessions. There was 1) local tournaments that could be played down across a weekend with the final on Sunday after Friday and Saturday play down across multiple venues as long as the geography would allow players to travel on the Saturday night / Sunday morning to get to the final. I can see this working in smaller territories with a high volume of casino partners to choose from like the UK; 2) Regional tournaments that require travelling on a separate weekend like the Iberia concept, and 3) international tournaments that feed into a large festival.
“The second and third ideas become harder to run purely simultaneous tournaments but there can also be the variation to play each venue down to a set % and then bring the players together. It would require resetting the levels of play when the different venues converged but you don’t have to manage the bubble across multiple sites and I am sure we will look to use this format as well as the simultaneous events where we use the same clock for all locations.
Why Iberia and the casinos you have chosen?
The casinos were selected because they are top venues that are all committed to a poker strategy. There had been interest from Portugal and Spain for the WPT to go back there and we had interest from the same casinos about installing Bravo so it merged quite organically without necessarily thinking we must start in Iberia with this concept, but I am very happy that we are.”
Bravo is integral to the Las Vegas casinos, and we have the WSOP coming up. Are there any plans to use Bravo to reduce queue times that we saw last year and if so what?
“Bravo has been working incredibly hard to improve their product offering even though it’s the best in the market already and while I can’t say too much at the moment, I think players will be excited if they can launch their new ideas in time for the WSOP. You will have to watch this space for now!”
What else is going on at LILI?
“We have got lots going on, maybe too much! We still have our core business offering providing services for online companies to access live events, and the Bravo sales and marketing relationship has widened our reach of global partners, so we are picking up new business every day.
“We have one big announcement to follow in the next fortnight involving a Vegas project we have been working on for the last few months which European players are going to love this Summer, but like Bravo developments, we are not quite ready today to announce but we will be back in touch soon I’m sure.”